‘Huckleberry Finn’, ‘Beloved’, ‘Gone With The Wind’. Influencial, controversial, censored. Why is it that, even today, people will still try to bury works of art written and read at the time of our great-grandparents? (Pause for exaggeration, but you get the point.)
The first thing to notice in some of these works is the blatant racism. N-words flying around like they don’t care, black characters portrayed as inferior both mentally and racially (duh! it’s called ‘racism’ for a reason!). I can get behind the idea that this is, to say the least, unacceptable in our society, unless of course your mind is stuck well before the 1800s, in which case go back to your timeline and stop destroying the time-space continuum. BUT, censoring books that were written in a time when this was the norm, is… kinda…disrespectful? Nah, that’s not it. What I am trying to say is that, we have to accept those books the way they were written. Yes, it is pretty nasty for a black student to be obligated to read and review a book in which they see how their ancestors were treated. But, this is history. This is proof that mankind screwed up in the past, this is an example for the rest of us today. It comes down to a moral lesson: don’t be your racist ancestor.
Another pro-censorship point is the depiction of violence and sex. No, really. Violence. And sex. I… I can’t even… I mean your children watch this stuff ON TV, ONLINE…! I cannot even comment on this anymore, sorry everyone. Instead, I’m going to finish this paragraph with a comment made by none other than George R.R. Martin, a writer known for his depiction of pony races and candy clouds in his books:
“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”
Censorship is, ultimately, a buzzkill. I will be honest: there are some things that I personally detest (see part one of “Thoughts before coffee, you’ll understand). I don’t think I would enjoy reading a book describing black people as [insert derogatory term here]. But, there are a couple of things to remember: the first is that people back in the day had not progressed as much as we have. Those depictions are part of who our beloved ancestors were. It is our legacy. If censorship means we can just look away from our past, we will not make future any better. The second has to do more with personal preferences: just because I don’t like something, it does not mean I cannot appreciate the effort when I see it (again, check part 1).
With these thoughts, I will leave you. Dramatic exit follows. See you around!