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Thread: On censorship

  1. #1
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    Default On censorship

    All interested:

    What a world this has become.

    I've just poked through a thread on these here message boards wherein the opening poster wondered aloud why one of King's recent novels contained so much profanity, disturbing themes and blasphemy. Wouldn't it be possible, the poster asked, to place the equivalent of a warning on the cover (the OP had received an e-version of King's novel) that would announce that these sorts of things were to found inside. Going one better, the OP asked if a sanitized version of King's novel was available, wherein all of these things were edited out.

    So far the response of the message board's community has been predictably balanced; kudos to all for not blowing their stacks after having their lids flipped.

    I guess we all realize that there are folks who love their "litterachure" sanitized: No use of the term 'nigger' in Huckleberry Finn; no reference to slavery in 'Roots'; no reference to war in 'War and Peace' and so on and so on. More often than not, these same sorts of folks believe an author like J.D. Salinger was out to corrupt the morals of American youth, and therefore it made perfect sense that his books ought to be banned in all public schools; that Salman Rushdie ought to be put to death for offending Allah and Islam by mentioning an inconvenient fact of history; that Alexander Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, ought to have been shot for questioning the excesses and insanity of authoritarianism (and even today, in Putin's Russia, journalists that attempt to expose the excesses and corruption of government are considered fair game for execution by Putin's ultra-nationalist allies). Just like me, folks who see merit in sanitization are entitled to their opinions. Just like me, they can exercise their choice not to purchase (and read) things that are likely to upset their sensibilities. Unlike me, however, they *believe* they're absolutely and unquestionably justified in dictating to others what that range of choice ought to be.

    King himself has addressed this sort of issue a long time ago in an essay titled, 'Book-Banners: Adventure in Censorship is Stranger Than Fiction'. It makes worthwhile reading, and I'm certain it's posted somewhere around here. Whether you agree with any of his observations or not is likely a moot point. But his closing comment pretty much sums up what the real situation is. It reads: " If there's one American belief I hold above all others, it's that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what is "right" and what is "best" should be given no rest; that they should have to defend their behavior most stringently. No book, record, or film should be banned without a full airing of the issues. As a nation, we've been through too many fights to preserve our rights of free thought to let them go just because some prude with a highlighter doesn't approve of them."

    Freedom of thought is inextricably linked to the freedom of expression. You cannot have one without the other. True, you may not always agree with what others think and feel, and sometimes the opinions of others will prove themselves downright inane, if not offensive. But herein is the challenge of being a thinking human being and a responsible citizen. We're all
    attempting to make the wisest choices possible when it comes to moral, ethical and legal issues, and there's no offense in making a suggestion that's entirely based on one's own faith. But perhaps instead of putting the cart before the horse, one should attempt to exercise better judgement by *thinking* before acting.

    Looking forward to reading the responses of others!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: On censorship

    That's how we roll here--most of the time. Hot Topics can get testy on occasion.

    The book banners essay is posted here.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: On censorship

    I don't think the person who made that thread was asking for the government to come in and ban Under The Dome, just asking if there was a clean version of it available, and asking for Stephen King to stop using profanity. That's not censorship, that's trying to get market forces to react to what you, as a consumer, want. If enough people started asking for clean versions of Stephen King books, the market would react and they would be made available.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by JordyVerrill View Post
    I don't think the person who made that thread was asking for the government to come in and ban Under The Dome, just asking if there was a clean version of it available, and asking for Stephen King to stop using profanity. That's not censorship, that's trying to get market forces to react to what you, as a consumer, want. If enough people started asking for clean versions of Stephen King books, the market would react and they would be made available.
    No, they wouldn't because he wouldn't agree to it with already published books and would not change future works just to accommodate if he felt by doing so he was compromising his being authentic to his writing.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator View Post
    No, they wouldn't because he wouldn't agree to it with already published books and would not change future works just to accommodate if he felt by doing so he was compromising his being authentic to his writing.
    I agree with this 100%. If an author wants to write something they should, and not just for the sake of more sales. Writing is art. If you don't like it, don't read it.

    I received a free book on my kindle recently. I read it. Then I read that the author had found god and re-written the book to take out the sex scenes. The entire book was about how this girl hit rock bottom because she did anything for drugs. I'm not sure what was left of the book....

    Anyway, this was his choice and I respect that. I also respect my own choice not to read the sanitized version.

    A book it not like a video game. Even online you look at content and see what's inside. There is no need for warnings and labels or anything.

    You can also Google any author you want and there will be a million things that will come up about what they write. It's not to hard to figure out if it would be something that they want to read or not.

    People need to take responsibility for their own actions. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I was traumatized the ENTIRE time. Did I blame the author? No! I knew what I was getting into.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by JordyVerrill View Post
    That's not censorship, that's trying to get market forces to react to what you, as a consumer, want. If enough people started asking for clean versions of Stephen King books, the market would react and they would be made available.
    Ah, pouting I believe it used to be called, so some o' that whiny squeaky wheel gets the grease kinda action, that would markedly do it, ya reckon'?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by JordyVerrill View Post
    That's not censorship, that's trying to get market forces to react to what you, as a consumer, want. If enough people started asking for clean versions of Stephen King books, the market would react and they would be made available.
    I think this is the same sort of rationale organizations such as The Moral Majority, One Million Moms and The American Family Association employ in their seemingly never-ending crusade to impose their highly idiosyncratic values on everyone else, suggesting it's all matter of shaping, guiding or educating demand (a tact Putin has also employed when discussing the irksome 'Pussy Riot').

    The merits and ethics of this particular rationale are as debatable as the merits and ethics associated with free market economics, faith, censorship and art, and a great deal of the positions adopted by proponents (on either side of the argument) come down to arguments based on one's perspective. Actual resolution of these sorts of arguments is rare, but compromise isn't. It's for this reason the position of "Let folks decide for themselves" seems to prevail, but not triumph, most often.

    As for an artist or writer that's willing to allow market forces to decide the final form their product... well, I suppose that accounts for the lowest common denominators that lurk within reality TV, populism in politics and televangelism. Thank goodness there are folks that stick with their principles, and are driven to produce stuff - books, ideas, products - that they honestly know will likely never be a huge commericial success but will be a huge hit with some widely-scattered niche. I say, Snuggle blankets for everyone! And thank you, King, for taking a risk oh, those many years ago, and stickin' with the writin' of creepy stories. John D. MacDonald, bless him, was right about you.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Quote Originally Posted by Shasta View Post
    People need to take responsibility for their own actions. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I was traumatized the ENTIRE time. Did I blame the author? No! I knew what I was getting into.
    To be fair, Shasta, you should blame the author for writing and the publisher for barely editing the thing. The writing in that book is just terrible, not to mention, pinched almost entirely from not good source material (Twilight). Btw, are you familiar with http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.c...s-of-grey.html ? You might appreciate her efforts.

    I have to agree that no author should be pressured to release a sanitized version of their work. If you don't want to read it, don't. Simple as that. If you want to read the work, suck it up, buttercup.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: On censorship

    Carrie- The Edited and Cleaned-up Version:

    Chris says ' Carrie, you're not like the rest of us.'
    Carrie says 'Stop saying that. It's not nice.'

    The End

    Yep, not much of a story or lessons to be learned there, eh?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: On censorship

    If enough people started asking for clean versions of Stephen King books, the market would react and they would be made available.
    ...well, if they'd just keep their dirty lilttle mitts washed-they WOULD be clean versions....nothin' bespoils a nice virgin novel like pizza grease enchanced fingerprints...and I know hand cleaner is available at the market...

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