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Monday, June 6, 2011

The First Duty

To be honest with you, I'm not sure how this blog is going to turn out, and I may go off into a series of different threads, but believe me, I'll try to keep it straight.


In recent weeks, I have been trying very hard not to launch an counterstrike on a section of our society that has proved, like most others, to live in a self-created, self-contained bubble in which anything does not compute to their narrow-minded standards is evil and must be lashed out at.


I suppose all of us do this, to some extent, and it is a reminder to each of us to try and be fair.  Sometimes however, fairness gets thrown out of the ring, because no one wants to listen and no one wants to think.


Oh, excuse me...THINK?  So sorry!  I realize in America, thinking is a very bad thing, especially if you think outside the box.


There is a strata of our world that lives very much in its own little box, and refuses to come out of it, for fear of change, and for fear they might learn something.


I am no longer amazed by the myopic and twisted views of some people who whine, ruminate and pontificate on how the world around the has become so decadent, so permissive, so horrid.


And what do they do?  They throw it all back in the face of the 1960's...those damned hippies!  The Beatles, the college protestors, Abbie Hoffman, and all those radicals that just ruined America...for them.  Because it changed things.


Now...the 60's were how long ago?  


Living in the past is a dangerous thing to do.  An old friend and colleague of mine offered an interesting example of where I live is about...Central Pennsylvania, he says by and large "still thinks Kennedy is president."  


Jay's comment I think means that everyone lives in a different time, where the world must not change, and it must be made to stay that way.  Actually, I think a lot of folks around here think it's still 1952.


They still talk about Communism, reds under the bed, and how terrible civil rights was.  Today, that is exacerbated into anti-gay hate, fear of Obama, fear of black helicopters and that 2012 is the real end of the world.


Columnists, politicians, religious leaders, and especially anyone who is uber-wealthy...now this is America, whether you were born to the money or worked for it, you have no problem from me.  It's yours, do what you will with it.


Most of the people though really do live in another world.  A world of the best of everything:  homes, cars, clothes, you want for nothing.  You were raised to go to private academies, the top universities, you play golf and tennis at the high-dollar country clubs; you have no understanding (or fail to remember) what the other 99% of the nation and the world has to go through day after day.


Here's a good example:  U2 (though the main target is Bono) is getting a lot of flack from Ireland for moving their music publishing company out of the country to avoid paying taxes.  Edge recently called it being "tax efficient."  Bono has been shit on for years for being a pretentious git; I don't know if this argument really is the right one, for whatever it is he does when he's not making music.


I'm also amazed at commentators who decry the horrible world we live in, not realizing that it is the world that left them behind.


The elitist whining about their peers...oh, we are so terribly Mongoloid, aren't we?  How dare the women of a family work?  How dare couples live together who are not married?  How DARE these people think to rise above their station?


They think these things while sitting on their patios in the Hamptons, or wherever they live, in their gated communities, where the only people of color are their servants.  They complain about how awful "THEY" are...they, meaning US.


Everything we do is so wrong in their eyes; the conservatism of these people, their tight-assedness...sports talk show host Colin Cowherd (I think it was him) once said these people are so tight, "they think Applebee's is a strip bar."


And they probably do.


So the point I make?  Recently someone in the Wall St. Journal decided it was time to attack the writers again.   The writers of young adult novels, of which most of my books target.


They decry the "dark" nature, the sexuality, the perversion, all the horrible things that our young people are reading...HORRORS!


They might get ideas...they might start to THINK, OMG NO WE CANNOT HAVE THIS!


They tried this with music, they try it with TV, and they try it with books.


Didn't these people used to whine and bawl that young people didn't read anymore, that all they did was play video games and watch TV?  Isn't this what they wanted?


Now, the Journal's editorial board is run by a separate entity, and right-wing group of zealots who promoted the war, big business, and constantly reminded its readers to fear "the Left."


They have decided now to attack the writers of young adult novels, because OMG what are they doing to our children?


Let me tell you something...the First Amendment and the Constitution are NOT just for the wealthy, the connected, the white, and the powerful.  It is for ALL OF US.


I defy the intellectual bullies who hold nearly all the wealth and power in this country to constantly make us low-class people their whipping boys for everything they don't like.  They have likely never read any of these books they attack anyway...no, they're too busy reading Glenn Beck's latest screed, or Bill O'Reilly's ruminations on why the world can't be like it was when he was a boy.


Then again, why would I not be surprised if they were masturbating to the latest Danielle Steele novel or some churned out, Barbara Cartland knockoff stuff?


Hey, we all have likes and dislikes...if you don't like something, don't read it.  The elitists of course say, that's not enough, where we decide.  


The aim is once again to stifle free thought and free speech.  Free speech in their minds is only so much that THEY allow.  


Well, I plan to not change anything I've written, and I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks of that.  I have a right to sit here and within reason write what I damn well please.


I don't make wild threats.  I don't get online and play Internet Troll and attack people from an anonymous screen name.  I say what I say, and I stand by it.


Frank Zappa once said, and this is paraphrasing, that the first duty an artist has is to the artist him/herself.  We write, paint, show, produce what we want...if you like it, great.  If not, that's fine, too, at least in my view.


I gather this latest whinefest by the Journal will be passed by, but the concern is that some will try another purging of society, the way the Nazis did in Germany.  A little book burning, anyone?


The right to think and the right to doubt must never be taken away...what is worse, is if you willingly give it up.

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