Catch-22, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Canterbury Tales, Tropic of Cancer, Ulysses, Naked Lunch, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Moll Flanders, Candide, Women in Love, Fanny Hill, The Decameron, United States-Vietnam Relations 1945-67, Operation Dark Heart, The Federal Mafia, My Life and Loves...
Each one of these books was labeled "obscene trash" by some pundit who had sufficient influence to ban the book in part or even the whole of America. Yes, books have been banned in America -- books that have gone on to become classics, like those above, and many more that have been lost to time.
Pundits like to think of themselves as writers and it is true that some do write, but their main vocation is that of hall monitor, dashing off sometimes to make a quick comparison in the boys' room, but generally alert to any threat to the "propriety" imposed by their hypocritical masters, and enforced by the punditry. Pundits hate intellectual freedom, because the freedom of people to think what they will is not in their self-interest. What use for their interpretive priesthood if people read and made up their own minds?
Yesterday, a pundit writing on PolitickerNJ took a febrile quote from an obviously overwrought young candidate and twisted it into something quite diabolical. It was suggested that someone who was nominated by a free vote be denied his civil right to run for public office because... (wait for it) ...he was the author of a book that the pundit considers "obscene trash".
Wow... where was this guy when authors like Jim Webb and Al Franken were making their way to the United States Senate?
Move over Putin, we want to get in on the action too. Let's strip people of their civil rights -- not because they commit a crime -- but because we don't like the way they think or what they say or write down.
Pussy Riot goes to jail because we don't like their performance. We think it "obscene trash." If you are a writer, make sure you write in a way that is so bland that nobody is offended. Otherwise, you will lose your civil rights, starting with the right to represent your fellow citizens.