A Conversation on Censorship
Pictured above: Burning Book by Fred Kearney
I love a good one-liner or a funny phrase that’s a play on words: a quick little verbal jab that only the truly smart people get. Some people refer to this as “shade” or “throwing shade”. In my opinion, the truth is in the joke. Author and comedian Joan Rivers was a genius at writing and delivering hilarious one-liners. Tonight, while revamping an old blog, I came up with a good one! I know people will get it; and, most importantly, they will laugh. However, I’m debating using it. My one-liner is clearly a joke. I do use one curse word, but that word makes the joke. Still if I use it, I know I will receive about five calls or text messages saying that I should not have posted the joke. Strangely, these complaints are going to come from people who know me and know my sense of humor. You would think that because these people know me that they would not be so sensitive.
Why are people so sensitive? Do you know that in 1988, a Colorado library banned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl, because it embraced a “poor philosophy of life.” A winning ticket is a poor philosophy of life; however, today every gas station, corner store, and super market has a lottery machine. Additionally, in 2006, Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, and Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White, were banned by many libraries because talking animals are somehow considered an "insult to God”. When I think of these libraries, I’m picturing a dusty room filled with local newspapers, encyclopedias from 1988, and a closed children’s section. Just because people do not like a book, they should not be able to have a book banned or censored.
Conversations regarding censorship are needed because the implementation of censorship has changed. In the past, books, films, and songs were banned because of their content or subject matter. Now items are being banned because of their creator’s behavior. In 2016, Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Even before his trial began, networks stopped showing The Cosby Show and A Different World. Are libraries going to remove his books? The real question is: should a person’s creation(s) be banned because of their crime and/or behavior? What about the fans and people who benefit from an author’s work?
Many music lovers and singers were faced with this question after Surviving R. Kelly aired on the Lifetime Network in January 2019. Since that time, singers such as Lady Gaga and Jennifer Hudson have removed songs written by R. Kelly from streaming platforms. R&B singer, Fantasia, is no longer performing "Sleeping With the One I Love," a 2016 Grammy-nominated song written by R. Kelly. Is this fair? Has anyone thought of the financial impact of not performing a Grammy-nominated song or not allowing songs written by R. Kelly to be available for purchase? What crime(s) did R. Kelly’s songs commit? Furthermore, R. Kelly is guilty only in the Court of Public Opinion. He has yet to be arrested or found guilty of any form of sexual misconduct. As for his fans, I have talked to a few people who have been fans of his music since the 90’s. They all believe that the allegations made against R. Kelly are true, but they are still going to play and enjoy his music.
As for me and my one liner, people need to hear it. They need a good laugh. I know there are people who will not only find it funny, but they will relate. Even with the curse word, every word of my joke is completely true; and as the Good Book says, the truth will set you free!
*The opinions expressed in this blog are of value and importance, yet do not serve to represent any and/or all opinions of TLM Language Services Co., nor necessarily the employees/affiliates of TLM Language Services Co.