"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Book Week Challenge

In celebration of the freedom to read, I've further researched the banned or challenged books I've read and I'm proud to say I've found eleven more.

HEART OF DARKNESS
A FAREWELL TO ARMS
LOLITA
THE SUN ALSO RISES
LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER
A SEPARATE PEACE
THE GREAT GATSBY
1984
NATIVE SON
THE CALL OF THE WILD
NAKED LUNCH


So who has read the most BB's? And the other part of my challenge, to write your own story with the potential of being banned/challenged or in some way censored in a prior post must be amended. There is no way I can have mine ready to post by tomorrow. But by the end of the week....okay?

This brings me to a related subject... the problem of self-censorship. Who out there has caught themselves doing it or giving into pressure from a reader or editor or agent to do it?

Banned Books

The last week of Sept. is Banned Books Week, and I'm proud to say I've read many books that were once banned, challenged or censored. The one I most recently read was THE KITE RUNNER, a beautifully written novel which helped me understand the challenges the Afghan people face and the futility of our intervention. Evil exists and is manifested in such groups as the Taliban. I admire THE KITE RUNNER for exposing their hypocrisy. Some people have avoided the book because they think it's about child rape, which is only a very small part of the book and, again, I admire the honesty of the author because that's what the Taliban are about-making women walk around under tents they can neither see out of or breathe through and raping little boys. Whenever I think of Afghanistan I think of the beautiful woman with the startling blue eyes on the cover of the National Geographic thirty years ago.

Some of the other banned books I've read in the order in which I read them.....

OF MICE AND MEN
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
LORD OF THE FLIES
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
BRAVE NEW WORLD
CATCH-22
THE HANDMAID'S TALE
THE COLOR PURPLE
BELOVED
THE CATCHER AND THE RYE
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE

I have my high school teachers to thank for making the first six required reading.

In support of banned books, I suggest we all write a short story (or the beginnings of a novel) with the potential of being banned. Mine will be posted here tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Citizens for Discontent

There are dozens of anti-government groups who have organized to oppose everything Obama does. They would oppose Michelle’s organic garden if they could figure out a way to safely do so and label it with an acronym to misrepresent her intentions.

Citizens against unfair Taxes...Citizens for Honest Government...Citizens against Organic Gardens and on and on and on. They can call themselves anything they want. But perhaps a more honest label would be Citizens For Fermentation of Discontent CFFD (sounds like a disease one should be inoculated against) or...how about Citizens for Truthshaping through Promotion of Fear. (The CTPF's.)

If anything, Obama has been a disappointment to date in the fight for health care reform, having seriously underestimated the toxicity of the Right's venom and the power the health insurance industry welds due to the unparalleled accrual of wealth attained through the clever denial of coverage people have paid for. The 40 million uninsured is one problem, but a growing and often unheard of problem is the number of under-insured. And you don’t realize you are until the bills start coming in for treatments you thought you were insured for but which through loopholes and outright fraud, insurance companies and their cubicle monkeys are finding ways to deny.

We MUST have a public option. It is the ONLY thing that will make a difference. The insurance industry is all for reform that forces all Americans to buy insurance (like auto insurance) because they see 40 million new customers they can bleed to death, and they hate the idea of a public option. Why? Because they’re afraid people will choose it and it will be cheaper and it will force down costs and lower profits. Should health care even be a for-profit industry beholden to Wall Street? Your insurance company is more worried about satisfying their stockholders than paying for patient care. Doctors overwhelmingly want insurance buffoons out of their patient files. The majority of them are satisfied with Medicare administration and payments. Yes, our government can and does do a good job. And I’m tired of the far right beating their anti-government drum under the banner of patriotism. And, no, a public option and National Health Insurance is not socialism. Do we call Social Security socialism? Do we think of our public education system as Socialism?

Our country has veered so far to the right Richard Nixon would now be considered liberal. The health care reform he tried to get though back in the seventies was far more progressive then anything now being considered in the Senate.

We’re way past due for National Health Insurance. But that's just the modest opinion of a writing gardener with a family history of arthritis. What do you think?