A story was sent to me this morning by my father-in-law, Winston. He could not have known how much this story would have hit home, as he does not know of my blog, nor of my latest writing endeavors. Hit home it did and brought me right back around to the story of the men in Wisconsin suing for rights to burn a book which dared to offend them. The story he sent me was from just last year, in which a man, student and employee of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was accused and found guilty of racial harassment by the University, for no greater crime then reading a book in his free time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM9Y-YOcPdE Please take the 15 minutes it takes to watch this story. It is a truly disturbing look into one of the supposed bastions of education in our country.
The literary world, it seems, is under attack as of late. The very presence of some works causes outrage and threatens to tear society asunder, or so some would choose to have us believe. This is not the fault of the literary works in question however, but rather the finger can be pointed squarely at the people who stand by and watch as the written word is attacked. Whatever the form of the attack, be it burning of the works, punishing those that read the work, banning of the works from our libraries. These are all blatant attacks on the written word and those who embrace it. How can we as a nation who was built on liberty allow these continued outrages to occur?
The written word is sacred, when all else is lost, it goes on. It tells the stories which must be told.
In this world of blurring lines and constant compromise, where will we draw the line and stand our ground. When is enough, enough? If these events go unchecked, what book will be the next one, to be burned, or to get its reader accused of harassment? When will we, as a united people who believe in our freedoms, stand up against this onslaught?
If it can be said that a person merely reading a book quietly to themselves is a form of harassment, then I am guilty a thousand times over, and I will be guilty countless more times before my days are through.