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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

THEY SHOOT AUTHORS, DON'T THEY?


I am not a political pundit, nor do I have any desire to act as such. While I may have an opinion about almost everything, political agenda has never been a platform from which I choose to dive (head first or otherwise).

This election year has been most stimulating, however- and while I usually go out of my way to steer clear of such conversation at the occasional cocktail party or the Elks Lodge pancake breakfast, I found myself chatting with a neighbor last week at the local crafts fair petting zoo.....and Sarah Palin finally managed to get my goat.

An article in TIME MAGAZINE www.time.com/politics/article/0,8599,18379,00html
two weeks ago referred to certain actions that Ms. Palin took during her term in office as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska in 1996. Apparently, these factoids are a matter of public record.

According to Vicki Naegele, (then managing editor of the Mat-Su Frontiersman) Palin told department heads that they needed her permission to talk to reporters- “She put a gag order on those people, something you’d expect to find in the big city, not here” says Naegele. “She flew in there like a big-city gal, which she’s not. It was a strange time, and (The Frontiersman) came out very harshly against her”

Palin went on to attempt to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books”, according to political opponent John Stein, “because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them- the librarian was aghast” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had “threatened to fire Baker for not giving ’full support’ to the Mayor”

A contributor to http://www.librarian.net/ names the books that Palin attempted to ban from the library. Here’s where it gets personal. (and the canker gnaws, not unlike the aforementioned goat)

The first book on her (to be burned) list was A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle. When I was seven years old, my mother took me by the hand and led me to our local library in downtown Binghamton, New York - which started my journey on a lifelong path of discovery and enlightenment called reading.

It was a bright, sunny day and I was still young enough to believe that the world was a beautiful place. My life was filled with joy and laughter, climbing trees and Kool-Aid. Tears and sorrow, disillusionment and pain were yet to be thought of- still light years off, in a galaxy far, far away.

With the help of our (long dead) librarian (I still have my very first library card, buried in the abyss ) and the gentle guidance of my mother, I scampered out of the library, my first ‘borrowed’ books clutched ever-so-tightly in my tiny, innocent hands and flew to my room to read (all by myself- for the very first time) A WRINKLE IN TIME .

I was instantly, magically, transported to a new world- one of imagination, creativity and excitement. A world that flung wide it’s arms to me and opened the floodgates that, to this day, amaze and delight me every time I crack open a new tome, another chapter in the
"NEVERENDING STORY" that is literature.

A WRINKLE IN TIME
revolves around a too-smart-for-his -own-good little boy (I could relate), his older (too-nerdy-for-her-own-good) sister (I had one of those) their loner-boy neighbor (yup) and their wild and crazy adventures through space and time in a quest to find and connect with their (too-often-absent) father . The enchanting and Nebula Award winning story made me think. Made me learn. Made me laugh. Made me cry.

It was that moment that steered me toward the path I still meander. I was lucky- I had the “Leave it to Beaver”, stay-at-home Mom that told me to “look it up in the dictionary” (ooh, that reminds me- WEBSTERS NINTH NEW COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY was on Sarah Palins’ list of “objectionable” books) when I came across a word I did not recognize. Reading actually taught me, inspired me, nurtured me and ever so gently nudged me forth into a BRAVE NEW WORLD (yes, Aldous Huxley is on “The List”) - a world that the Sarah Palins of the planet would control if they could.

This frightening thought gives me pause. If Palin had been around in 1962 to dictate what books I checked out of the library (free will intact) would I be who I am today? Would I have matured into the man I am at this moment? Would I still possess the desire to learn, to imagine, to grow? Would I have developed the desire to write my own thoughts on a blank page?

There are other authors names on the now - famous list......Chaucer, D.H. Lawrence, Arthur Miller, Shakespeare, Steinbeck and The Brothers Grimm to name a few. I can’t even imagine a world without them. In fact, I’m still trying to imagine what “LIPSTICK ON A PIG” would look like.

4 comments:

Lynne said...

Caribou Barbie is something else. I can only find gratification that her poll numbers are sinking like a rock.

I just keep chanting "it's the economy stupid!"

Lucia said...

I only hope that Lynne is correct. I did get an email from a yellow dog democrat friend who told me to look this "list" up on Snopes.com. Apparently, the librarian being threatened with loss of employment as a result of not complying with Sarah Palin's request for the librarian's help on "how to ban certain books" is true. But according to Snopes, the list is bogus. Still, this woman is clearly a trigger-happy freak intent on ending the separation of church and state, women having the right to choose, and gay marriage, among a host of issues she'd like to make go POOF. I have decided to do the "law of attraction" thing and quit focusing on "Caribou Barbie" as I turn my attention to How Great It Will Be When Obama Is Elected.

George Donigian said...

"Ray Bradbury attributes his lifelong habit of writing every day to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!"

"Fahrenheit 451 takes place in an unspecified future time in a hedonistic anti-intellectual America that has completely abandoned self-control. This America is filled with lawlessness in the streets ranging from teenagers crashing cars into people to firemen at a station who set their 'mechanical hound' to hunt various animals for the simple and grotesque pleasure of watching them die. Anyone caught reading books is, at the minimum, confined to a mental hospital while the books are burned by the said firemen. Illegal books mainly include famous works of literature, such as Walt Whitman and William Faulkner, as well as the Bible and all historical texts."--wiki

I guess we can all be grateful to Sarah for bringing this literature alive--once again.

Doggone it!

PK said...

I'm so glad she has melted away into obscurity.