Saturday, March 19, 2011

"So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Remember Barbara Bush's rationale, at the start of the Iraq War, for suppressing news and photos of dead service members? Opposition to thinking about harsh realities has always been with us, but there's more institutional enforcement of it than there used to be.

Via Nick, an article about the increasing strictures imposed by corporate publishing:
Peck’s argument is that editing has been corrupted by the new commercial mandates of publishing – or, at least, is more prone to a precautionary principle that dictates that if there are any reasons why a reader might not like something in a book, say an unsympathetic character, then there is a case for demanding the author get rid of [it].
One promising novelist's work is rejected by an editor insisting that "No one wants to read about a child dying."

Via Balloon Juice, a much scarier story about how a protectionist approach to people's thoughts can be used: "Iowa Woman Jailed for Thinking about an Abortion." "The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested . . . ". The linked article discusses a couple of similar attacks on pregnant women's freedom, including a Florida woman who was forcibly hospitalized upon questioning her obstetrician's judgment.

Keep your beautiful mind pure.

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