Dystopia, USA

Courtesy of metafilter

Some kid has been arrested for, of all things, writing a story where his school got blowed up. ( for those us who remember celebrity blow up from SCTV "It blowed up good. It blowed up real good.") Actually the story is about an armed invasion of his school, which was apparently inspired by his Adobe Pagemaker tutorial which included instructions on hurricane evacuation.

Well the kid, it seems, needs help ( no not psychological help you nit, I meant web support). There is a website and also a bulletin board. Now I can understand that you have nothing to say about nonsensical rantings about greek mythology, but this, for me, is a very serious issue.

I'm a hard core believer in the first amendment. HARD CORE. I'm one of those people who believed that the KKK had the right to have their little parade. ( And I was right-the KKK parade had about 30 people, whereas the protest to the KKK ranked I believe in the hundreds at least-) This is not to say that I support the KKK in any way shape or form, BUT AS LONG AS THEY ARE JUST TALKING I have no problem. If their speech becomes a clear and present danger like the nuremberg files that's another story. Scroll down and you notice that they ask supporters to find information on Photos or videotapes of the abortionist, their car, their house, friends, and anything else of interest (as many and as recent as possible);

2) Current and past personal data including date and place of birth, home and business addresses and phone numbers, Social Security numbers, automobile plate numbers, names and birthdates of spouse(s), children and friends;

Now is me or does this sound very much like the behavior of Kaiser Soze?

"He ( Soze) lets the last Hungarian go, and he goes running. He ( Soze) waits until his wife and kids are in the ground and he goes after the rest of the mob. He kills their kids, he kills their wives, he kills their parents and their parents' friends.He burns down the houses they live in and the stores they work in, he kills people that owe them money."

( for the whole script to the usual suspects, go here )

Basically, I'm not for any of these groups, KKK included, but they have the right to PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY just as we have the right to peaceful assemble and tell them to shut the hell up ( and we often do). They start targeting my kids ( yes my invisible non existent children) with a scope rifle and you can bet that I am all for pulling their site down.

But here is a kid who wrote a freakin' story. And certainly violence has long been a staple of writing, and revenge fantasies as well. I'm a big believer in using creative means to purge hostile impulses ( that's basically the whole reason bunniblog exists), but how can that happen when people are so afraid of what is written? They obviously aren't aquianted with Freudian theories of repressing impulses. If a person has an impulse, it needs to be expressed in some form. The impulse need not be expressed directly. An example? Let's say I want to have sex with a guy in my office. I don't but let's just say. And let's say he has a girlfriend or we're friends or I just don't want to ruin my office rep. But the impulse is there. Now if I totally repress it, and don't tell anyone and try not think about it, in the Freudian theory, the more I repress it the stronger the impulse would get until I have no choice, but to throw him down on the floor of my office and rip his clothes off with my teeth. But let's say, I had some alternative form of expression. Let's say I wrote a story about a girl who has an affair with a guy at work. Or maybe I blog about my impulse/fantasy. Although not expressed directly, theoretically the impulse has found expression. Everyone is happy, I haven't compromised my work situation, but my urge has found some form of expression and maybe I've entertained the masses to boot.

So when a kid writes about an armed take over of his school, maybe he is venting hostility-or maybe, and I'm shocked no one has thought of this-maybe the story is an expression of his fear/anxiety of such a prospect occuring in his school. It could be a fear of another Columbine or a fear of another sept 11th on a smaller scale. Or maybe the story is about something totally unrelated. Maybe it is a metaphoric expression of his feelings about his adolescence or a symbolic representation of his homelife or MAYBE IT'S FIFTY THOUSAND OTHER THINGS. CRIKEY WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH OKLAHOMA THAT THEY HAVE THIS TIME AND RESOURCE TO PUNISH A KID ABOUT ONE LOUSY STORY.

On the other hand, if this goes through it might be helpful to me in my line of work. My threats of failing grades make no impression, maybe this will work:

"Listen, I want all of your work in Times New Roman. Not Courier. Not Helectiva. Not Dingbats. JUST TIMES NEW ROMAN. And if I get any other font, you'll be doing 7 to fucking 10 in Attica."

I joke, I joke.

Fiction has often come under attack for "inciting violence." American Psycho was apparently found by the bed of a convicted bomber. This spawned a great deal of controversy and push that the book should be banned despite the fact that the book contains no bombs nor did the bomber re-enact any scenes from the novel. On the movie front, John Grisham, in an act of what I can only call grand hypocrisy, wrote an essay "Unnatural Born Killers" which alleged that Oliver Stone's movie caused not only one pair of drugged addled emotionally disturbed teenagers to shoot two innocent people, but "several copy cat killers". This despite evidence in the essay that strongly suggests Grisham NEVER EVEN SAW THE FILM. Stephen King, who writes about ghoulies and ghosties as well as aliens, tiny goblins that live in the walls, giant spiders, has come under fire as well. ( Apperently a young man killed a woman because after reading "Salem's Lot" he became convinced he needed blood to survive.) Generally the incitement of violence label is way some groups try to greenlight censorship. ( This trend is very clear with music as well.)

For a more detailed and interesting history of the first amendment and the many myriad ways it has come under fire Charles Rembar has written a great book called the End of Obscenity . One of the most interesting developments of the first amendment was how sexual acts were originally allowed to stand in fiction. Initially the Supremem Court ruled that sexual acts could be represented in fiction AS LONG AS THEY WERE SO HORRIFIC THAT NO ONE WOULD WANT TO ACT THEM OUT. And this was their idea of healthy. This is how Ulysses by James Joyce was allowed to be published. It's a fascinating book and I highly recommend it. It brings home that although we stand on freedom of speech as an inviolable right, that right was often threatened. Not only were books banned in the earlier part of this century, but if a bookseller sold such a book HE WAS LOOKING AT JAIL TIME. Not only were the author and the publisher in trouble with the law, but the person who sold the book could be arrested. And yes, in New York, Henry Miller himself was tried for Tropic of Cancer.

Aren't you glad I have nothing better to do on a friday night?

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