Monday, May 21, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut on book burning

Charles McCarthy, a politician, removed all 32 copies of the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (pictured), from the local high school and burned them. Mr. McCarthy said the novel contained “obscene language.”

When Mr. Vonnegut heard of the book burning, he wrote a powerful and touching letter to Mr. McCarthy. Here’s an excerpt:

“If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young. It was evil deeds and lying that hurt us.”
The Takeaway: In this time of politically correct hypersensitivity, effeteness and non-judgmentalism, we are forgetting how to speak our minds. To prevent forgetting, keep reading good writers.

See disclaimer.

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