Sunday, May 27, 2012
Give Me a Break, Lady
Censorship is generally considered the suppression of any speech or written communication that is considered objectionable as determined by the government, the media, or any controlling body having the power to determine what is spoken or written.
To a writer, censorship is a curse word.
Recently, my wife picked up a book at a garage sale and delved into it with passion. The book was called Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo, a four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and told the true story of the shark attacks that prompted Peter Benchley to write the now famous novel, Jaws. How bad could it be?
When I heard my usually placid spouse complaining about the book, I questioned her, because she has always looked at the good side of everything, and knocking an author is just not in her makeup. And, of course, it wasn’t the author at whom she was angry. My wife was disturbed at the fact that some troubled woman took the time to censor the literature before selling it to her at the garage sale.
To my surprise, several pages had been censored by hand, which my wife failed to notice before the purchase. The woman crossed out phrases such as “the gods” and inserted “there is only one God.” She blotted out the word “hell” and replaced it with “Heaven.” She crossed out “evolution” wherever it appeared, as if the fish were a Satanic creation.
On page 46, the author had penned the words, “If God didn’t exist…” The woman crossed out the entire eleven word sentence and inserted, “He does.”
Now, I never challenge anyone’s religious beliefs. God bless everyone. But any human being that defaces a book by running an indelible marker through the words “The ancient dreaded practitioners of leeching and bloodlettings had become, in the new century, ‘the saviors of humanity,’” replacing them with “only Jesus saves!” in highlighted red ink on page 35, deserves to have her writing utensils confiscated, while she is banned from bookstores for life.
But then that would be censorship, wouldn’t it?