Thursday, March 10, 2005


Freedom of Thought
People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
Søren Kierkegaard

A review of a biography of Kierkegaard makes clear that "If, as Socrates claimed, the unexamined life is not worth living, the overexamined life may leave little time for living."

After an inhibited, unhappy Christian upbringing, Kierkegaard received a degree in theology. His dissertation, "On the Concept of Irony, with Continual Reference to Socrates," demonstrated his literary style and "subversive tendency" early. In a typically clever comment, Garff notes that "the master of irony became a magister in irony."

Thought Crime
Matthew Cheney comments on the arrest of a high school student for his "fictional short story about zombies" (fictional zombies, not real ones).

I often feel that Americans no longer understand what imagination is. . . A society that is more skilled at fear than imagination is one that can be manipulated, controlled, and pacified with shock tactics.

I'm not saying anything new here, I know. But if anything is going to combat this idiotic, fascistic paranoia that continues to explode around us, it may be our willingness to stubbornly and loudly repeat things we already know: That thoughts are not actions; that writing is a form of imagination, not terrorism; that fiction is not reality; that it's entirely possible for a perfectly nice and harmless person to write really dark, disturbing stories.


Paula said...

Yes, writers must be alert to when their work begins to resemble the content of their navels!

Paula said...

I meant the above comment in re to the first part of your post, obviously. As to the second part, I don't know. I will withhold judgment until I have more evidence one way or another. I'm not convinced that it's "no biggie" for someone to obsess over horror and gore, even if it's only all imaginary.