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  #1  
Old Mar 30, '12, 2:39 pm
TheTrueCentrist TheTrueCentrist is offline
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Default Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/03...very-real.html

Quote:
In October of 1973, Bruce Severy a 26-year-old English teacher at Drake High School, North Dakota decided to use Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, as a teaching aid in his classroom. The next month, on November 7th, the head of the school board, Charles McCarthy, demanded that all 32 copies be burned in the school's furnace as a result of its "obscene language." Other books soon met with the same fate.

On the 16th of November, Kurt Vonnegut sent McCarthy the following letter. He didn't receive a reply.
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  #2  
Old Mar 30, '12, 2:45 pm
Jerry Miah Jerry Miah is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

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Originally Posted by TheTrueCentrist View Post
Thanks for this, I never saw it before. Vonnegut's always been one of my favorite authors. There is still no one else quite like him in the world of American lit.
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  #3  
Old Mar 31, '12, 1:40 pm
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

As an editor and published author, I work for a company that disapproves of obscene language. Just because others use it does not make it OK. The fact that children sometimes hear it in public does not make it OK. The fact that other authors and publishing companies use it or allow it is not OK.

I cannot determine why someone decided to burn this particular book since Mr. Vonnegut stated that those who ordered it had not read it. We have no reply from the book burner that explicitly tells the reader that he did or did not read the book.

As Catholics, we must control our tongue, and that includes words spoken by characters in fiction.

http://bible.cc/james/3-10.htm

As a matter of fact, I complained about a book that contained bad language directly to the publisher by e-mail. I was surprised to get a reply from the author that basically said the words in question represented how those in his circle expressed themselves. I debated keeping the book and eventually threw it out. And I have thrown out a few others as well.

It reminds me of a thread titled "Catholics must get over profanity" or words to that effect. Why? When we teach our children right from wrong, do we teach them profanity is OK?




Peace,
Ed
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  #4  
Old Mar 31, '12, 1:46 pm
Luna Lovecraft's Avatar
Luna Lovecraft Luna Lovecraft is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwest2 View Post
As an editor and published author, I work for a company that disapproves of obscene language. Just because others use it does not make it OK. The fact that children sometimes hear it in public does not make it OK. The fact that other authors and publishing companies use it or allow it is not OK.

I cannot determine why someone decided to burn this particular book since Mr. Vonnegut stated that those who ordered it had not read it. We have no reply from the book burner that explicitly tells the reader that he did or did not read the book.

As Catholics, we must control our tongue, and that includes words spoken by characters in fiction.

http://bible.cc/james/3-10.htm

As a matter of fact, I complained about a book that contained bad language directly to the publisher by e-mail. I was surprised to get a reply from the author that basically said the words in question represented how those in his circle expressed themselves. I debated keeping the book and eventually threw it out. And I have thrown out a few others as well.

It reminds me of a thread titled "Catholics must get over profanity" or words to that effect. Why? When we teach our children right from wrong, do we teach them profanity is OK?




Peace,
Ed
So how do you feel about the issue of burning books we find objectionable? Is that the Catholic response to immoral words and ideas?

Luna
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Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
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  #5  
Old Mar 31, '12, 2:00 pm
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

My father was a World War II veteran as well. Nowhere in Catholic teaching does it say we should burn books but we are to avoid the near occasion of sin by reading sinful books. Books that use profanity/obscene words, simply reinforce what is going on in the media today. And this did not happen overnight. More and more books, TV programs and movies have profanity.

Why is this a problem? It leads to Indifference. And since this trend is worsening, we, as Catholics, need to speak up and say no. Enough is enough. This is wrong. As I wrote, we, as Catholics, do not teach our children profanity is OK and we shouldn't use it as adults.

Your question involves a specific instance and I don't know the whole story.



Peace,
Ed
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  #6  
Old Apr 6, '12, 11:35 am
TheTrueCentrist TheTrueCentrist is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwest2 View Post
As an editor and published author, I work for a company that disapproves of obscene language. Just because others use it does not make it OK. The fact that children sometimes hear it in public does not make it OK. The fact that other authors and publishing companies use it or allow it is not OK.

I cannot determine why someone decided to burn this particular book since Mr. Vonnegut stated that those who ordered it had not read it. We have no reply from the book burner that explicitly tells the reader that he did or did not read the book.

As Catholics, we must control our tongue, and that includes words spoken by characters in fiction.

http://bible.cc/james/3-10.htm

As a matter of fact, I complained about a book that contained bad language directly to the publisher by e-mail. I was surprised to get a reply from the author that basically said the words in question represented how those in his circle expressed themselves. I debated keeping the book and eventually threw it out. And I have thrown out a few others as well.

It reminds me of a thread titled "Catholics must get over profanity" or words to that effect. Why? When we teach our children right from wrong, do we teach them profanity is OK?




Peace,
Ed
This is not advocating for the use of profanity. It is saying that children need not be sheltered from it. Regardless of how common profanity is, children ultimately decide for themselves whether or not they want to be the sort of person who uses it. Parents may certainly declare profanity unacceptable for their children to use, but they should not censor everyone else.
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  #7  
Old Apr 6, '12, 12:23 pm
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TarkanAttila TarkanAttila is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

Ed, there's nothing wrong with portraying profanity or frankly any sin in any piece of media.

The problem comes when we portray evil as a good thing.

As long as books don't portray evil as good - as long as profanity is seen as a fault and not a redeeming quality or a morally neutral act - I don't see why that book should be censored.

Mind you, it's inappropriate to expose children to some of the more malicious kinds of evil - rape, murder, and apostasy for example - but adults have to face the fact that these kinds of evils exist in the world. They by no means have to agree with them. They can argue against the evils that happened until they are blue in the face if they like.

But unless the good guy is the one raping, stealing, and murdering - or using bad language - as if it were a good thing, there is no need to complain.

Don't forget - Jephthe sacrificed his own daughter on an altar. Saul made rash vows and almost got his son Johnathan killed. David had Uriah murdered on the battlefield so he wouldn't get in trouble for committing adultery. Good people do bad things now and again. But as long as we do not approve of them, and work to reform them, we are doing something God wants us to.
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  #8  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:31 pm
OrdinaryMelkite OrdinaryMelkite is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

Quote:
Originally Posted by TarkanAttila View Post
Ed, there's nothing wrong with portraying profanity or frankly any sin in any piece of media.

The problem comes when we portray evil as a good thing.

As long as books don't portray evil as good - as long as profanity is seen as a fault and not a redeeming quality or a morally neutral act - I don't see why that book should be censored.

Mind you, it's inappropriate to expose children to some of the more malicious kinds of evil - rape, murder, and apostasy for example - but adults have to face the fact that these kinds of evils exist in the world. They by no means have to agree with them. They can argue against the evils that happened until they are blue in the face if they like.

But unless the good guy is the one raping, stealing, and murdering - or using bad language - as if it were a good thing, there is no need to complain.

Don't forget - Jephthe sacrificed his own daughter on an altar. Saul made rash vows and almost got his son Johnathan killed. David had Uriah murdered on the battlefield so he wouldn't get in trouble for committing adultery. Good people do bad things now and again. But as long as we do not approve of them, and work to reform them, we are doing something God wants us to.
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  #9  
Old Apr 10, '12, 3:24 am
Jaynias Jaynias is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

I never saw it before. Vonnegut's always been one of my favorite authors. There is still no one else quite like him in the world of American lit.
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  #10  
Old Apr 10, '12, 11:18 am
BillP BillP is offline
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Default Re: Kurt Vonnegut against censorship

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwest2 View Post
As an editor and published author, I work for a company that disapproves of obscene language.
Kindly define "obscene language".

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwest2 View Post
Just because others use it does not make it OK. The fact that children sometimes hear it in public does not make it OK. The fact that other authors and publishing companies use it or allow it is not OK.
And just because you don't like it doesn't make it "wrong" or "sinful" either.
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