Tag: imagination

Why Read A Banned Book This Week?

banned_books_weekThe answer here is simple. Because somebody, somewhere, is afraid of it. Because somebody, somewhere, is threatened by it. Because somebody, somewhere, wants you to be ignorant of it. It sounds aggressive when I describe it like that, doesn’t it? I hope so. One of my greatest fears is that I’ll be caught in a position that doesn’t afford me the option to learn and grow from an experience…and books are huge part of this.

Strangely enough though, for the first time, I’m taking a closer look at books that have been banned from schools and libraries in order to understand why exactly we would ever ban books.

What I am quickly finding is that the banned books are more often than not incredibly important and some were even required reading when I was in school. These were the books that provoked us and forced us to weigh in on ourselves morally…and somehow managed to become scapegoats for religious/political agendas. Of course this makes me want to read them even more. Go figure.

Having been a direct target of this kind of censorship, I have always reached instantly for those books that people find offensive so much that they burn them or ban them. What is in there that people fear so much that they would try to restrict and/or destroy it? Even with my proclivities, I don’t even find religious ideologies so repugnant that I would want them banned. I simply feel that it’s too important to have that knowledge available to us, with very little exception. I’ll argue this point even unto the science-fiction critics that complain about accuracy and pseudo-science. Imagination and experience are simply too important for us to narrow the scope of our available content.

I know where this argument takes us though, and I want to point out that I am certainly not saying we should have literature teaching people how to intentionally endanger or hurt one another, but books teaching us why people would want to do this would be incredibly important in my opinion. It seems to me that far too many people have taken it upon themselves to declare war on things they’ve only heard about, rather than relying on their own experience…something our government’s foreign and diplomatic policy could stand to consider as we continue to forcibly alienate more and more countries that are culturally incompatible with us. It’s not good enough that these cultures are oceans away, we must instead keep them so politically and personally hated that our perception of options isn’t to live and let live, but to suppress and eradicate. I simply find the situation strikingly similar to how people get themselves so stirred up over whether or not people have access to a book.

Is my allusion such a stretch?

I’ll try it on a different way. Despite a very crazy, abusive, and oppressive childhood…I managed to grow up into an extraordinarily moral individual. I owe so much of this to a list of books I couldn’t even begin to list out, but I will say this: many of them are on that banned book list. Some were actually required reading in school. I didn’t develop my values from reading only what I was told to…I learned from a whole world of philosophers and teachers, some religious and some not-so-much. I sometimes saw wisdom from despicable and evil people, and sometimes read how incredibly virtuous people could single-handedly sacrifice thousands in political posturing. The crazy, the scary, the imaginative…far too many of them incredibly insightful…restricted at libraries because someone ELSE didn’t like the contents. I learned a very strong sense of self, of right, of wrong, and how easily people deliberately convince themselves something morally horrible is acceptable in the name of a higher power that expressly forbids the act.

It pains me to think that maybe if people read more, they would have less time to convince themselves to act in such extremes, and have more time for the insight and inspiration that inevitably arrives from reading a good book…even one that might offend them.

Links to many of the banned books are below. Enjoy!

-Tony

www.ala.org

www.banned-books.org.uk

www.buzzfeed.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.time.com



Stop Cancelling Sci Fi and Fantasy TV Shows Please !!!!

Is it odd that I wish I had a very in-depth knowledge of how the inner workings and decision-making in which tv shows aired? I am just seeing some incredibly poor decision making.

I think SciFi appeals to most of us who work in IT. In addition, this crowd (and then some) are among the most wired-in people on the planet. The first to watch tv, the first ones in the theater. Yes…I am talking about those of us that freak out because they feel guilty about missing the midnight showing of opening movies.

That is US.

Now the big question…why the &^%$ do the networks continue to treat our demographic as if we don’t count.

We’re the first ones to run out and buy the sports car we don’t need.
We’re the first ones to jump on the bus for almost any tech you find at CES.
Even more importantly…it’s usually our demographic that continues to develop technologies you use to market your franchises better.

…and you cancel our shows constantly.

I will be honest, this started for me with a tv show a lot of you probably never heard of called Crusade. It was a spin-off from Babylon 5. One of the most successful Sci-Fi dramas ever that wasn’t shut down because of its popularity, it was shut down because the primary audience watching it didn’t watch anything else from TNT. Tell me that isn’t some seriously ass-backwards thinking.

“Hey we have this INCREDIBLE show that has successfully run for five seasons, had TWO movies run on it. But we have to cancel it…these nutjobs that like this show dont like all of our other (lower-rating / less-popular) programming.”

A few years later…they cancel Firefly why? Because ratings were low and the last dying breath of all Star Trek series was ready to debut and they (Fox) couldn’t find another slot for it. HINT…ALL SCI FI TV SHOWS START OUT WITH LOW RATINGS…THEN IN A YEAR THEY MAGICALLY HAVE 4MILLION VIEWERS PER EPISODE.

Yep…this is me being angry. Why? Because in the last few years they cancelled Heroes, Terra Nova, Alphas, Dollhouse, Stargate Universe, Eureka, Sanctuary, The Secret Circle, Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The 4400, Jericho, Jeremiah, Brimstone, Dark Skies, Farscape, Millenium, Moonlight, The Pretender, Roswell, Space: Above and Beyond, Threshold, Touching Evil, Dark Angel, V (the reboot), Caprica, Flash Forward, The Event, Defying Gravity…

That is the SHORT list.

Anyhow, I saw a comparison…the productions costs are next to nothing to do reality shows, versus the production costs for sci-fi…even though SANCTUARY was almost 100% cgi…making the funding relatively easy…they got so popular that they got picked up for tv…and then TV shut them down.

Lame, very lame.

I guess my real point is that you guys making all those big decisions should remember a couple things…the biggest sellers of all time are ALL sci fi and fantasy. And that genre’s primary audience and demographic are the very same people you WANT to engage and keep happy. They are the tech head, the geeks, the Engineers, and the Kids that grow into the greatest Imaginations on the planet. Give us some brain food and entertain us. Give us a reason to be loyal viewers, and quit making us feel like you’re still under the sorely mistaken impression the world still thinks the geeks of today are content to only eat what little crap you’re feeding us.

If you want to see a really depressing list…go HERE.

Yes. Tony is a dork. But I am a dork that loves his sci fiction and fantasy…and hates to see good plots get thrown away…

-Tony



Black Ink Revenge

by Automatic Loveletter

When I heard this it was a start reminder of how far I could let my imagination ruin great relationships, great friends, and promising futures. A gazillion years later, I wonder if I can stay humble and pray I never have to live in those moments again. -Tony

I wanted this
I wanted you
I wanted it to last but you fell through
Now east coast boys, don’t you see
That here on the west we follow our dreams,
Why don’t I know you anymore
The color of your lips are red and I swear I never wear lipstick
Ohh my god I drank too much,
Laughing while I’m crying, don’t you let them know your dying,

Dying, dying to break out dying to get that skin out,
Through the window of the upstairs, click my heels but I am stuck here,
I’m pledging and this is how, I’m swearing to you now,
The whole world will hear me shout out,

This is the last time, this is the last line,
Sunset to sunrise morning to midnight
This is my goodbye
Blow out the candle, The bottle is dry
And if pages learned to think
You’re not even worth my black ink revenge
I guarantee guarantee you’ll miss me
I can’t stomach this
I think I’m going to be sick
My heart’s made of wick, and you put the fire out of it
With the kerosene, shocked my feet
She smiled at me and closed the door
But not to sleep

This isn’t making any sense
I was worse the night before it
The smell of your sheets is the remnants of the
Breaking of my heart
You’re breaking it so hard
The whole world will hear me shout out

This is the last time, this is the last fight,
Sunset to sunrise morning to midnight
This is my goodbye
Blow out the candle
The bottle is dry
And if pages learned to think
You’re not even worth my black ink revenge

I guarantee guarantee you’ll miss me
And so I’m writing you out of my dreams
You’ll miss me I swear when I leave
Yeah I’m writing you out of my dreams
You’ll miss me I swear
Cuz I’m writing you out, I’m crossing my T’s
I want back the necklace I said you could keep
You miscomprehended and I scorn you till death
My words are as strong as my last gasp of breath
Leave nothing behind not a trace or a crumb
No clues to unlock, how painful this was

So I’m writing you out of my dreams,
You’ll miss me I swear when I
This is the last time, this is the last line,
Sunset to sunrise morning to midnight
This is my goodbye
Blow out the candle
The bottle is dry
And if pages learned to think
And if pages learned to think
You’re not even worth my black ink revenge