Tag: Perception

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!







Tonytown.com - Lots of political parties

The Real Problem In Politics

Tonytown.com - Lots of political partiesYou’ve all heard me say it repeatedly, I’m an equal opportunity hater when it comes to political parties. To date, I haven’t been convinced to re-evaluate this stance, and to be honest I am tired of questioning my own stance for the sake of social and economic concessions.

Let me explain my logic on this. It really all comes down to misrepresentation. In this, I mean the root of problems we all have an opinion on has been consistently compromised to achieve other agendas that happen to be promoted or supported by large(r) voting demographics.

By subscribing to the idea that we can only make a difference if we support the two major political parties here in the U.S., we effectively cripple our opinions and values. This isn’t about whether or not you’re a hardline conservative or liberal…its about your representing your individual values in our government.

At this time, the two major political parties have at one time or another supported or promoted diametrically opposing views, but the majority of the time, subscribing to the perception that these views are in fact the only two options available to voters is incredibly fallacious.

Example: PersonX is just another citizen that has values and opinions, said person feels that abortion needs more regulation, and also feels that the current level of gun control needs deregulation in accordance with their perception of both the bible and their understanding of their constitutional rights. Under the current system of representation, this person has only one ability to make that change directly, their vote.

Due to the current voting powers and the political parties integration into the voting system, PersonX is quite incapable of finding adequate representation in the government. Why? Because currently they are fed the perception that if they do not vote for either Republicans or Democrats, they will achieve neither.

This idea is why we’re essentially socially and economically upside down right now. Right now PersonX can use heir voice, and convince others that his or her opinions are right, but when it comes down to getting all those people PersonX has convinced to align accordingly…PersonX’s vote and that of his subscribers will only be capable of achieving a half win because the only people they are offered to vote for are either Republican or Democrat.

Resolving this issue is complex, because our government is now incredibly intertwined with large business organizations that would also lose their sway if they weren’t capable of influencing votes and legislation to a majority of voters by influencing the two political parties that hold. Thus Big Business will never support the idea that people shouldn’t concede their vote to achieve only a portion of their goals.

Another example: a vast majority of voters do not feel we should be pursuing military agendas all over the globe as if most of the world were at war with us. Yet here we are, constantly pushing our own military into other countries that are most often demanding we not get involved. I am the first person to subscribe to a national defense strategy that permits and promotes our freedoms. This is a very commonly held belief, I ask people, I ask my friends, and I talk with complete strangers…just to see where my own opinions stand against others. While a majority of people are ignorant of our current state of military affairs, those that did show an interest ALL expressed the same sentiment I did. Now if all these voters have expressed this sentiment, why on earth are we fighting all over the world??? I know I voted for a guy that favored trade-building over war and regime changes. But…nothing changed? Where is my representation?

The answer is simple, the two major political parties in the U.S. due to their party affiliation are in fact forced into making concessions that reflect the goals of the party, not the people they represent. By representing the party and not the citizen, the government representative is no longer capable (or willing) to adequately repesent the opinions and beliefs of their constituency. Simply put, the Republicans and Democrats are only capable of serving their own agenda, and not yours. There are rare exceptions to this, but these are exceptions to the norm and unfortunately regularly cause the nation to be completely misrepresented in almost every facet of government, military action, and diplomacy.

If this wasn’t enough for you to understand my point of view, your should then simply take my word for it and research who you’re voting for, you may find that the person you put on such a big pedestal rarely holds the values you thought you were voting for. IMO…the best politicians are the ones that have solutions for limiting government involvement and regulation.


Listen to yourselves sometimes…

Dear Close-Minded Woman that pissed me off this week,

Perception is reality. 22% of the worlds population believes in Islam. It’s the worship of a single deity, with that deity’s word outlined in the Qur’an, and the teachings of a prophet named Mohammed. I could just as easily compare it to the Bible, God, and Moses just like my buddy did, and be quite satisfied in being correct…at least until we get into a more detailed description of the religion.

SO…maybe…just maybe…the next time someone greets you with a blessing you should be gracious enough not to act like someone just put a hex on you.

There is this knee-jerk reaction people have when engaging religions not their own that is usually uninformed, uneducated, and almost purely instinctual…almost fight or flight. That is explainable. The possibility that one may be right and the other wrong triggers a fight or flight reaction, most of the time verbally where a person spouts off whatever they can come up with in a few seconds and hide behind their faith in the argument…or worse. When in reality (personally I think religion is a horrible burden on spirituality, being now a tool for business and politic), they are both mutually destructive to one another and will continue to teach at least a small portion of their congregation that the other is the evil one.

The only end to this was to remove religious rule, and we did it.

What scares me most is that some people actually think that adapting the US government into any degree of Christian theocracy would actually protect us.

Separation of Church and State protects us. It has allowed our country to flourish where many other nations have fallen or been turned over in civil war nightmares. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….” and Article VI specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

I completely understand feeling threatened by belief systems other than your own. I actually understand the feeling more than most. I just don’t understand the need to attack others beliefs to justify your own. Disproving someone else’s religion doesn’t make you right, it makes you a judge where none is necessary.


NO…I am NOT a Muslim. I just cant stand religious bullies.