There are several articles I came across over recent weeks that I bookmarked for potential use as source material for blog posts. I haven’t been able to do so yet, but they’re too good to leave alone: so I’m going to put them up here, and recommend that you click over to the source and read them in full.
First, “How I made money out of mysteries“.
When Otto Penzler was preparing to open The Mysterious Bookshop in 1979, he enthusiastically planned an opening day bash. Everything was all set: The authors were signed, the guests had RSVP’d.
There was just one small glitch: The former sportswriter-turned-bookshop-owner had no money. “The day before, I realized, I didn’t have any money for wine, veggies, or bread,” says Penzler. “Then I remembered I had a piggy bank somewhere. I took the piggy bank and I shook out $385 worth of quarters and went shopping for champagne and some chips. But those first few years [of the business] were a horrible struggle. I was borrowing $20 from my unemployed brother to buy pasta to eat.”
Previously located in Midtown, the Warren Street bookshop now boasts the title of the oldest mystery specialist bookstore in America. It has survived and thrived — even in bleak times.
Next, “The Very Intersectional Caterpillar“.
If a story is a page-turner, the complexions and identities of the characters are irrelevant; my priority is to give my children good books. But the focus of many of these woke new children’s titles appears to be identity politics and indoctrination, not storytelling … If you’re not already paying close attention to what books your children are reading, now’s the time.
While on the subject of kids, there’s appropriate, and then there’s infuriating. This is infuriating.
If I knew any parent who was so insane, so cretinous, so blind to reality as to allow his or her daughter to be sexualized at so early an age by such nonsense, I’d be having a very long, very acrimonious conversation with them. If they persisted, I’d not only drop them like a hot potato from my list of “good people”, I’d probably call Child Protective Services on them. That’s the least I could do, for the safety of their daughter. Tragically, in this day and age, I don’t suppose it would help very much . . . for all I know, a CPS staffer might be running the pole program! (Spits in disgust.)
Finally, American Renaissance has an interesting discussion on censorship and the freedom of the press. Here’s an excerpt.
America has never had freedom of expression but, oddly, came closer recently than it ever has before. In 1950, the American media were heavily biased. F. HUAC, the House Unamerican Activities Committee, actively persecuted leftists, destroying careers for expressing ideas now thought routine in political polemics. Yet the overwhelming majority of the public agreed with the biases, which consequently were seldom noticed. As proportions of the population, virtually nobody favored communism or socialism, legalization of drugs, anything resembling pornography, coerced racial integration, abortion, banning guns and the like. The military was regarded with fondness and admiration for having whipped Tojo and the Fuehrer. Humorously fond books like No Time for Sergeants and Rally Around the Flag, Boys were popular. When there is consensus, bias doesn’t matter. When the media censor ideas important to large groups of the population, and seek to impose ideas repugnant to them, as happens now, it does matter.
Today the foo is on the other shoot, with conservative ideas being purged and, though there is—still—actually much more freedom of expression today the censorship is directed at an angry half of the country. And today of course the country is so deeply divided among many groups that hate each other. Thus what seems one a sensible and salubrious censorship to one group seems tyranny to the group being censored.
For a brief period after the rise of the internet something close to freedom of information existed but it was fairly obvious that it would last only until governments figured out how to stifle it. Governments never like freedom of expression. In America, though, there was the First Amendment to which ritual obeisance need be paid. How to prevent expression of Bad Thought? The answer was to have private entities not subject to the Bill of Rights do the throttling of unwanted ideas: again Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the rest. These censor people, movements, and ideas that the coastal elites and federal government do not like.
While outrage at the burgeoning, targeted censorship is understandable, the complementary question is seldom asked: How much and what censorship is desirable? What would you, the reader, censor if you had the power?
That’s a good question. What’s your answer?