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I'M Worried I'Ll Offend Someone with a Title

In: Social Issues

Submitted By magiclee99
Words 970
Pages 4
I love Hitler. I think North Korea has an incredible democracy. Donald Trump would be a great president.
Now, I don’t agree with any of these statements, but if we can pretend I do, then you would realize that it is dangerous to say any of the above things in a public facility. It is easy for a society to agree that freedom of speech is important. But, how often is it enforced? How about freedom of expression? Specifically in the humanities, things like paintings, novels, theater, why is censoring needed? As long as there is no threat of danger, censorship in the arts shouldn't be allowed. Timur Vermes, a German author, wrote a book in Germany called Look Who’s Back, which is a satirical study on if Adolf Hitler was alive today, written in first person of the furious Furher himself. Surprisingly, that book was allowed in Germany, and it was no big deal when brought to America. Shocking, yes. A book about Hitler, being portrayed as a person rather than a monster, is a best seller book. Yes it is hilarious, but it is absolutely controversial. But, take the ever pleasant and magical Harry Potter series, and you have a totally different situation. Ever since becoming popular, the books have been among the most frequently challenged books, as measured by the American Library Association (ALA). It has been welcomed by many parents and teachers for getting children interested in reading, not to mention being a good story, and who’s to blame them. It is very popular, the movies are great, and it seems like such an innocent book to read! It is all very fictitious, there is no way kids can do what Harry is doing. What’s wrong with this? Apparently, the ALA feel that the series presents dangerous ideas and attitudes that are bad for readers. In some parts of the United States and United Kingdom, the Potter books have been banned from being read in school, taken out of libraries, and even burned in public. One school to ban Harry Potter was St. Mary's Island Church of England School in Kent. The head teacher explained that “The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God's people are told to have nothing to do with them." She added that "I believe it is confusing to children when something wicked is being made to look fun.” Seriously? I know there are radicals who believe this stuff, and I will not disagree with them, but they should understand it is a work of fiction. There is no physical harm in this book. Talking specifically to the arts, many pieces of the humanities convey a message, and sometimes there is a need to go insane and dark, and cross that metaphorical “line” to make a point. Look Who’s Back is the perfect example. It is in its heart a story that is making the point that people are stupidest enough to let the most terrible things happen again, and the Holocaust is the perfect example. People consider this Hitler person (who, to clarify, they think is a stand up comic and not the actual Adolf Hitler) a great guy, even though it is 67 years later. They start to hail him, listen to what he says, and say that it makes sense, even though they constantly say throughout the book how terrible the Holocaust was. This moral, this idea that if you are not careful, history will repeat, is very important! If this book were to have been banned, then people may not get that memo. Take another example, my favorite play, Robert Askin’s Hand To God. This is a play which is, in short, about a puppet who turns demonic. It is starting out as Jason (a shy, introverted, Christian boy) to take out his anger through Tyrone (the “cute” puppet). Throughout the play, it gets worse and worse, until you understand that it isn’t Jason anymore. Askins is able to convene some really serious, important themes into a dark comedy. Now, it crosses so many “lines” (from a normal person’s definition). As Variety says, “Askins’ most impressive talent is his ability to make us laugh while juggling those big themes that make life so terrifying: death, depression, alcoholism, sexual guilt, emotional repression, religious hypocrisy and the eternal battle between your good puppet and your bad puppet.” The important thing to keep in mind is that although you should be able to speak your mind, to say whatever you like without persecution, there is one barrier to remember. When expressing yourself goes so far as to cause potential harm, that is too far. Take for example the classic metaphor of “shouting fire in a crowded theatre.” The Italian Hall Disaster was a tragic event that happened in 1913, wherein somebody yelled “fire”, and people went into total panic. There was a stampede of people running away, which led to 73 men, women, and children were killed by being trampled over. This takes freedom of expression too far. I don’t know the reason this person was doing this, but he caused many people to die. You can say anything you like, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will be okay with it. People have become more and more easily offended this day in age. But, if people come to an understanding that if you are careful about hurting anybody, it is great to be able to truly say what you want to say. Obviously, sometimes people can say things that are downright stupid, but if you are able to enrich both your vocabulary and your subject line, you can become a lot more profound. Even if Hitler is talking to a sock puppet.

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