It’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?
Lois Lowry, The Giver
Personally, I try to stay out of politics. Some may find this humorous, since I have a degree in Political Science, but I think really that is why I have learned to steer away from politics. I know too much, so to speak. Yet, this SOPA and PIPA thing keeps coming up and so it seems I will not be able to keep my mouth shut anymore. So here is my non-confrontational and somewhat passive aggressive attempt to share my feelings on the matter.
Today is January 18th and some sites I love have “blacked out” their pages. Late Enough was able to black out her page, but I am not not technically savvy and would not know where to begin to do that here on my blog. So just imagine it blacked out, would you? Think of it as an exercise in imagination (although I realize this can be a stretch for some people).
Quite coincidentally, I finally got around to starting The Giver the other day and amazingly I have found the theme of the book has made me think even more about what the passage of these bills could mean. The society Lois Lowry creates is orderly, polite, and on the surface almost idyllic, but to gain that society the citizens had gave up their choice…Their choice to voice an honest opinion, their voice to use profanity, their choice of a mate and occupation. They were not given the choice to create their own thoughts in order to fit in and to create a society where sameness was valued more than difference.
Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”
Lois Lowry, THE GIVER
You see that although some things are unpleasant and can be unsettling, it creates a more vibrant world. By censoring people and websites, it takes away our choice to make our own decision about their content. Although, I tend not to swear there have been times where I have to use profanity to share my experience with you. I do try to add stars to make the word understandable without actually using it, but still, I hate to think that I would not be able to be as truthful about my experiences under a new law. I would hate to think that I would not have the choice to use whatever language I chose to describe or share my thoughts and feelings.
Do you love me?”
“There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. Jonas, you of all people. Precision of language, please!”
“What do you mean?” Jonas asked. Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.
“Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it has become almost obsolete,” his mother explained carefully.
Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver
In The Giver, children are taught the “precision of language”. I realized that there is an irony to that as Jonas struggled to come up with words for his emotions. Although, he would come up with the right words, they had lost some meaning. In a world where their was little difference and strife, the meanings of the words “anger” and “hate” did not have the same punch. In the same way, “love” and “happiness” also lost its depth of feeling. Words can be powerful things, but would they lose their power if people’s use of language to express their thoughts is restricted?
So there you have it. In my own passive aggressive way, I have shared my thoughts on SOPA and PIPA with you. For more information about what is going on with the bills, click here. Also, if you have not read The Giver… now is a great time to pick it up.
I also wanted to share this video with you… It is like watching a cheesy movie with my husband. Seriously.
Update: I focused on censorship, but as you see from the video it is about piracy and money… but censoring the content of social media and connected website censors more material than just what is being pirated and honestly how hard exciting would this post be without the video.