Just in time for Banned Books Week, here's Philip "Golden Compass" Pullman on why book bans -- especially religiously inspired book bans -- are so futile and wrong:
Because they never learn. The inevitable result of trying to ban something – book, film, play, pop song, whatever – is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don't the censors realise this?...
In fact, when it comes to banning books, religion is the worst reason of the lot. Religion, uncontaminated by power, can be the source of a great deal of private solace, artistic inspiration, and moral wisdom. But when it gets its hands on the levers of political or social authority, it goes rotten very quickly indeed. The rank stench of oppression wafts from every authoritarian church, chapel, temple, mosque, or synagogue – from every place of worship where the priests have the power to meddle in the social and intellectual lives of their flocks, from every presidential palace or prime ministerial office where civil leaders have to pander to religious ones...
My basic objection to religion is not that it isn't true; I like plenty of things that aren't true. It's that religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.
The censor's dark materials
In Artificial Condition, Martha Well’s soap opera loving rogue security AI remains cantankerous and awesome. Murderbot is an AI security robot with a busted autonomy regulator. So long as they can keep the regulator a secret, they can remain fully aware and independent. Mostly they want to watch soap operas. Soap operas and to be […]
Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters’ new book, sounds like a demented must-have: It “serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would […]
Chamber’s second novel, A Closed and Common Orbit, in her Wayfarer series is so wonderful I cried several times. A Closed and Common Orbit picks up immediately after Chambers’ first story, Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet concludes but is barely an extension of that tale, beyond further expanding on Chambers’ wonderful universe. […]
There’s much ado about coffee brewing methods these days, but most of us – at least on the busy weekdays – just want our morning joe to be consistent, easy, and most of all, fast. If that sounds like anyone on your Christmas list, they’re going to get a lot of mileage out of the […]
Online shopping is going to be through the roof this month, and you’d better believe that hackers know it. If you’re going to invest in a virtual private network, now is the time. Especially when Windscribe VPN is offering its own holiday discount. At their current price point, it’s well worth jumping on the paid […]
Cheap massage chairs are a common Christmas gift, but we’re willing to bet they don’t get a lot of actual use from the people who could really use a massage. We’re talking about people with deep, chronic joint pain or anyone who does a serious workout on a regular basis. For that kind of soreness, […]