Making an Illuminated Manuscript 

For the past year and a half I have found myself increasingly invested into the research of early modern printing in Europe. To add to this, I have frequently enrolled in an advanced printmaking class, making linoleum prints in the style of 15th to 17th century woodblock prints.  Somewhere down the line I decided to make a book. My printshop does not have a letter press, so I am handwriting the whole thing in Gothic script. Since working on this book for the last few months, I have discovered a few things:

1) Supplies are damn expensive. Good paper alone could cost you as much as $75 for 20 sheets. But if it’s archival quality and acid free, like any of Arches paper, it’s worth it. Other stuff like binding materials are also going to set you back some. 

2) I hate the letters E, A, X, and most of all S. What’s worse is if I have to write a word with two E’s or S’s in a row. Gothic lowercase letters are pretty much made the same way, but these guys are awkward. I don’t even know where to start with S. Every time I write one it’s either super tall or floating in midair. Ugh. 

3) Spring break is a life saver. When life is also throwing you research papers for a politics class or you have to read documents from the Cuban Revolution, it’s hard to find time for artistic writing. All of spring break is nothing but writing and making plates for this book. It makes a sizable dent in your workload. People have time to ski and party on the beach with MTV? LOL who gets that luxury??

4) I am slowly becoming a Benedictine monk. I know that sounds silly but carefully crafting each word into gothic script makes you feel like a monk in the scriptorium. I found a Gregorian chant station on Pandora radio and put it on. My God……it all made sense! I wasn’t even born Catholic and I felt the need to grab a rosary!

5) A team effort can be helpful. I don’t like the look of calligraphy pens (yeah, I’m kinda picky), so I write each letter as my mom/bestie colors it in. It saves me a bit of time, while we can gossip about people and mutually complain about the letter S. 

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes…That Don’t Read

White Tower Musings

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I always felt like a pedophile walking into Icing at Claire’s, but my wife wanted to look at ear rings, and when wife talks, husband listens. The reason for my discomfort is apparent to any fully grown man that enters this store. From wall to wall the mass produced, over priced, cheap jewelry is designed to adorn the body of a young girl between the ages of six to sixteen. Between the Tween bop music that blares ad nauseum, to the wall to wall mirrors that reflect back a figure of human sadness to be caught in this space, the souls mourns and the “Y” chromosome tries desperately to rip itself from your body.

This is hyperbole, but the sad fact is there’s a nugget of truth to it.

msSISdnt0dy6AJq48JSE0TwWhat really bothered me about the store, and numerous other retail establishments, is the proliferation of Marilyn Monroe. Since…

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A Fairytale Story-Telling Which Includes a Witch, a Prince, and a reasonable lesson

Not too long ago a very dear friend of mine brought up the question “if money was not an issue, what would you do with your life?” To be honest, ever since I was pre-school I thought the notion of the Story-Teller from another time was wonderful. Complete with a sash carrying pouches with various contents, a staff, and a trusty dagger for all purposes, I could travel from place to place, telling stories or the latest news from other towns and villages. The only issue is that in the age of technology a traveling Story-Teller is a little out of place not to mention that I have no idea if I’m even qualified to tell stories.  So I’ve decided to tell a story of my own for this post to see if I am any good at this story-telling business.  This is the only one I plan on publishing on WordPress for the time being, so let’s get started.

 

Once there was a witch.  I do not believe she was an evil witch as so many seem to be because she even went out of her way to save spiders.  No, I don’t think she was evil at all.  Well, this particular witch was depressed one day because none of the people around her seemed to really appreciate what she did for them.  Even her close circle of friends didn’t fully appreciate her magic.  They said she was important but it never felt sincere to her.  Now her friends were quite different from other people.  There was a faun, two goblins, a bird-man, a siren who could not sing, and a few others.  But one of them was a prince.

This prince was about the same age as the young witch and they got along as the best of friends.  They would engage into a battle of wits to outsmart the other.  They would confide in one another and sometimes talk well into the night about the world that lay beyond the kingdom.  One day though, her sixth sense told her that eyes were on her and she began to see her friend, the prince, look at her with such fondness that it threw her into a state of panic and shock. Now remember, this is a witch we’re talking about.  If you know anything about witches, their powers are often linked to emotion.  So when  she began to feel this way, she began to lose self-control of her powers.  People in conversations would suddenly start talking nonsense if she walked by.  The wind would get stronger if she was nearby.  It was strange for her close friend to look at her in such a way.  She tried to fool herself that it was nothing but when he handed her a note requesting her company to go with him to the Midsummer festivities, she was taken aback.  No one had ever asked her to go to with them to anything. Ever.

It dawned on her then that the prince thought more highly of her than her other companions, as if he actually saw her worth.  And then she realized how much she had fallen in love with the prince and as shown through their conversations, battles of wit, and finally this invitation, he felt the same.  Now remember what I told you about witches and their emotions? Well now when she walked by people, they heard sweet music on the wind, the sky was a deeper blue, and flowers grew in the most infertile of soil and flourished.  It was several months until Midsummer and the witch and the prince became more flirtatious during that time.  Just a simple brush of the arm thrilled her.  He whispered jokes in her ear and she would shake with laughter.  She lived to make him smile and daydreamed of the night ahead when they would dance together in the starlight.

She prepared her dress with the aid of an older, more talented witch, and made it a thing of myth.  The two witches with their spinning thread, sailed to the heavens and captured the essence of the night sky and with it, remnants of stardust.  Then, jumping from star to star, they reached the moon.  They gathered the moon pearls that grew there and ground them into a fine powder and made their way back to earth.  It was dawn by then and the witches thanked the sky dragon for the light of the sun when suddenly the young witch’s gaze was caught by a glimmer of light.  She had found a spiderweb.  “Bring it with us, child.  It will come of use,” the elder witch spoke.  So our young witch gently gathered the web and placed it with the moon pearl dust.  They went back to the elder witch’s cottage in the forest and began to spin the finest of silks into a beautiful dress infused with the moon pearl dust and essence of night.  The spiderweb was dyed and used as lace trimming.  She felt beautiful wearing it and knew the prince would too.  How stunned he would be!  How enamoured!  How flustered as well!

One day, only a month until Midsummer, did the prince come to the witch with a worried demeanor.  The witch saw this and asked,” sweet Prince, what troubles you so? You seem on-edge.”  The prince took a breath and, while avoiding her gaze, asked,” Did you know I was courting the Princess of Aledia?”  The witch was unbelievably shocked by this but was very soft spoken and level headed, trying to keep her powers under control.

“No.  I was not aware,” the witch said,” Why do you mention it?”

“Because I must know if this changes anything for Midsummer.  I told the princess that I had already asked you back before the first snow thaw and she burst into tears saying she wouldn’t go at all unless she went with me.  Miss Witch, I think I love her more than anyone I’ve ever met and I don’t know what to do.”

Now what did the witch do after hearing these words?  Did she hex him and turn both the prince and princess into frogs?  Actually she didn’t.  The witch was surprisingly calm in that moment and rather than come between the happiness of two lovers, she looked the prince in the eye and told him to go with the princess.  Without another thought, the boy thanked the witch and rushed away to tell his lady-fair.  This gave the witch plenty of time to think.  How could she have been so foolish to believe he loved her?  It wasn’t as if it would have lasted anyway.  A witch and a prince?  Impossible.  No wonder the princess was so upset to hear the news.  The witch never once cried, but felt a bitter gnawing at her heart.  The prince returned with news that the princess had accepted this news joyfully, but he still looked forlorn.  She did not ask this time.

“Miss Witch, I feel absolutely terrible for breaking my word with you.  You, one of my closest of friends.  Please, I beg of you, if there is some way I can make this up to you, tell me now.”

The witch just gazed steadily at the prince, in all of his finery and shirts of satin, and said to him:

“My dear Prince, I just want you to be happy.”

These words cut the prince so harsh and so deep that he was dumbstruck, but then tears came to his eyes and he screamed in such fury at himself, scaring the witch.  The next day the witch avoided as many people as possible and stayed very quiet.  Several times the prince would come to her and ask if she was alright.  She would not answer him.  Eventually the prince became desperate at the end of the day and fell before her sobbing.

“Look, I’ve been a bastard, and I’ve hurt one of the only people whom I may call ‘friend’.  And you have always been the dearest and nicest of friends.  Please, I beg of you, just talk to me!!!”

The witch felt what may have been pity, and told the prince her thoughts.

“Sweet Prince, please do not beg before me.  You are still my friend and I will not allow a friend of mine to act as such.  However, your behavior concerning me and the princess has been appalling.  Why did you even invite me in the first place if you had feelings for her?  You lied to both of us, and if I deserve anything, it’s the Truth.  I forgive you because you are my friend and I love you, but if you lie to me again, you will shatter.”

The prince was weeping as she said this and began to kiss her hand multiple times and declared:

“Oh kind, caring friend of mine, you may be a witch but you have the might of a queen and the heart of an angel!”

And so the witch forgave the prince.  But what about Midsummer? Did the witch end up going anyway?  No.  She did not.  The days leading up to the celebration were rough and miserable, and she never did tell anyone about the prince’s actions for fear of tarnishing his reputation.  The witch did leave though.  On Midsummer’s Eve, she put on the dress of starlight, wrapped her hands in spider-lace gloves, and followed the will-o-the-whisks into the night and was spirited away to another realm entirely and never saw the prince again.

Now I find it important to mention that not all stories are fairy tales, but all fairy tales are stories.  Some stories don’t have the happiest of endings.  So what is the lesson?  It is this: You do not treat people the way the prince treated his witch friend.  He lived the rest of his life with the pain of knowing he had hurt another.  Even in his old age he never forgot and desperately wished the witch would return and things would become what they once were.  You must not lie to people and two-face them.  Especially if you love them.

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Why Kant Would Love Blogs

This semester I read Immanuel Kant for the first time, and boy was that fun.  It wasn’t Critique of Pure Reason or anything, I’ve heard many people groan and complain trying to untangle the information from that happy little book.  No, I read a small essay called “Was ist Auflaklarung?” (What is Enlightenment?) and it has pervaded every thought in my mind since early January.  One of the most famous quotes said from this essay is “sapere aude!” which is “dare to know!”  If you’re able to weed through his convoluted sentences, you actually discover he’s quite the optimist saying that every man has the ability to reason and to make this world great if only he could learn the proper use of his abilities.  To him, the individual is capable of great things through the proper use of his own reasoning.  Notice I said his OWN reasoning and not somebody else’s.  To able to form one’s own opinion over a certain subject was Kant’s hope for people.  It can still be said that a large majority of the people in this day and age are lazy and do not like to think for themselves.  I always wonder what would make a person behave in such a way, but then I realized: people are afraid of responsibility.  Kant remarks that these people are reduced to “domestic cattle” by the “guardians” of society, who could include politicians, church leaders, corporations, authoritative members in general.  Think about it, how many times have you seen a commercial telling you to buy a certain kind of phone over another?  How many people have heard say “believe in this and not that faith!”  Chances are, unless you’re a hermit that lives in Antarctica, that number is a lot.

That’s why people are stunned to see such independent thinking.  Let’s do an example:

  • I actually do not think the Mona Lisa is that great of a painting.  It’s pretty and all, but quite honestly it just can’t compare to Caravaggio’s “The Cardsharps (I Bari)”.  I mean, the dramatic lighting, the beautiful expressions of the players, and the arrangement is stunning!
  • Now you might be outraged by that, thinking,” Good Lord, who does this writer think she is anyway?  How can anyone NOT like the Mona Lisa? It’s preposterous and absurd!  EVERYONE likes the Mona Lisa.  You must be an absolute madwoman!

You see?  By the outburst itself, I am taunted, made to feel embarrassed, and am subtly influenced to rejoin the herd of the masses that are told that the Mona Lisa is the best piece of art on the face of the earth.  To a large majority of people, I’m wrong in my opinion which to them is a failure of my intellect.  Kant says though,” Actually, however, this danger is not so great, for by falling a few times they would finally learn to walk alone.”  Christopher Nolan’s Batman Series comes to mind an equivalent quote: “Why do we fall down, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.”  And let’s face it, being wrong is nobody’s favorite pastime.  It kinda sucks to be honest.  But if we can learn to rise above it, and still think for ourselves, we can achieve greatness.

In this little essay of his is what can be identified as the Kantian being, which is a person that is able to function as both a citizen and a scholar within his society.  To clarify: a scholar in this instance is someone who exercises his opinion about life, politics, religion, etc. in a formal way typically through writing that does not conflict with his duty as a citizen of a place, which is to obey the law.

At the core of this Kantian being is a duality between the citizen and the scholar.  As a scholar, you may question the laws and customs of those in charge, but as a citizen, you must keep up the established order so that chaos does not ensue.  So basically a citizen cannot go against the laws the city has set up because it would disrupt the natural order of things, so what’s a guy to do?  Write about it!  If a citizen wrote up in a formal proposal something he did not agree with in society, then he could share it with others, who, weighing their opinion on the proposal, could help potentially change public policies to make the city a better place to live in.  It’s really not all that different than some of the things Socrates said actually about the citizen having the power to improve the polis.  Through civility can the individual have the freedom to think for oneself while serving his duty to keep his surroundings relatively in order.

So what does this have to do with blogging? Well, plenty I think.  Kant would probably be thrilled with the concept of blogging because blogs are practically opinion pieces on just about anything.  Kant would see the world of WordPress, as a world of scholars that put aside their citizenship to write in his idea of scholars.  The multitude of opinions in this ideascape of the blogosphere might make his head spin, but he’d be proud nevertheless because the exchanging of viewpoints are not just between countrymen, but between all people around the world.  People on opposite ends of the world could argue about ethics, if poetry is a valid art form, whether or not the Mona Lisa should be considered the greatest painting in the world, or even if Ben Affleck will make a decent Batman.  We as a people have come of an age where communication is infinite and we’ve decided to no longer keep our opinions to ourselves.

But remember, as Kant would warn, we must think for ourselves.  We must be careful about becoming too carried away from the pretty words of others as the Harlequin did in Heart of Darkness.  If we read the words of others, we cannot simply let them become our voice if we agree with them.  That, I believe, is a quintessential problem with most people, namely, that they are so hasty to agree with the words of another person because they are too scared to come fore ward themselves.  This needs to stop.  So my fellow bloggers and readers alike, let us express our opinions.  Let us become scholars.  Let us unleash our opinions upon the world and “finally learn to walk alone”.

 

 

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A Tempest in a Teacup

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As an avid tea-lover, it has not escaped my attention of the growing surplus of tea drinking.  I’m actually gladdened by this considering most people drink coffee for purposes to stay awake.  I never cease to be amazed how many people that drink coffee never actually like the taste of it.  But I digress.  Tea may contain caffeine as well as coffee but there is another implication to tea that makes it special and that is its charming simplicity.

One of the best books discussing the importance of the drink is The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo from the early 20th century.  Discussing the social, spiritual, and historical accounts surrounding tea, it’s an interesting look at how the view of the beverage is percieved from differing viewpoints.  From its origins, tea was an aid to spiritual undertakings by Buddhist monks to help them stay awake durig long meditations.  Kakuzo calls the appreciation of simplicity and the common through the use of the drink, “Teaism” which has its roots in both the Buddhist sects of Taoism and Zennism.  It is treated as a religion on its own with the Chaking by Luwuh as the holy scripture and the tea room as its temple.

However, while the East saw the drinking of tea as a unification of the wealthy and the poor to realizing the highest potential of beauty, when tea came to the West there was actually a stronger distinction in the socioeconomic status of those who could afford tea and even the way you drank your tea.  Not everyone could afford tea when it came to Europe.  Only the rich could manage to have tea on a regular basis.  In Jane Austen’s England, tea was so expensive that family’s kept their tea locked away in a cupboard with the keys carefully hidden so that servants would not steal it.  In Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, at one part he shows how the dregs of Victorian Russia would drink their tea with a lump of sugar between their teeth because the notion of dissolving sugar in one’s tea was a luxury reserved for the upper class.   So instead of being a force to bring people together, it actually was a cause of tension between social classes.

Tea can be revolutionary.  It was through a demonstration of tea that the American Revolution was started.  You have to remember: the Bostonians LOVED their tea.  So to sacrifice it all in protest against Britain was kind of a big deal.  However, as time has gone on, I’m a little ashamed at what has happened to the Americanized version of tea.  Where once tea was bought in loose leaf form and was brewed and served in the beauty of china teacups, now we buy non-specific brand tea in plastic water bottles for easy portability or in huge two-gallon milk jugs for party purposes.  Also the fact that tea is sweetened to the point where it seems you’ll get diabetes from one sip is also a little distressing.  It makes me cringe.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s gotten a little better with stores selling higher quality teas, but we’re nowhere near giving tea the respect that Kakuzo spoke of.  Americans are struggling to learn how to slow down and smell the roses.

The tea today has remnants of the centering aspect and admiration of simpleness that Kakuzo spoke of when it was in antiquity.  In the West, a large majority of people drink tea only for the health benefits it supplies or, more commonly, for the caffeine content it supplies to help them get through the day.  I know I’ve been guilty of that a couple of times myself (Taylor’s Scottish Breakfast tea man, it just keeps you awake longer after a lack of sleep the night before!).  But there is something else that goes with tea, it helps you to slow down and appreciate even the most trifle of things.  In a world where we are constantly plugged in to technology and are told that “faster is better”, we may lose sight of the leaves changing colors, of the beauty of the clouds, or simple fact that life is so amazing that it is worth living BECAUSE of the beauty that is so often taken for granted.  A simple cup of tea taken in the right way can help us realize this as we slow down and take a moment to watch the grass grow.

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The Voice of Graffiti

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I think most people can agree that graffiti is a messy topic when it comes to really defining it.  It’s so diverse that some people would call it art, vandalism, propaganda, gang-related territorial markings, and so on depending on your background and point of view.  I personally love the grey-area concept of street art, it makes it a great topic of controversy (not to mention I myself am a novice yarn-bomber).  Argue as much as you want concerning it’s artistic merit or its legality issues, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that graffiti is one of the major forms of cultural/counter-cultural free speech.  I mean think about it, images and pictures either positively or negatively depicting a social issue or such is probably an opinion by the creator of the piece.

Modern graffiti as we have today really took off in the 1960s where instead of images and pictures, graffiti writers were concerned with “the Name”.  To them, the Name was like a logo, telling the world who you were and that you existed.  From the 1970s graffiti wars of New York to today, graffiti has evolved to the strange dilemma of being treasured and also hated.  Graffiti culture has lost its edge in a way actually.  Where before it was supposed to piss people off and be rebellious, now in some places walls are being torn down to preserve and auction off works by Banksy or Shepard Fairey.  In America, graffiti has become a part of the culture, influencing the styles of clothes we wear, commercials, spiral notebook covers, shoes, etc.

Now I’m not saying that all graffiti has been reduced to what may be called “kitsch”.  To be quite honest, I always think the religious icons are some of the most interesting sub-genres within the graffiti culture.  Images of the Virgin Mary or the Dalai Llama are always some of the most interesting I think, especially if they’re controversial.

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Okay…….so maybe Surfing Madonna isn’t the best example of controversy, but you should understand what I mean.  So anyway, people have used these religious icons as a part of their intention to say something.  Could this be a suggestion for more moral behavior in interaction with others?  Religious images on public walls, like most other kinds of graffiti, demand the attention of the public as they pass by.  There has been one group that has taken advantage of this concept and that is the Gospel Graffiti Crew.  This is a Christian Based group that spreads the word and love of Jesus Christ by tagging moral messages on….legally allowed areas.  I’m sure graffiti purists at this point may be clutching their computer screens or tablets screaming, “NO! IT DOES NOT COUNT AS GRAFFITI IF IT’S ON LEGAL WALLS!!”  But if looks like graffiti and is on walls like graffiti, the public will just assume it’s graffiti regardless of the ramifications.  But a part of me wonders, at what point does this become propaganda?

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I mean, street art also makes an impact in other countries in looking for change in their government.  Look no further than the Berlin Wall, where most of the graffiti was on the western side describing the need for freedom in East Berlin from the U.S.S.R.   Graffiti has become a very common form of protesting against authority, especially in the Middle East.  In Egypt, the large youth-driven populace began to protest against the ruling military regime that ran the country, mainly by tagging city walls.  This enabled citizens to be aware of political ideologies within the country.  In Tehran, graffiti has been attributed to the youth underground that has to hide itself.  Under the rule of Ahmadinejad, the religious police have been under strict control to rid the city of youth rebellion.  In all of these cases, it seems with the right words, any piece of graffiti can instantly become a piece of propaganda to influence the minds and hearts of the people.

So say what you will about street art.  It’s a medium that is utterly confusing to understand yet makes complete sense to those that make it.  Try as you might though, it will never be suppressed for very long; Mayor Lindsay tried, Ahmadinejad tried, governments all over the world tried but every time they fail to destroy the graffiti movement.  It is the voice of the people in times of change.  It may embody what we fear to give actual voice to.  Whether we like it or not, graffiti will never go away completely, not as long as something need to be said.

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The Mourning of Atticus Finch

My favorite quote in the whole world came from one of my friends in high school.  He looked at me one day and said, “I like books.  They also make great helmets.”  I naturally thought this was just a funny joke for being so ridiculous.  However as time has gone on, I’ve begun to analyze this little statement and have come to the conclusion that books do not only make great helmets but the very best of helmets and I’ll tell you why.

All the knowledge and experience contained in all the stories of all the books ever written have helped mankind get closer to understanding what it exactly means to be human.  Mr. Machiavelli says that men often tread the path most common and so we imitate those whom we admire.  Stories are who we are, who we once were, and what we can hope to be.  They show us how we can change.  With knowledge can one be better equipped to face the challenges of nature and make better educated choices.  From the stories of famous heroes and the downfalls of others can we make a choice of what we inherently believe to be right and wrong.  You don’t have to agree with a story to learn from it.  With the lessons learned from books can every man defend himself honorably, see the world justly, and know his personal identity.

So where am I going with this?  I’m sure lots of people have heard of books being banned in schools, libraries, and states across the country for content that is disagreeable or going against morality.  One of the largest forefronts of this is the Christian Coalition who say that books that have sex, vulgarity, violence, and other profane subjects should not be exposed to America’s children.  Don’t get me wrong, I would NOT give a 7 year-old Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  That would be stupid.  However, you shouldn’t get rid of it as a whole because of the fear that your child might get a hold of it.  However, required school readings set many conservative parents and individuals into a frenzy.  Any story that has any one of the few “immoral” attributes I’ve already listed above is come under scrutiny and have been taken off the the reading curriculum and even the school libraries.  Of the many books already banned from schools, some of them are:

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford (yes, this has been a banned book!)

1984 by George Orwell

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Now while I could argue the case for all of these books, I feel the need to defend Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  I first read this novel in my AP English class and besides Steinbeck, it was the best thing I read that year.  The book has been recently banned in Louisiana school districts because of it’s racist content and the fear that it might spread “white supremacy”.  Yes, it contains racist content but it’s a look into history.  This was before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s so the treatment of African Americans are going to be pretty sketchy.  Have these people not looked in a history book recently?  The commonness of racism is enough to make you sick, portraying it as some sort of disease.  It should not inspire feelings of white supremacy.  If it does, the professor has probably done a terrible job teaching the book in the first place.  But like any book, there are multiple themes going on.  Racism is the main theme but there are also motifs on class structure, gender, hypocrisy, the call for respect, and deindividuation (it’s a word! look it up!).  I’m just amazed and aghast that the people that have had read To Kill a Mockingbird object against it because of it’s racial overtones.   Were they not aware of Atticus Finch?  He is openly opposed to racism in the book!  He’s the one character that everyone likes because of his strong sense of morals!  He constantly tells his children and others:

  • “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” (Ch. 3)
  • “You can’t go around making caricatures of the neighbors.” (ch.8)
  • “When a child asks you something, answer him for goodness’ sake.  But don’t make a production of it.  Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles them.  […]  Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with them when they learn they’re not attracting attention with it.  Hotheadedness isn’t.” (ch.9)
  • “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” (Ch. 11)

These are just a few examples, but there is no denying that this story is relevant to the way we can grow as people.  It’s not as if racism has escaped our times as well either.  We still have to deal with that.  To ban books like this is not only setting us back to prejudice and ignorance, but is a strict limitation on our first amendment rights of free speech.  Every author that writes a story is putting a little bit of themselves in the dialogue or the actions or the overall ideas portrayed.  To ban a book is to kill that universe of ideas that let the reader learn a little bit more about themselves.  With banning books, we are silencing Atticus from telling us to respect one another, killing Piggy before he even has a chance to be the voice of reason, and making sure Harry Potter never survives as “the boy who lived” to inspire our sense of worth to the world.

I guess I’ve talked a lot about this, but I just can’t help it.  Books mean a lot to me.  And so I conclude affirming the statement that I put forward at the beginning:

“I like books.  They also make great helmets”

                             –Nicholas “Nicholock Holmes” Beall

 

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