When we are like Anne

“Despite everything, I believe people are good at heart.”

I’m so glad Anne Frank could believe this.  It’s a testament to her own goodness.  It is not a testament to human nature itself, though.  It tells us more about Anne than it does about ourselves.

I don’t believe it.  I don’t attribute my disbelief to my own goodness, but to what I have seen of humanity, including what was going on around Anne, after the fact, and would like to say, You know what?  People are still very eager to do away with other people who are not like them.

Anne, you are a beautiful star.

But people? In general?  They are not.

When we are exceptional, when we see those unlike us as ourselves, despite our differences, THEN we are as beautiful as Anne.

When we are unable to do that?  We are ugly, inhumane, and disturbing.

I speak about this in relationship to the writing of fiction.  Is it worthwhile to speak of that which is good about us?

It is.

But there is a stronger push against, a resistance, to writers who speak about our ugliness, that which is disgusting in human nature.  And the more we resist it, the more I wish to represent our ugliness.

It should not be forgotten.

It should be the thing about which we are most uncomfortable.

It should be the thing we talk about more than anything.

Until we have done away with it.

Then, let us speak of our goodness, as Anne would.  But when our goodness has been won, an earned virtue.

Okay, we can speak  of our goodness, which we would not want to lose.

But not at the expense of acknowledging that which comprises our darkness.

Otherwise, we are living within an ideal, what we would like to think about ourselves, not about reality.

And even when we write fantasy, we should be speaking to reality.  The reality of the story.

Otherwise, we are making ourselves feel good about ourselves without reason.

Earn it.

That’s all.

Earn it.

Fail, fail again.

UPDATED at bottom

Apparently since February, Amazon.com has been de-ranking books that are gay-themed in some way, thus basically making them unsearchable as titles on the site, and taking them out of the view of potential readers.  I don’t have the “facts” on this, but it does seem to be true.  There are many titles on their site that have no ranking and they are all oriented to homosexuality in some way.  Some of these books that have been de-ranked are classics and modern classics.  It’s one of the most absurd and “no way” inducing occurrences I’ve witnessed, and it’s causing quite an outrage, at least in the blogosphere, which I hope forces this company to make a statement about this not so easily swept under the rug “glitch,” which I’m sure they will attempt to call it once enough backlash reaches their doors.

Yes, this is America, home of the free.

Not.

This is 1950s censorship rising up in an internet age guise.  Recognize this stuff when you see it, and don’t just shake your head and say, wow, that’s terrible.  It’s a silencing that is occurring right before our eyes, and without enough voices to rail against it, the offenders get away with it.  

Last month it was Race Fail. This is being called Amazon fail, on the Twitter boards.  Why not Gay Fail, like Race Fail?  I don’t know.  But there you have it.  Failure, failure, failure, any way you look at it.  Unless enough people push back to turn a failure into a success.

You can sign an online petition against this by clicking here.

Or simply go to Amazon’s contact page and write them a letter denouncing this sort of behavior.

You can read a better article about it here, which includes a sample list of books that have been deranked, as well as a list of books that haven’t been deranked.  Apparently this deranking is being done under the premise that these books are “adult”.  Well, then.  Why hasn’t Playboy been deranked?  And a lot more hot and bothered hetero-oriented materials?

Let’s hope it’s rectified.  But I don’t think anything they’ll say will really explain this in a satisfying, completely believable manner.

CNET news has a good lowdown on the event here.

All that said, my logical faculties still can’t believe that this would be purposeful.  It just seems so stupid.

Telling Lies to the Young Is Wrong

I came across this poem in the comments section of Justine Larbalestier’s blog, posted there by Chris McClaren, and had to steal it to post over here as well.  It’s just too good, and sums up my feelings in recent years about how we should teach our children and ourselves to look at the world.

TELLING LIES TO THE YOUNG IS WRONG

Telling lies to the young is wrong.
Proving to them that lies are true is wrong.
Telling them that God’s in his heaven
and all’s well with the world is wrong.
The young know what you mean. The young are people.
Tell them the difficulties can’t be counted
and let them see not only what will be
but see with clarity these present times
Say obstacles exist they must encounter,
sorrow happens, hardship happens.
The hell with it. Who never knew
the price of happiness will not be happy.
Forgive no error you recognize,
it will repeat itself, increase,
and afterwards our pupils
will not forgive in us what we forgave.

–Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Talk about something coming back to haunt

Reading this story from the New York Times about the woman who resigned from her dean of admissions post at M.I.T. after it was leaked by someone she never received a Bachelor’s Degree oh, about thirty years ago, which is required for her job, and which she seemed to have lied about having years ago, made me think it’s a realist novel concerning the gray area of situations like this one waiting to happen, trying to tackle workplace ethics in relation to someone who seems to have also done a whole lot of good, if those quoted can be assumed to be valid.