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 Thoughts on Censorship Inspired by Egyptian revolt and Ginsberg's "Howl"26 comments
picture picture 4 Feb 2011 @ 04:40
Events like the current revolt in Egypt-- with its government's initial censorship and attempt to close-off avenues of communication by "the opposition" (although how "the people" become "the opposition" to those chosen (or not) to represent them is always beyond me)-- seem to offer the sides of other governments and other oppositions the opportunity to strategize end-arounds and think-ahead on how to avoid pitfalls toward victory in their own future skirmishes.

A recent viewing of the 2010 film "Howl", focusing on the obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, publisher of Allen Ginsberg's famed poem, offers some insight on censorship of its own.

I put it to you that substitution of the word or concept of "freedom" being on trial here, anywhere "obscenity" or "censorship" appears in the following, might put a more immediate spin on this depiction of continual attempts to limit God-given rights, additionally delineated in the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

"Every word in this film was spoken by the actual people portrayed," reads a card prior to the film's opening.

Cutting to the quick, I offer up some of the closing remarks, summarizing this landmark censorship/obscenity case; those of Jake Ehrlich (as portrayed by Jon Hamm), Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban) and Allen Ginsberg (James Franco). These are followed with links to websites where portions of the actual court transcript may be found. It is clear that while the dialogue lifted from the film is accurate to that read in the transcript, at points it is condensed, and certain additional passages have been removed for the sake of brevity and/or effect.

(Ginsberg defense attorney, also, according to Wikipedia, said to be the model for television's Perry Mason) Jake Ehrlich:

"The United States Supreme Court has said that obscenity is construed to mean having a substantial tendency to corrupt by arousing lustful desires. Is the word relevant to what the author is trying to say, or did he just use it to be dirty and filthy."...

"There are books that have the power to change men's minds, and call attention to situations that are visible, but unseen. Now whether "Howl" is or is not obscene is of little importance, to our world, faced as it is with physical survival. But the problem of what is legally permissible, in the description of sexual acts or feelings in arts and literature is of the greatest importance to a free society.

What is prurient? And to whom? The material so described is dangerous to some unspecified susceptible reader. It is interesting that the person applying such standards of censorship rarely feels as if their own physical or moral health is in jeopardy. The desire to censor is not limited to crackpots and bigots; there is in most of us a desire to make the world conform to our own views. And it takes all of the force of our own reason, as well as our legal institutions to defy so human an urge.

The battle of censorship will not be finally settled by your honor's decision, but you will either add to liberal educated thinking, or by your decision you will add fuel to the fire of ignorance. Let there by light. Let there be honesty. Let there be no running form non-existent destroyers of morals. Let there be honest understanding."

Judge Clayton Horn:

"In considering material claimed to be obscene it is well to remember the motto -- honi soit qui mal y pense --'Evil to him, who evil thinks.'"

(from the transcript) "Therefore, I conclude the book "Howl and Other Poems" does have some redeeming social importance, and I find the book is not obscene.

The defendant is found not guilty."

Allen Ginsberg:

"The poem is misinterpreted as a promotion of homosexuality. Actually it's more like promotion of... frankness... about any subject... When a few people are frank about homosexuality in public it breaks the ice, and then people are free to be frank about anything. And that's socially useful.

Homosexuality is a condition. And because it alienated me or set me apart from the beginning, it served as a catalyst for self-examination. Or detailed realization of my environment, and the reasons why everyone else is different. And why I am different."

For more from the official court transcript and/or by other accounts:

Transcript Link 1

Transcript Link 2

And so it seems the ongoing historical tug-of-war-- between those fighting to limit the expressions of others and those fighting for the free expression of all-- continues.

For my part-- it is all God, all part of the Oneness, all what makes a horse race, and if I don't like it, I can exercise my right to steer away from "it"... whatever "it" is... so long as "it" is taken on by the consenting (and where appropriate and necessary, adults), without being perpetuated on the unwilling or unsuspecting.

It is my sincere heartfelt wish that that those buttinski's in the world and their legacy of control, manipulation, oppression... which they attempt to justify and rationalize under so many banners, credos, traditions... and especially under severely limited interpretations and the hubris of determining for others what "divine will" might be... finally, for once and for all, accord others the same degree of freedom of expressionthey demand for themselves.

I end with Ginsberg own manifesto of the holiness of all things, excerpted from "Howl and Other Poems".

"Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody's holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity!
Everyman's an angel!
The bum's as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy
the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac
holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady
holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars
holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum!
Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse!
Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace & junk & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements!
Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions!
Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middle class!
Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion!
Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle
Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time
holy the clocks in space
holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth
International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive
holy the visions holy the hallucinations
holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith!
Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!"

David Bartholomew
originator-- The One World Flag-- an international symbol of diversity

"Honoring the Talents, Abilities and Uniqueness in Each of Us, as Strengths that can Benefit All of Us."
"... because we have more in common as a world, than we have differences between nations."

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 Everyone is Allowed… One: a Rant for Those Who Missed the Point of 9/118 comments
picture 11 Sep 2008 @ 07:27
[In attempts to provide a “fair and balanced” side to this eternally optimistic warehouse of writings, I take my first opportunity to really Rant! as the anniversary of 9/11 looms in the air, the heads of at least half of us continue to be stuck in the sand (or somewhere else where the sun doesn’t shine), we still consent to the ridiculous practice of having drinking water taken away from us at the airport in the name of “national security” and more. Consider this the equivalent of the old practice of taking your car out on the highway once in a while, “punching it” and really clearing/blowing out the carbeurator of all its caked-on gook. Upon completion of this we will return you to your regularly scheduled smiling "Cheerleader for Humanity"]

The approach to the anniversary of 9/11 is the time of year when, for the last eight years, people have traditionally stumbled upon the One World Flag, in the seeking out of “a bigger flag to fly”; that is-- some tangible representation of that higher ideal they embrace which, sadly, doesn’t seem to have yet taken hold in the majority.

The most impassioned heart-testimonials arrive from those brave enough to continue to entrain to this larger idea-- of the possibility within us all-- rather than get “sucked back” down to the lower vibration contracted unto by those who would give away their discernment and personal power, and those who gladly continue to take and use that. These higher-minded compassionate beings are the truly embattled and discriminated minority, more in alignment with the persecuted, right-minded indigenous ones throughout the history of the world, than their “Taker” oppressors (as defined by Daniel Quinn in his “Ishamel”-- please read it).

The “reality of what is”; the neverending wars with unseen enemies toward undefined objectives; the constant barefoot reminders of the color-coded need to “fear the faceless other”, relinquish all drinking water and any shampoo or lotion in excess of 3 fluid ounces, and continue to give personal power away to the benevolent institutional/ corporate/presidential/religious father figures of the day… is as lost on “us”…  More >

 Our Work Here in this Life... is to Be Happy.5 comments
picture picture 14 Aug 2008 @ 19:26
That's not some hackneyed cliché' that just wants to roll off the tongue because I don't have any real thought to add. It is my core belief, instilled in me in a perfect moment on a swingset as a kid (and probably much before that), and honed in 48 years of personal work on the planet. This is basically the ingrained knowledge I came in to share, and its time to be expressed seems to be now.

There is a balance to what I will say here, but I will swing the pendulum far enough beyond center, to the side opposite and of a measure equal to countering the doom-and-gloom that well-meaning "cause people" have swung it to the other.

I love cause people. I have been and continue to be one. But I feel a reframing of our outlook has been in order for quite a while. So here goes.

All of this is Illusion. All of it is material we have co-created, along with Spirit… to work with, in order to learn all the lessons we signed on for... most of which can be boiled down to... Our Work Here in this Life... is to Be Happy.

Yes we know we care. No we don't want the Earth to be trashed, species to be rendered extinct, people not honored fully for who they are, treated fairly, etc. No, I am not saying, "Stop the good work you are doing."

But I am saying-- if you continue to do this good work, and the things that good people do-- do it from perhaps a different perspective, that can be developed out of the following questions:
  • Do you trust God/dess, the Creative force of the Universe, so little... to think that all is not handled?
  • Do you think there is no Sacred Witness watching over others, such as has watched over you-- patiently holding the space for each of us to choose and act rightly in any given situation... working ourselves toward choosing rightly (my definition: choosing the thought or act that holds the most Light, highest Vibration, etc., as we all know deeply within ourselves how that looks and feels)?
  • Do you think that any well-intended word or action on anyone's part... could have caused us to act, think or choose differently... prior to our time of being ready to do so?
  • If we can pull back and truly witness Life as this Matrix or Star Trek Next Generation Holodeck or Stage Play or Virtual Reality Video Game, where the entirety of the experience is fabricated out of nothingness, and simply part of the program we choose to run each time out-- consenting to playing our part in this virtual creation... can't we then reframe some of our angst and urgency that all is not as it should be?  More >