Sunday, February 29, 2004

Citizens! To the Printing Presses!

The federal government [...] has warned publishers they may face grave legal consequences for editing manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy.

Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace "inappropriate words," according to several advisory letters from the Treasury Department in recent months.

Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed.

This is just the latest part of a disturbing trend in anti-intellectualism that this administration seems to have embraced wholeheartedly. From the shoehorning of science to fit their ideiologies (when they donít just ignore it all together) to the blatant and easily refuted lies that contradict widely known facts, BushCo. has repeadedly and shamelessly attempted to undermine all forms of thought, research and expression that do not conform with their narrow views by labelling it as treason. And more to the point, George Bush seems to hate anyone smarter than him, which, as we all know is just about everyone. So if he canít win in an honest battle of the wits, heíll simply make us all witless.

So what if a researcher in Iran comes up with a new innovative Cancer treatment? Are we suposed to dismiss it as ìJunk Terrorist Scienceî? What if a North Korean expat living in France writes the next great novel illuminating the suffering if his native land? Do we write it off as ìTerrorist Propaganda,î close our eyes and plug our ears and pretend it doesnít exist because it wasnít written by a White Christian?

Because really, thatís what this ammounts to, censorship of forign and ethnic ideas. It will never work of course. Because if it isnít published here, itíll be published in Canada, or Great Britain and then we can just order it through Or weíll start an underground printing press, smuggling foriegn manuscripts into the country and printing them in our garages and handing them out on street corners in the middle of the night.

BushCo. will have to burn down the printing presses and shut off the internet to stop these ideas form reaching our shores. And donít think they wouldnít try. Because the next amendment he backs will be the one repealing our right to read and think for ourselves, and itíll be called the Freedom of the Press Amendment.

maybe I'm over reacting. maybe I'm fuming fust to fume. Or maybe our leaders are trying to drag us back to the Dark Ages. I'd like to think they wouldn't be that dim witted but the sheer lack of luminosity of their thoughts never ceases to amaze me. I'm convinced, now more than ever that Bush would declare the world flat again if he thought their was some politcal ground to be gained form it.

~from Corrente, Making Light and others.


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