So some of you might expect me to write some grand angry treatise on the true nature of Thanksgiving — but that’s so 2006, or whenever it was that Christopher Columbus fell out of favor, along with the whole of American exceptionalism.
Alas, my days of futile indignation are behind me. Now, I rest peacefully amid the declining American empire, knowing that our actions will be repaid in kind. Because despite it all — despite my impregnable critical nature — it is precisely because of any scant wisdom accrued over my 30 years that I can look back on human history and witness, with hindsight, the glorious foible that our race is, and that the United States of America is just another iteration of centralized power among thousands, the vast majority of which were vastly more brutal.
Which is to say, progress is being made, and we should take note of it, or we do put ourselves at risk of being thankful for nothing, when there is in fact a lot to be thankful for.
Like literature. We live in a country in which literally anything can be said — i.e. we can say anything — without fear of legal and direct retaliation at the hands of our government. Yes, Trump poses opposition to some of the values, but our system has yet to be — and here I’ll repeat the word in symbolic repetition from its use earlier in this post — impregnated by forces for despotism. The written word plays a large role in this struggle. (In fact, now that I’ve totally spontaneously thought about it, our first Dead Rabbits podcast covers some of this ground. So be sure to check us out on Facebook!)
Censorship is far from a partisan issue. Sure, it’s easy to stay nearsighted and point to the Trump administration’s disdain for the liberal media. But let’s not forget that this is an impulse that all walks of life succumb to, deriving from a basic tendency for people who can’t control their emotions to try and control the actions of others affecting them. Remember that literature’s ugliness can be just as instructional as its beauty. We need to be thankful that we haven’t banned even the worst titles, such as Mein Kampf, precisely because they offer further insight into atrocities that we’d sure like to prevent moving forward. This isn’t to say that we should seek these books out for publication or even shame-by-exposure, but by banning them, rather than engaging with ultimately faulty ideas and value systems, we’re pretending they never existed, whose negligence only allows for history to repeat itself.
I hope to have more on censorship in my next newsletter, in which I plan to juxtapose Trump’s attempts to silence liberal media with the YA publishing industry’s ‘sensitivity reader’, whose existence poses an excellent question about balancing the free realm of fiction with our inexorable progress toward inclusivity and diversity of perspective.
Again, be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram (@deadrabbitsbooks), and Twitter (@deadrabbitsBKS). Along with the first episode of our podcast, we’re this close to launching our website. In addition, we’ve officially signed on with JKS Communications for publicity, recently finished developmental edits on the novel (thanks to George Sawaya and Cheyenne Taylor, who will take the reigns on copy edits), and are working furiously to set up Dead Rabbits satellite reading series in Seattle, Baltimore, Little Rock, and possibly Albany!