A pox on all bans and censorship!

CENSORSHIP! BANS! Words you can’t say in polite society! I HATE all that crap — and I always have.

As a retired newspaper reporter, I always found secrecy about the facts very annoying. As a child, I was highly annoyed when my mother would get mad at my reading some of the magazines that renters at our motel would leave behind. Like true detective magazines. Or Playboy. Or the like. If she found any in my possession, she would take them away and destroy them, and give me a good ass-chewing about reading such stuff.

It didn’t “break me” of my attraction to them. I remember a pool hall in downtown Madison when I was a kid, run by two brothers named Geile. They kept a large stock of such magazines for sale. I would go in there occasionally, to look over the stuff. If I stood there for very long, leafing through them, the old man who worked behind the counter would come over, snatch the magazine out of my hand, and growl, “Get outta here, kid! We don’t want no kids in here!” BUT, if I was lucky enough to have enough money in my jeans to buy one of the magazines, and took one off the rack and over to the counter, the old dude was more than happy to take my cash, and make the sale.

Then I would hide the magazine under my jacket (don’t remember how I concealed them in the summer), take it home, and hide it somewhere in my bedroom. And do some breathless pouring over it late at night, after my folks had gone to bed. Of course, Mom would find the magazines, sooner or later, confiscate them, and give me some more unshirted hell about having them. Which only meant I’d be even more careful about hiding the next magazine.

Then there was my use of four-letter language, which Mom ALSO didn’t like. I remember once saying a cuss word in front of her, and she dragged me over to the lavatory in our kitchen, grabbed a bar of old brown laundry soap there, held it under the faucet, then rammed it into my mouth, doing a back-and-forth scrubbing motion as she shouted, “This is what we do to little boys who talk dirty!”

But again, I just learned not to cuss within hearing of Mom any more. Didn’t STOP swearing. I almost never heard Dad utter a swear word — until years later, after Mom had passed away. Then he began using the language he had heard around the farm when he was growing up. As a man who had worked with Dad told me years later, “He could cuss the hinges off a door!” Guess he kept his language “clean” around me because he knew Mom didn’t want me to hear that language.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make with all that ancient history — MY history — is that, you can BAN things, you can warn kids not to cuss “or else,” you can raise the legal drinking ages in all 50 states to 21 — but unless you have so many police and military people that you can have one to watch each and every American, 24/7, you can’t FORCE people not to swear, or not to drink before 21, or not to read adult-oriented magazines (or watch adult-oriented DVDs) when they’re “too young.” “Ban” things before people are “old enough,” and you’re creating “forbidden fruit.” You’re encouraging young people, especially, to try to “get away” with things.

Speaking of “words” that are “verboten” (as the Germans would say), not all of them are like “fuck,” or “shit,” or “goddamn.” I do try to avoid that last one nowadays. Anyway, we’ve gotten oh, so touchy about a word that used to be in fairly common usage — especially in the South. Yes, I’m talking about “nigger.” That slang term for “black,” “African American,” “colored,” whatever. The horror of the “nigger” word has been artificially ginned up in recent years by liberal Whites and militant blacks who want to intimidate White Americans who don’t agree with them politically — maybe on racial matters, too — into being afraid to express their views. This, in a nation which has a First Amendment about free speech. But of course, blacks can call White people “honkeys,” “ofays,” “rednecks,” or any other slur they want, as often as they want. And Mexicans call us “gringos,” too. But don’t you dare call a Mexican a “wetback” or a “spick,” or you’re then a horrible WHITE RACIST!

And of course, I also detest censorship of movies, “blurring out” of faces and “bleeping” of four-letter language in the numerous TV “Live PD” type shows nowadays, and other things like that.

As I said, I hate censorship, bans, whatever you want to call them. My motto, if I had one, would be, “Let it all hang out!”


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