Agreed. Very well put. I especially like:
"Art has to be left alone as it was created. There it is, for whatever it
is, the product of a person's brain and being. If it has value, a message,
then good. But it should not be altered for convenience, for Political
Correctness, for fashion, for changing times. For no reason do others have
the right to re-do someone's art."
Looking at this then looking back at my bloated and meandering response, I
realize that nothing more than this should need to be said in a society that
claims to treasure the value of free expression.
Which includes, by the way, an obligation to understand the great value of
receiving -- and being offended by -- that very expression.
Huh? Value in being offended? Absolutely. There are at least two ways to
respond to things we find offensive. We can give the limbic system free
reign, which sends us down a path of righteous indignation, anger,
defensiveness, fear, polarization, and finally violence. Gribben's solution
is a Rube Goldberg-esque stopgap against that common response. Or we can
engage the frontal lobe to intercept and interpret that emotional response.
Answering the "Why does that offend me?" question helps us to understand
ourselves and our world in a way that enables the kind of classroom -- and
societal -- environment many who've posted here have wished for. This kind
of self-awareness can be taught, but, as Gribben has discovered, it's a
whole lot easier to just do a search and replace, tack on a few
fine-sounding paragraphs to justify your abdication, and go deposit your
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ron Owens
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 9:55 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Thank you, Kit!
Kit, I have read each Forum response to this act of censorship, and have
waited for a definitive answer such as you've provided. From the beginning
I've been enraged over what Mr. Gribben has done and have believed it to be
a blatant surrendering of scholarship. It was the same rage I felt years
ago when I saw the director of art I worked for, after a complaint from a
parent, using markers to place halters on all the Gauguin Tahitian women in
an art book. You have so well articulated for me what I felt. I am sending
your response to my son who is the Vice Provost and also director of the
writing center he formed at St. John's in Queens. He collects gems like
-- Ron O. in Elmira