Monday, October 25, 2004

Literature is inescapably political. . . . It is in the act of reading that we define our notions about the world, what we judge to be right or wrong, important or unimportant, acceptable or unacceptable; literature is the testing ground of the imagination, where we decide who we are and what sort of society we live in or should be living in. You tell me your favorite novelists and I'll tell you whom you vote for, or whether you vote at all.
-- Stephen Vizinczey

I'm always rather stunned when people reject a previously loved author or entertainer once they discover his or her political views are at odds with their own. The hatred directed at the Dixie Chicks last year was downright frightening--especially since so much of it was provoked and then encouraged by corporate radio with ties to the Bush administration and family.

Yet I've noticed that my favorites generally do seem to share my beliefs; I suppose we are naturally drawn to those like us without our having to consciously seek them out. It's those who relate to authors or entertainers in one area and cannot stand the cognitive dissonance in having their favorites differ from them in another who sputteringly bemoan the fact that these, these celebrities won't practice self-censorship and spare them from their awful opinions. First amendment rights aren't pretty unless put into practice by their own side.

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