The Best Thing I’ve Written This Week….

The best thing I’ve written this week is not here, but in fact over at the literature site Fantasy Matters.  They asked me to write an essay for banned books week, and what came out was an intensely personal piece on parenting, the danger of books, and the need to manage censorship properly.

A sample is thus:

One cannot help but think about censorship when you’re showing your sixteen-year-old daughter rape scenes.

Not that I set out to show her rape; we were simply playing our usual summer challenge of “What movie should I have seen by now?”  Whenever my daughter Amy stayed for the summer, she would call me over to our voluminous library of DVDs so I would help further her cinematic education.

“Well, what are you in the mood for?” I’d ask, and choose a significant movie that she should have watched by now – from the bureaucratic nightmare of Brazil to the comfort watching of Princess Bride to the hard-edged romance-meets-reality of Casablanca.  Then we’d discuss what was interesting about the movie — the approaches to character, plot choices, and of course the history of the production, with constant lookups on IMDB.

For the past week, we’d been on a Stanley Kubrick kick – she’d despised The Shining, liked Full Metal Jacket, and so I said that really, no showing of Kubrick could be complete without watching A Clockwork Orange.

…which I did not remember being quite so rapetastic.  I remembered violence, certainly, and scenes of sexual assault, but I didn’t remember them as being this brutal and explicit and extended.  This was far ahead of what I was comfortable showing her.

Should I stop the movie?  Should I censor this, and move to another film?

Should I have ever let her see it at all?

The rest of it is here, and if you like it when I get introspective, I’d encourage you to check it out.

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