14 10 2005

The best censorship is the kind you do yourself.

Like I could comment on the fact that, at our honor assembly, Geoff spoke, at one point the importance of respecting everyone. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes that “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.” Therefore if we are to respect everyone, that is to say give a complacent acceptance of their ideologies and views, we are not loving someone. Christianity teaches that we should “love your neighbor” – that this is not simply to respect them, but to support them. I understand that Geoff entirely meant this, he meant we should love our neighbors, etc, etc. But I just want to emphasize how difficult it is to truly love your neighbors, to love your enemies. To help them, to understand their interests, to be connected to them is love. And if we are merely going to respect them, to simply acknowledge their existence, then we are failing to truly love our neighbors, which is more difficult, but ultimately more enriching goal.

That probably shouldn’t make the cut. That probably was a waste of space. But they’re my thoughts. And I at one point, I thought that my thoughts were what channel16 was all about.

How much can I write in fifteen minutes? What are the words’ value? Did you know that this particular arrangement of 26 characters formed into words which are selected from a vocabulary of 120,000 has never been created before? That it is unique? The first time you really realize this, the first time you’re not stuck writing what everyone else is in the class, it strikes you that (1) it’s original, (2) it represents part of who you are and are capable of, and (3) that what you write has an obligation to being good – you hold it to some standard.

So far I’ve hit one hundred words, though by writing this line I’ve certainly added to it. Words by themselves are as meaningless as randomly organized characters. We, as living beings, inscribe onto these 120,000 to 250,000 words certain connotation, certain meanings. In sophomore year we spent three months revising one paper on the definition of ‘honor’. What does it mean? Who decides honor? What must an honorable act be about, what is one like? Why do we believe in the concept of honor? Part of the answers to these questions lie in the word’s etymology, but the central core to this definition – is where does the universal concept which everyone understands as ‘honor’, even in other cultures, other languages, derive its meaning?

Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it a Jungian universal unconscious? Is it melded into history books and literature? Where is it?

I’ve run out of time, written two hundred fifty words, to which there may or may not be meaning. But it’s there, they are my words, and they are now alive, this belief, these questions, my personal conclusions are all now a part of me. And the strange thing is, I don’t know whether they were alive or not before I wrote them down.

I wrote that this yesterday, before the Honors Assembly today. It was what I was thinking, just a free writing, see what it is that will come to my mind, force-myself to-write exercise. I understand that it might come across as arrogant as in, “look what I can do in fifteen minutes”. But its not intended to be. I just set a time limit. Well the school did really, I had to make on time to F block AP Government, you know! But nonetheless, my free thoughts almost didn’t make the cut.

“Trust is belief without reason, knowledge is belief supported by reason, and with love you have both, because as Pascal wrote, ‘the heart has reasons that reason does not know’ “

I wrote that a few weeks ago in an instant messenger conversation with an SMES student. Again, I personally liked what I had said, but I felt that it did not quite make the ‘channel16 cut’. Believe it or not, we are limited in what we can say and do. Believe it or not, one student (not me) has begun a blog to post ‘controversial’ SMES student writing. Believe it or not, I can’t generally write about exactly how I feel on politcal issue for fear that I might alienate you, the audience. I don’t enjoy offending people, I derive no sense of pleasure in doing so. But for this ‘quote’, I felt that it simply was too contrived to make it onto my blog. But again, I’ve realized that, like most teenagers, some of what I say comes out as contrived, and because channel16 is intended to be a virtual extension of me, Kevin, a teenager’s contrived words might come out now and then.

No Regrets
By – The Community

What’s done is done,
But the end has just begun,
For some believe,
That school is a we,
And not just a him and a she,
It’s time we see,
That we cannot be,

You stood your ground,
Took a student down,
But some will see,
Some still believe,
That you’ll end it alone,
You threw the first stone,

No blood was shed,
No man left dead,
Only a life forever changed,
And we saw you lock his chains,
You plunged in the cold knife,
A checkmate move on life.

I wrote that towards the end of last year, feeling upset at what I had felt was the school’s overreaction to the actions of one student in my class. He was subsequently expelled. Now I have distance from the event and slightly more understanding – for example, the College Board could have revoked all AP test scores. However, I still feel a bit bitter that such a student can make one error and have so much collapse. Again, this was edited out because I don’t think that (1) it is all that well written and (2) that it is controversial and may incite some administration at the time. However, I don’t mean to offend any SMES administration, rather a critique furthering what other students have called the dissolution of the community – a separation of faculty, administration, and students. Like Johnny and others, I should probably preface that poem with ‘I don’t mean to offend’, which to me is another form of self-censorship.

This being a compilation of deleted works that have been pushed aside, you probably would have been better off not reading it. But maybe you enjoyed it. Maybe you like seeing the parts of me I don’t frequently let out. I don’t know my audience very well, every once in a while someone who I rarely talk to will speak to me about my blog seemingly out of nowhere. It’s refreshing to know people read this. I don’t mean that in any conceited way, but it’s nice to think that perhaps, just maybe, I’ve spoken to the truths and touched on things that people are interested in.

Censorship is something that we do all the time, not editing, but cautious censorship of oneself. The trick to good writing, perhaps, is speaking to the truth in a way people will enjoy it.



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