Jump to content, Jump to navigation.

Amber Paulen

On Thought

So again, it comes down to this: you accept the majority, the mob, and its decisions, or you don’t. You bow down before the Vox populi, vox Dei, or you plug your ears not to hear its obscene howl. You perform your antics to please the vast public, Deus ex machina, or you refuse to perform for the public at all, unless now and then to pull its elephantine and ignominious leg.

When it comes to the meaning of anything even the simplest word, then you must pause. Because there are two great categories of meaning, for ever separate. There is mob-meaning, and there is individual meaning.

—DH Lawrence in Pornography and Obscenity

Thinking as I do, feeling as I do, about war, I would nevertheless refuse to destroy books dealing with the manufacture of poison gases or the creation of destructive bacteria, or any other of the fiendish inventions of the military-minded; I would not destroy books dealing with military strategy or with the rules and conventions governing “civilized” warfare. On the contrary, I would wish to see the distribution and circulation of all such literature increased. I would have children informed as to these matters as well as grown-ups. I would have every man, woman and child throughout the land become as familiar with these words as they are supposed to be with the Holy Bible. I would go yet further. I would put the Bible on one shelf and all this homicidal literature on another shelf. I would say: If you look at the one, then you must look at the other also. I would make a clean cleavage between the book in which it is commanded not to kill and all the other books in which human slaughter, slaughter en masse, is taught, explained, approved and exemplified. I would divide family against family, brother against brother, on this single question. Act according to your conscience, I would urge. Either its going to be one world or no world before long. If you are for the world of death, enlist in it immediately! Do not confound us with your indecision. Do not speak of morality if your ultimate aim is to collaborate in the destruction of the world.

—Henry Miller in Obscenity in Literature, written to the French in response to the ban of Sexus


·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·