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JCC I Have an Actual Moral Dilemma

Discussion in 'Community' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    This is not a joke. It seems trivial probably, but I am genuinely struggling with my moral responsibility here.

    I'll attempt to be brief.

    I am in ownership of a book that I read years ago and found to be one of the most reprehensible, misanthropic, hateful pieces of literature I've ever encountered. I kept the book because I genuinely felt moral qualms about releasing it into the world. Yes, it's only one copy, but if I throw it away or donate it to a bookstore or something, that is one more copy of this hateful book that someone might encounter.

    I'm tired of owning it. I found it the other day and I don't like having it in my possession anymore. I don't want to keep it. I feel weird about getting rid of it. I could destroy it, but then I'm a "book burner" and I've always been very anti-censorship. I feel like you're either a person who thinks "art" can be destroyed because of its ideas or you're not. I'm not. So, my problem is that I'm caught in a trilemma in which every option is morally problematic.

    Should I:

    a. keep the book
    b. disseminate the book
    c. destroy the book

    Discuss.
     
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  2. Boba_Fett_2001

    Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Post a review of it.
     
  3. Rogue_Ten

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 18, 2002
    WHAT'S IN THE BOOK?! what's in the boooooookkkkk?
     
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  4. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 14, 2004
    you could bury it. or shred it and turn it into a dog.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    If this book is readily available online, I don't think your harboring or destroying it will make a difference. I think if it were me I'd probably tear the pages out and put them into the recycling bin. That way you get rid of it and the discard does some good as different paper.
     
  6. Asplundhe

    Asplundhe Jedi Padawan star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 29, 2016
    that's an interesting dilemma. i could never burn a book or destroy a piece of art because it rubbed me the wrong way.

    you know those "free little libraries" people put in front of their houses? trade it for something better in one of those. if you really want to express your disgust for the book, include a warning with it.
     
  7. Cynda

    Cynda Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 20, 2014
    I feel like I'd have to know more information to give a response.

    For example: When was the book published?
     
  8. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Recycle it.
     
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  9. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    I wrote one years ago when I read it. 0 stars, of course. I'll try to find it maybe, except maybe people shouldn't even read the review. :p

    You know what? An art piece. I could destroy it and use the remains to create a work of art. That's very thought provoking actually.
     
  10. cubman987

    cubman987 Your Friendly Neighborhood CT/PT/Saga Moderator star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2014
    I like tom's idea....if you bury it you are technically not destroying it but you're not keeping it or giving it to anyone else either.

    I really want to know what the book is....
     
  11. Rogue_Ten

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 18, 2002
    WHATS THE NAME OF THE ****ING BOOK ROGUE IM NOT ****ING AROUND
     
  12. vin

    vin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 1999
    Use each page as toilet paper until it's all been flushed of this world.
     
  13. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Ouch, a paper cut on the starfish would huuuuuuuuurt.
     
  14. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    It's The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. It's a very acclaimed novel from the sixties. TIME Magazine put in on their hundred best novels of all time list. It's been reprinted over eighty times in at least five languages. Most recent reprinting in English was in 2010.

    My old review is super long. A few choice phrases: "I have to give a bad review to a book about the Holocaust . . . if I'm going to live with myself." "This plodding methodical literary rape of anything and everything good in this world . . ." & probably the strangest sentence I've ever written: "When the Twin Towers fell in New York, I didn't immediately find a goat & start ******* it."
     
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  15. Diggy

    Diggy Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Thank goodness. I thought you'd got hold of my old diary.
     
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  16. Boba_Fett_2001

    Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Post the whole thing, man. You must.
     
  17. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    I think I read that years ago as the title sounds familiar. I've got one worse - Mein Kampf. That would take longer to render into recycling. (In my defense I originally got it for a high school honors project and it just found a home with the hundreds - if not thousands - of books I have. I know about where it is but I haven't read it in years..).
     
  18. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Okay, here we go. I'm gonna censor the profanity, but not the actual content.


    They were ignorant and brutal, though not by choice.

    Oh, Lord, I have it to do; I have to give a bad review to a book about the holocaust. You know, those things that if you write about or sing about or make a movie about you're entirely protected because nobody in their right mind will give you a bad review? Let's see, there's the holocaust, child molestation, to some degree reverent treatments of Bible stories . . . well, forget that. I have it to do, if I'm going to live with myself.

    Maybe I'm way off here, but my feeling about tragedy in art was that the whole point was to create something out of it. I argue, in fact, that all art, no matter how nihilistic it might be should be life affirming because it speaks of the human ability to take darkness and horror and create something of beauty out of it, to create something that affirms the community of life out of it. Hugo said of the great atheist that they denied the existence of God with their works and affirmed his existence with the greatness of their works. The same can be said of the great works of nihilism and despair; even in these there is hope.

    The Holocaust is certainly one of the ultimate tragedies of the Twentieth Century. And yet, when one looks at the works of art that touch upon it, one finds a myriad of interpretations. Elie Wiesel finds existential despair, the death of God; Corrie Ten Boom finds a deeper, more resilient faith. Viktor Frankl finds a place of joy in the very depth of the concentration camps; Thomas Kenneally finds a place of sorrow and sacrifice. Perhaps most devastating of all, Georges Perec speaks volumes of the horror by refusing to speak at all, by talking around the concentration camps, leaving the very existence of such evil a deep, sore hole in the memory.

    All this to say that The Painted Bird is no great work of art. It's the story of a young boy, left orphaned and alone in the European countryside during World War II. He journeys through the world, trying simply to survive and he finds himself again and again at the mercy of sadists and brutes, of vile, evil people working nothing but cruelty on the world and those around them.

    If Night is of the spirit, Man's Search for Meaning of the heart, Schindler's List of the blood, The Painted Bird is the Holocaust of **** and piss, of vomit and bile, of semen and saliva. It's a book deeply repugnant and deeply disgusting. And it is a book that fails for a variety of reasons.

    Kosinski's journey to write this book began at a party, of all places, or at several where he would tell the stories in this book to the guests as though they had happened to him as a small child. In other words, Kosinski is not the kind of guy to invite to your parties; he'll drop a bombshell about a guy pinning a teenager down and scooping his eyes out with a red hot spoon over the demitasse, don't you know?

    Regardless, as things moved on, he was encouraged to write the experiences in a book and when he finally did so, he dropped the autobiographical angle, presenting the work as straight fiction, probably a wise decision given the accusations of plagiarism that were leveled at him over the book (and, it seems, almost every book he's ever written). Well, I say more power to him on this score at least; if he was the second person to pass this stuff off as his own, I'm shedding no tears for the first guy, who has written one of the most disturbingly and grimly inhuman books I've ever read.

    This plodding methodical literary rape of anything and everything good in this world is one of the most brain numbingly unpleasant experiences I've ever had the misfortune to sit through. You may argue that this is exactly the response Kosinski was going for you. You'd be right; one doesn't write about a guy raping a woman and then forcing his horse to rape her in order to create anything of aesthetic beauty. But the problem is that this book is not about the Holocaust; the Holocaust, like the war entire, takes place entirely off screen, hardly mentioned even once.

    So, the basic premise seems to be that war is such a creeping evil that the mere fact that it is happening somewhere in a country will cause the good inhabitants of that country, affected in no material way by the war, to completely lose their minds and go in for the most degrading and brutal of entertainment. I don't buy it. When the twin towers fell in New York, I didn't instantly find a goat and start ******* it. And I don't think any well adjusted person would; the fact of war somewhere in your country does not lead normal women to form roving mobs that scour the countryside for mentally challenged women and then forcibly sodomize them with a glass bottle full of **** until it breaks. They also then kick her to death, but then at that point, all bets are off, right?

    And the fact is that every single person our main character runs across in this book is full to the brim with this kind of inhuman cruelty. Every time he turns around he's facing something even more disgusting and horrifying than before. He escapes from the man who beats him every night with a wooden stool and then turns the dog loose on him every day and finds himself in a church as an altar boy. No sooner does he stumble while bearing some holy artifact than the congregation en masse rises and thrusts him out of the church and tries to drown him in the village cesspool (my God, I didn't know there were that many ways to talk about the way **** smells!). He survives and finds solace with a family in another village; the daughter there takes him under her wing and starts giving him sexual favors. No sooner has he had an orgasm or two but he discovers that the girl is also ******* the family goat for the observational pleasure of her father and brother. He flees from them and . . . I'll stop there.

    I hope I've given you some idea of just how ludicrous this book is. This isn't a book that's anti-war, it's a book deeply and profoundly anti-human. Every single person met in this book harbors a deep seated desire to inflict cruelty and suffering upon those weaker than them. The parade of grotesques eventually reaches a place of some kind of pitch black humor; you're driven almost to hysteria by the idiotic idea that there isn't a single decent person in the world, but that all are given over to violence and sexual frenzy.

    Why does this book fail so utterly as anything approaching a work of art? A faulty premise, for one, namely that all these cruelties somehow add up to a condemnation of the Holocaust when in fact they don’t, they add up to a condemnation of the human animal itself (and contrary to Mr. Kosinski's opinion, I know at least two people who have never committed bestiality or forced their children to do so; maybe you know a couple too). The other reason is the kind of sickness that permeates the book; as authors we all write things we don't want to write because the story demands it of us. But for Kosinski to spend so much time wallowing in the filth of human excrement, forcing this small boy to take beating after beating and brutality after brutality and layering on the graphic detail of bestiality and violent murders. . . well, I don't know, it just strikes me that he's enjoying this in some way. I mean, Christ, he could have had them sodomize that poor mentally challenged girl with a stick and I would have been just as disgusted. But, no, he's reaching for the heights of pain and humiliation for everyone; it's a glass bottle and a glass bottle filled with human waste and it splinters inside her, told all in graphic detail.

    I don't like casting personal aspersions on authors based on their works. We'll take the excuse that Kosinski didn't really write all this; I mean, seriously, the same guy wrote this and Being There? Right. Still, whoever did write all this, who wrote this mean spirited, angry, bitter spewing diatribe against humanity . . . speak for yourself. I didn't enjoy reading this book; I couldn't have ever written it. I have too much respect for humanity to do that. And the next time you want to write about the Holocaust, follow Perec's example and keep your goddamn mouth shut. If you hate the human race this much, sir, secede from it and make it a better place; saturate us with your absence, sir, and we'll be very appreciative.

    I mean, Jesus Christ, I've been alive over twenty-five years and I haven't met as many deeply evil people in all my travels (to three countries) as this poor bastard meets in a matter of two years and about fifty square miles. I've seen people in abject poverty and they don't behave like this (the ugly alternate interpretation of this book is that not all people are evil, only the rural poor, which is very nearly itself the attitude that produced the Holocaust). Well, whatever, I've never met anyone unpleasant enough to put a small child through the hell he goes through in this book. At least not until I picked up the book; then, I suppose, I met Mr. Kosinski. Hail and not well met, sir; if we meet again, I'm pretending I don't know you and I trust you'll do the same. Of course, given the way you feel about humanity, you wouldn't bother to spit on me probably; watch out though, I must just muster the courage myself. Art is supposed to humanize; this book does the opposite. And for a book this deeply dedicated to hate speech against the human race, I give it my lowest rating; if this book catches your eye from a shelf, pull it down, spit on it, put it back, go wash your hands. We have to draw the line somewhere.
     
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  19. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2003
    Go through the book and redact the parts you don't like / had a problem with in permanent black marker. Then donate it to the Sal Val.
     
  20. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    I FORGOT TO CENSOR THE PROFANITY. Boy, that was the fastest edit in history. Also, back when I was twenty-five, I apparently thought it was okay to say the r-word in terms of mentally challenged people. I don't anymore, so I edited that.

    I do like how I start out very clinically dissecting artistic responses to the Holocaust and by the end I'm practically shaking with rage and telling people to spit on the author.
     
  21. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    I didn't even notice it so you'll get away with it..
     
  22. slightly_unhinged

    slightly_unhinged Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Donating it to a feminist reading group might make life interesting.
     
  23. Rylo Ken

    Rylo Ken Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 19, 2015
    you should launch a crowdsourcing campaign to option the movie rights.
     
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  24. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm totally going to read this book now.
     
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  25. Diggy

    Diggy Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2013
    We should start a JCC book club. Really get the word out there.
     
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