censorship in the white house
A few months ago, the First Lady decided to organize a poetry symposium in February, but as the date drew near some of the guests made clear their opposition to her husband’s pre-emptive war. Sam Hamill, in particular, asked fellow poets to send in their contributions on the war to the symposium. Now the White House has announced that it is cancelling the event. The reason? “While Mrs Bush respects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she, too, has opinions, and believes it would be inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum,” her spokesperson said.
Newsflash: literature deals with countless varieties of human experience, among them the political. So to silence the event really amounts to censorship, especially considering that a couple of months ago, the Bush Administration had no qualms about using various American literary figures in a book paid for by taxpayers (but unavailable in the U.S.) to promote the Administration’s view of the world.