pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Stop SOPA & PIPA)
Censorship affects us all.

Today, blogs and sites across America, Canada, and the world are blacked out in protest of two legislative bills proposed in Congress: SOPA and PIPA. These two bills, which Congress claims are intended to stop online piracy, would have disastrous consequences for free speech, online communication, and online commerce.

"Online commerce?" you ask. Yes, online commerce. SOPA and PIPA would overwhelmingly favor big business over small business, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for independent creatives (authors, artists, musicians) to do business online. For an excellent overview of why this is so, read author and reviewer Cheryl Morgan's analysis.

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pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (feelings)
I've been struggling with the issue of how much I should say about politics in this blog, not because I think I should be silent on this issue (I don't), but because I've noticed that many people prefer to maintain some distance between their personal, work-oriented, and political journaling. So far, I've maintained this journal as a mix of the three, but as I've begun to express more political views, I wonder if that's making my friends who know me from non-political venues uncomfortable. Yet, at the same time, I'm very concerned about the direction of politics in my country, right now. I've considered creating a second journal, in which to discuss politics, but I haven't felt entirely comfortable about that either. For now, I think I will continue to make the occasional political post. There are many important issues and they touch on both my personal and writing life: issues of censorship, what it means to be a woman in today's world, how we as concerned citizens should respond when we are in disagreement with our government's actions, the information we share with others about candidates, and so much more. Ultimately, perhaps, all the issues come down to freedom: How do we define it? and, How do we ensure it?

Because the issue of speaking out and of silence have been very much on my mind recently, I want to share this poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892—1984) that I first encountered while I was in college in the late seventies. He apparently used many variations of this poem in different venues and there is dissagreement as to which is the "correct" version. You can read about this poem and its variants on Wikipedia.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

As always, I welcome your comments.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
My eldest son and I were talking this afternoon and he brought up the issue of limits, such as censorship, which can sometimes have the effect of increasing creativity, rather than decreasing it, as writers (and other artists) find creative ways around and through the censorship. He commented that he sometimes wondered if such concepts as stereotypes, or archetypal characters, might not opperate in much the same way, by spurring us to find new ways to make "old" characters "new." It was such a wonderful, thoughtful comment, that I decided to add it to Bittercon if there were no similar topics. Finding none, I will host this one.

What are your thoughts?

Can we see stereotypes or archetypes as limits? And, if we do, do those limits hem us in, making writing more difficult, or do they push our creative buttons?


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