Censorship is just another way to prevent free speech, a right that is clearly and proudly stated within the First Amendment. People claim that what political preferences call opinion is ‘hate speech’ or, in other words, offensive. This obviously does happen. People can and do use that right with the wrong idea in mind, but getting kicked off of Facebook over political opinion is completely and utterly wrong on a number of levels. Censorship, to most, seems like the responsible thing to do. “It’s to keep inappropriate images and comments off of children’s websites!” Which is fine. But that’s only where it begins. In the end, everyone is too caught up in sparing everyone else’s feelings to realize they’re handing away the precious gift that brave men and women died to uphold and protect. It’s a gift that countries like China do not have, and look where they are now. (If I were in China, I would be killed in a back alley for saying this.) It’s a gift that a few hundred years ago was worth getting publicly executed for. It’s a gift that we have begun to take for granted, and that needs to end. Censorship is a shortcut to destroying our constitutional rights, and we’re letting it slip through our fingers. So, in summary, censorship is ill-advised, unjust, and dangerous to the people of America.
I came up with the Pythagoras argument during one of those tiresome “How can you separate the art from the artist” conversations, and successfully demonstrated how easy it was for us to separate the Math from the mathematician. That prompt, “Would you ask that question about Pythagoras?” turned into this story. In that sense it is definitely the most unrealistic piece I have ever written, but relates to the smothering frustration of Twitter and cancel culture.
How are stereotypes helpful? What can we do to curtail unhelpful assumptions? “Two Chicken Platters” explores how the presumptions we make are so often superficial and ignore the nuances of human suffering.
“The Bully” deals with the rational human fear of mortality and suggests that anger is born from that fear. There is also an implication that bullying behavior often comes from a lack of consciousness rather than simply an aggressive posture, and that a lack of consciousness — being inattentive to the suffering of others or numb to the world — is a poor coping strategy implemented by so-called bullies to try to stave off the reality of mortality. It also offers that a shared human connection in terms of acknowledgement regarding the tyranny of mortality can lessen suffering and, therefore, reduce fear and anger. **Based on a true story.**
Can we ever truly understand anything beyond our own mind? If not, do assumptions form the backdrop of all human behavior? What assumptions do we make about others, and how does this affect our interactions? “The Solipsist” is a story about a clash of cultures, where either side is perhaps a little too certain of its understanding of the way things are and should be.
In “Expanded Disco,” Britain has been fractured by ideological differences leaving cities resembling the surface of the moon and a proliferating network of tunnels to separate newly forming factions. Tunnel bureaucrats have been elevated to absolute power so long as the conflict continues. A Commander must dismantle the bureaucrats’ “conflict is freedom” ideology in order to be reunited with his family.
A lover of rich food became obese. Rejected by a girl, he could have decided to curb his eating habits; instead, he took refuge in comfort food. Later in life, a woman who showed an interest in him led to his redemption. Obesity is a common affliction today and this fiction piece shows two reactions to rejection: one is negative, the other positive. To those who are conflicted, this story offers a moment of hope.
“Providence, On All Fours” is a surreal screenplay about feeling alienated and paranoid in a space that should be familiar and comfortable. It gets at immigrant tensions and feelings of being watched, of confusion, and of being trapped within a space that has become hostile. The story is about how confusing and impossible to understand our fears really are.
The topic of abortion is an ongoing moral, legal, and religious debate. Should we be protecting the reproductive rights of women or the rights of the unborn life? The following fiction piece, “The Choice,” presents a fantasy regarding what Jesus would think of abortion and what, if anything, he would do. Mother Theresa said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love.” It is the author’s hope that some version of Jesus’ way can be transmuted from fantasy to reality.
“Waiting Cold” addresses how ideologies affect the way we live our lives. How do ideals sometimes block what is observable? How do others try to understand the world, and how does that differ from our own attempts? If we hold common ground regardless of the individual principles held, would we be able to recognize it?