"an uncultured fop, a boob, an imbecile!!!"
Some mornings bring us a gift. This morning, mine arrived in the comments section of a blog entry from two years ago: "Milton Inciting Violence?"
In that blog entry, I ask, "Should we ban Milton's Paradise Lost?"
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am utterly serious about this. At the time, I was reporting on a pipebomb terrorist who called himself "The Bishop" and made threats in at least one 2006 letter that he concluded with the line: "IT IS BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL, THAN TO SERVE IN HEAVEN." This statement has "John Milton" written all over it, though I grant that one has to be a scholar like me to recognize this obscure fact. Indeed, were he not some 335 years dead, I'd suspect Milton himself as the culprit.
Anyway, the quote is quite enough. Milton himself is implicated in these terrorist acts, and his epic poem Paradise Lost should be banned. Why just a few blog entries back, I cited Milton himself on the necessity of banning books that have evil effects:
I'm no expert on Areopagitica, which is usually cited by defenders of free speech, but I find intriguing that Milton does not deny the right to control 'speech':So far as I can see, we have an absolute right to ban Paradise Lost, for it has motivated "The Bishop" to his terrorist actions.I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demeane themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors....And he gives as reason: "For Books are not absolutely dead things."
Not everyone agrees with me, as the comments section to that two-year-old blog entry demonstrates:
this is absolutely ridiculous!!! this is the same scenario as the gun laws and various other suggestions that we should ban useful things... this is a F**KING BOOK!!!!!! and a good one at that! some guy got mad and shot some one else.. now the gun laws, some a** hole knocked over some ones mail box with a bat . . . outlaw all bats! some kid hit some other kid with a metal lunch box now they cant have those any more!!! dont you see!? its the people who interpret their own actions, not the objects . . . you can show a crazy man a picture of a house and he will go and set one on fire. why? well because hes crazy and its what he interprets the picture as depicting! who ever wrote this article is an uncultured fop, a boob, an imbecile!!! your words fall on def ears. milton inciting violence!! HA, we should all hope! maybe people who actually read the materiel and comprehend ist meaning and message for the time it was written will incite violence on who ever published this article! i bet your the same f**k thats trying to take music out of school!? "Oh, we cant have that! Its the devils tool!" you puritan c**ts!I had to re-read this comment several times, for I initially found it contradictory. Generally, the anonymous writer sounded angry at my views, but he sometimes appeared to be agreeing with me on the necessity of outlawing things that incite violence: "some a** hole knocked over some ones mail box with a bat . . . outlaw all bats!" I agree with this statement -- and would add that we ought also to outlaw mailboxes, especially the rural ones with their foppish little red flags inciting testosterone-ridden teenagers to charge them like a red cape incites a bull (and, by the bye, red capes should also be outlawed). But after a few re-readings, I began to realize that my anonymous friend was being ironic. In fact, the statements were very close to sarcasm, so I suppose that I should have caught the tone immediately . . . as, for example, when Anonymous called me "an uncultured fop, a boob, an imbecile!!!"
Seventeen minutes later, Anonymous had more to say to me:
and further more its is quite obvious this pretend bomber villain is an idiot!!! very poor spelling and a plagiarist!!! hes just a moron with a grudge and your going to blame milton!? please! absolutely preposterous!!!! oh, and for the record for you bible thumping, holly rolling, puritan, holier than thou f**ks can sit on the fact that it WILL be better to rein in hell than to serve eternity away to a god that is so selfish and closed minded...Again, I find points of agreement with Anonymous, and I don't think that he's being ironic this time when he says "that it WILL be better to rein in hell." I, too, am all for reining in Hell. The place is disorderly and ought to be reined in. We could start by outlawing some of the incitements to violence down there. I believe that there are pitchforks, supposedly used for tossing pitch onto the flames (hence the name "pitchfork"), but a pitchfork is obviously unfit for the task (wouldn't shovels work better?) and surely has no function other than to torment the damned. We could rein in some of Hell's violence by outlawing pitchforks. I could go on, but you see my point.
promote free thinking...
free thinkers do NOT make good slaves especially to a god that is so eager to have them....
In another follow-up comment, after five long minutes of intensive research, Anonymous began to understand me better:
after reading up a bit on who you are Gypsy Scholar i retract my statement on you being "and uncultured fop"... but your theory is still bogus . . . just like your god.My professional credentials have finally stood me in good stead. Thank Berkeley for giving me its street-cred reputation! And thank Anonymous for his generous gift in recognizing my borrowed street-cred. Gifts do go around, and spread cred as they circulate (cf. Marcel Mauss). But still not quite cred enough to fully convince Anonymous, who continues to reject my 'theory' as 'bogus'. I suppose that he means to say that he still opposes my argument that Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost ought to be banned.
Well, I guess that I can't convince everyone, though I hate to miss out on the support of a stallwart fellow like Anonymous, whose vigorous language would certainly prove useful if he were, like me, working to perfect this fallen world.
Meanwhile, I'll continue tilting the windmills of my mind as I call on my partron saint, Don Quixote, that great knight beatified for ultimately recognizing the danger of unregulated books.