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12/04/2003 Archived Entry: "101 Things is contraband?"
A SOLDIER WRITES FROM IRAQ to say that his copy of 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution has been declared contraband. He (I'm guessing it's a he) can neither ship the book back to the U.S. nor carry it back with his belongings because it's "subversive literature." According the the soldier, who goes by the nic of BlackVelvetJesus, the military inspectors have put the book in the same class as "unexploded ordnance, foreign dirt, and porno."
Maybe this is just a harebrained, haywire interpretation of U.S. military policy. Maybe it's just one individual who looked at the title or the cover and made a wrongheaded decree. But it's pretty whacky that a U.S. soldier, fighting for "freedom," wouldn't be allowed to bring a book back into the U.S. that's openly & legally published in the U.S.
When 101 first came out, a lawyer in Arizona snatched up 10 copies, saying it would soon be banned. Not quite. The closest thing was when the warden of the federal penitentiary at Florence, Colorado, refused to allow Timothy McVeigh to receive a gift copy from an acquaintance. The warden, who evidently couldn't read English, said the book advocated violence. (It doesn't.) Guess he thought I'd be a bad influence on Tim McVeigh's behavior.
I don't know whether to be pleased or outraged that the Pentagon under our freedom-lovin' leader, George W. Bush, might consider 101 too dangerous to be read by Americans in America. Are we one giant prison into which "dangerous literature" is not to be allowed?
Posted by Claire @ 12:06 PM CST