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Banished Book Week. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Banished Book Week.

The visiting cats are getting a little more sociable after almost 48 hours. Gwenny is out and about in the house, mostly enjoying the Bird and Squirrel Show out the front window; Arthur, the more affable of the two (at least with me), is sticking to their room but comes out and preens and purrs when I come visit. At one point, Gwen got into the cellar and she and/or Zoey committed a little mayhem, knocking some books off their shelves. I decided to bring a handful of them back upstairs- mainly signed copies where I knew (or, in the case of the collateral damage, edited the book for) the author.

Most of our books are downstairs but I have a bookcase in here (one of the few "hairlooms" from my side of the fam) with some favorites from over the decades. To make room, I decided to move a bunch out- some Dave Barrys, a Steve Martin or two, and then I saw one which, instantly, I knew would not be joining its fellow evacuees in the basement but would rather be consigned to the rubbish heap:

Voldemorthood

I don't make this choice lightly, because my copy of the book was a gift from my mother, on the occasion of Emily's christening:

Inscription

By then, she'd moved near my sister; within a few years, she was living with her, and Donna was caring for her, until she died not long after Emily turned 7.  So the sentiment will always be important to me (and is preserved apart from the book, here and in that photo), but I can't stand to see, much less read, the vessel in which it is contained.

----

The tsunami of charges against America's Favorite Dad™ has been overwhelming in recent weeks.  The rumors had been around for years, and the New Yorker did a profile a few months ago which was quite explicit about the allegations brought by some of the women. Yet it took another man- comic Hannibal Buress- and his explicit hurl of the "rapist" tag to turn Pater into Pariah in incredibly short order. His appearances canceled, his college ties repudiated, even his Fatherhood-era reruns pulled from TVLand.

And now his book is going in the bin.

Am I hasty? Judgmental?  I've reserved "dead to me" status for a few famous people in the past, who similarly found themselves tried and convicted in the court of public opinion if not a court of law.  Two famed movie directors, makers of some films I once loved and still respect, are in that category. So is the murderer (as far as I'm concerned) of a young unarmed man whose only crimes were the color of his skin and his possession of Skittles.  I refuse to support their careers, however indirectly, by promoting or purchasing their work, and to prevent the principle of succès de scandale from applying, I will not even mention their names again until they either are completely vindicated or have genuinely repented. And so, my memories of Thursday Night Must-See TV on NBC now begin with The Voldemort Show.

He will have his defenders, as do the other men of privilege have who I have consigned in my mind to this hell of guilt.  He was never indicted, much less accused, they will say, as has been said about their previous Voldemorts. Or, he was investigated and they found nothing.  That's fine; I don't need to waste hots and a cot on these guys. But my standard of proof is a bit lower than "beyond reasonable doubt." In this case, twenty accusers coming forward, all with similar stories of misuse of power and position, is enough to convict in my mind.  His punishment will not be fine or imprisonment,  but the mere recycling of his memoir about fatherhood into something. If I had a choice, I think a garbage can would make a fitting tribute to the man.

(I did, incidentally, tell Emily about my find and my intentions about it, and she was fine with it.)

----

This will take care of the tangible, but there's still a lot in my head that's in need of Brain Bleach.  I grew up on the man's recorded comedy; "Noah," "Chicken Heart," and the less known but probably funnier-to-me bits "Hofstra" and "$75 Car," are routines I could (and even now still can) recite from memory.  We have some of that work on CD, others on ancient cassettes.  I see only one answer to this conundrum: I would love if the current generation of comics would get together and re-record these routines, so their inherent value (which all predates their creator's international fame and, thus, his recorded misuse of that fame for sexual gain) could be preserved for future fans of the material to appreciate. Dedicate the proceeds of the album to rape crisis or awareness causes. Dare the man to turn down whatever his share would've been. It could be a first step on his road to redemption.

Right!

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Comments
onlyonechoice From: onlyonechoice Date: November 29th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a privilege that all we have to be sad/angry about is not having to listen to those hilarious routines again, but lordy, I'll miss them too. I know so many of them from memory and still do the go-kart routine when I'm in my car.

I also would love to see these routines covered by other voices so I wouldn't have to think about the awfulness behind this brilliant comedic mind.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: November 29th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, na-na-na-na-na-NAAA does not evoke Batman for me but Old Weird Harold and friends.

So much talent, so much success. Why?
lietya From: lietya Date: November 29th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I admire everyone whose first reaction to this news was *not* to leap to the conclusion that 20+ women are liars. (I'm another who thinks that the allegations are too consistent, from too many people, over too long of a time, for there not to be some reality behind it.)

Mind you, it's been a tough year for the bookshelf here too, as the story about Marion Zimmer Bradley resurfaced* as well.


**I'm somewhat appalled that in both cases the crimes may have begun before I was born, and yet it took until now to get any traction on either.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: November 29th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just for the record, Fly into Fire was not one of the cellar books that came up. Susan's are speshul and never left this floor:)
lietya From: lietya Date: November 29th, 2014 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww. :) That's very sweet, and I'll pass it along to her!
yesididit From: yesididit Date: November 29th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
you could just cut the page out of the book and frame that. keep the good, ditch the bad.
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: November 30th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
By coincidence, just posted about this also. I share your feelings.
http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/499635.html
sturgeonslawyer From: sturgeonslawyer Date: November 30th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
H'mmm. It seems to me that there's a lot of rush to judgment going on about Cosby. I mean, yeah, it doesn't look good, but what ever happened to innocent till proven guilty?
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: November 30th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nobody will attempt to "prove" anything in the criminal-court sense of the word. His freedom is not at stake, but his reputation is- and that's what I have no trouble taking from him, at least in my little corner of the world.

I read Mitch Albom's piece this morning, which takes the defense down a different road: Why him? A litany of ne'er-do-wells from Charlie Sheen to Marky Mark did bad things and aren't being subjected to this amount of judging, jurying and executing. That's true. It's also true that none of them, to my recollection, ever held themselves out as role models, or waved their Ed.D degrees around as proof of higher moral authority, or lectured people about THEIR bad behavior. The Harder They Fall and all.
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