To ban a book because you don’t agree with its content is one thing, to stop a book being published because you don’t agree with an allegation against the author that has been proven to be false ‘twice’ in the court of law is madness. But this is a sign of the times. The post-truth period in which we currently live in.
I’m of course talking about Woody Allen whose memoirs were about to be published by Hachette Book Group until the employees staged a walkout in New York and Boston protesting against the publication, due to the allegations of Woody Allen sexually abusing his daughter when she was 7 years old.
If it’s true, of course it would be vile, disgusting and heinous, but the fact that, not once, but twice, he has been vindicated of the crime surely says something. In the court of law across many countries we are apparently ‘innocent until proven guilty’, but not in the court of public opinion unfortunately.
This sets a terrible dangerous precedent. If any author, film maker, comedian, singer, politician etc is ‘accused’ of a crime that goes against, isn’t in line or out of step with the current ethos, we all lose out. To make decisions based on emotion (post-truth) rather than empirical evidence is to create a society that is disconnected from reality, a purely subjective playground where rules are made with prejudice as a driving force. Just imagine if part of the population didn’t like a particular group in society, in a post-truth political arena, you could end up with ethnic cleansing.
There are many banned books over the years that have finally made it into the public arena: American Psycho, Brave New World, 120 Days of Sodom, Ulysses, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lolita, Tropic of Cancer, The Grapes of Wrath, Naked Lunch, Catch-22 to name a few, but these were banned for their content, not because of an allegation towards to the author. What’s next? People serving time for owning books society deems as inappropriate for whatever reasons their emotions chooses?
But you need to ask the question: Who are these people who think ‘they’ have the right to determine what ‘you’ can and can’t read simply because ‘they’ don’t agree with something?