Censorship in the Rural South Hides in Plain Sight: Economics
(The column below was originally titled Goodbye for Now. Hopefully I’ll see you on Down the Road. It was a response to having two consecutive columns concerning gay rights and religion refused. (Usually I have a weekly column) But what’s really a shame is I could not even write LGBTQ+ rights without suspecting I’d be refused again.)
The last two weeks I’ve written and rewritten a column for publishing in this local newspaper. Both times, due to a specific subject matter it was rejected.
And to some degree I understand.
Writing this column for me is a hobby. I enjoy writing. I enjoy researching. I enjoy expanding my mind. But it’s not a paying gig. It hasn’t been since the beginning of the end for newspapers ten plus years ago.
When they cut my compensation it kind of hurt my feelings. It had been nice to get paid for something you really enjoyed doing. But after a while I realized the money was really more about my ego. And since I loved writing, why would I stop? Simply because I wasn’t recouping a few dollars/hour?
That’s also about the time I realized, if I was truly going to write for the love of it, then I was going to write about things important to me. I wanted to write about things unexplored, or barely understood by me. I wanted to be passionate about my subject matter.
I think I have accomplished that.
That’s what really hurts about the last two weeks. Certain subjects, according to the publisher, just can’t be printed….in Paris, TN.
I’ve been in sales since I graduated college. And the first lesson you learn is, never discuss politics and religion with customers. And I never do.
As a matter of fact, I seldom discuss those two subjects with most of my friends. I just find arguing or even agreeing about a subject to be less entertaining, than a shared laugh over a joke at my own expense!
However, my passion for writing about it stems from when you’re young and the things told to you by teachers, by elders or by clergy are not necessarily the truth. So many times, a lack of depth, intelligence and/or prejudice from people of authority skews the subject matter beyond repair.
And now we see, even as adults so many of us are manipulated by catchphrases and fear speech. We scurry to our caves where things are safe and secure.
I was probably around 40 years of age when I realized the philosophy of Christ easily crossed roads with social justice. It’s like it all just clicked.
And that’s why I’ve chosen to bolster equality for women, equality for LGBTQ+, equality for black people, equality for immigrants, not just as Americans but as human beings.
But in our small town, when the swords of religion and equality are crossed with one specific group above, my thoughts are rejected as too controversial.
Don’t take me wrong, I am not fearful of castigation or retribution from the public. No, I have been called names, spoken poorly of, even threatened, all behind my back or through a cowardly social network. These people are worms of no consequence.
I am instead fearful of wasting my time writing this, only to find it tossed in the garbage. Time is valuable these days. Our universe is expanding faster than science can accurately measure!
In the winter my dad used to come in from the cold and say, “Dang, I’ll be glad when it warms up!” And in the summer he’d come back with, “Dang, I’ll be glad when it cools down!”
I always told him he was wishing time away. We need to enjoy each moment, even if they’re bitterly cold, or scorching hot. We need to appreciate the time we have.
I also appreciate a newspaper is a business and that particular business needs to sell ads. I get it. Certainly, our newspaper, a very important part of our small community’s communication, needs to exist! It stinks they can now only print three days per week.
I always find it sad the public will lambast a newspaper for the occasional misquote or misspelling while languishing in an internet rife with misinformation and complete falsehoods!
But I’m sadder, much, much sadder, when victims of abuse do not have a local voice.
You won’t be reading my columns for a while, as I take a step back once again. Not because of the rejection of these two columns but because of the intersection of these rejections and the time necessary to research and write them.
I refuse to give short shrift to those in need. I refuse to write something halfhearted. And so, as my paying job moves into the cyclically demanding part of the year, my writing will have to take a back seat.
Hopefully the newspaper will still be here when I get back.
Thanks for reading.