Friday, September 17, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

©New York Times

While Don't Ask, Don't Tell isn't a form of literary censorship, it is still something that is very much an issue of controlling language and identifiers.  By labeling certain people as "different" and "deviant," the US Army is able to strip soldiers not only of their ability to serve, but also of their status as people.  Because of the don't ask, don't tell policy, soldiers must watch their language, make sure they don't slip about any prior experience with "deviant sexual behavior," and censor themselves on a continual basis so as not to reveal themselves too much.  Like literary censorship, this form is just as insidious, if not more so, because it effects the way people live and act and are.  Here's a recent article from the New York Times that shows just how oppressive the censorship of identity and language really is, through the lens of a discharged soldier. 

I will be back to more literary focus next week.  Thanks for listening!

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