Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Poor Souls

By Charlotte Hinger

 I was moved by Donis's last post. She raised the question about the merits of a work of art when the artist is not a good person. I'm of the opinion that a beautiful song is a beautiful song no matter who has composed it. However, I respect the opinions of those who disagree with me and believe that a rotten person is a rotten person, and that fact affects how they hear the song. 

In fact, the number of people who don't agree with any of my opinions is staggering. Just poll my daughters and grandchildren.   

Nevertheless, I'm appalled by growing movement of groups that suppress all dissention. There's no opinion to object to because anything controversial is squelched immediately. The era of passionate verbal articulate donnybrooks is going the way of the dodo bird. 

Although I'm a liberal, in times past, I've liked hearing the ideas expressed by my conservative friends. I'm sad when I read about college students refusing to allow a speaker to present a program opposing the liberal canon.

Last summer I listened to a man on a panel explain why he asked for a book to be removed from his local library. I disagreed with both his action and his choice of book to remove, He explained he was dealing with his daughter's attempted suicide and felt the book she checked out contributed to her sorrowful state of mind. He didn't want other teenagers influenced by it.

What immediately struck me, though, was that I had never--not even once--listened to a person explain why they wanted a book banned. I used to listen! Now I don't. I'm so opposed to banning books that I close my ears at once to anyone who disagrees with this stance. I've been contaminated by group think and I going to correct that. 

When I read of parents wanting to protect their children from feeling "sad" when they are exposed to some of the less attractive aspects of our country's history, I'm speechless. 

I adored our lovely music teacher when I was in grade school. She traveled from school to school within the county. Much of my interest of African American history can be traced to the stirring of my heart when Teresa Shurr led us in traditional spirituals. They made me very sad.

She taught us about people through their country's songs. To this day, during the opening of the Olympics I recall the line "but other hearts in other lands are beating, with hopes and dreams as high and pure as mine." Right now, my heart aches for the people whose "hopes and dreams" are broken through war. 

Developing a soul is painful. It always has been.

1 comment:

Anna Chapman said...

Belated thanks for this post, Charlotte, especially for your closing lines: "Developing a soul is painful. It always has been." And isn't that what good fiction---including mystery fiction---can remind us of, over and over, as we accompany the characters through their struggles and perhaps become edified in some small way thereby? It's often the nuances that enter a developing soul and begin to grow there. Stories have long been prized as the best vehicles for conveying those nuances.