“And the people all said sit down, sit down you’re rocking the boat / And the devil will drag you under, with a soul so heavy you’ll never float / Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down / You’re rocking the boat.” Don Henley
There is a brilliant article by Salmon Rushdie in The New Yorker of which I lifted the reference to Don’s brilliant song, as well as the following few paragraphs. Sure, why not – lifting stuff from others is the in-thing these days. Here it goes.
At its most effective, the censor’s lie actually succeeds in replacing the artist’s truth. That which is censored is thought to have deserved censorship. Boat-rocking is deplored.
Nor is this only so in the world of art. The Ministry of Truth in present-day China has successfully persuaded a very large part of the Chinese public that the heroes of Tiananmen Square were actually villains bent on the destruction of the nation. This is the final victory of the censor: When people, even people who know they are routinely lied to, cease to be able to imagine what is really the case.
Even more serious is the growing acceptance of the don’t-rock-the-boat response to those artists who do rock it, the growing agreement that censorship can be justified when certain interest groups, or genders, or faiths declare themselves affronted by a piece of work. Great art, or, let’s just say, more modestly, original art is never created in the safe middle ground, but always at the edge. Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or, to use the catch-all term so beloved of the tabloid press, controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.
We rang the office of a therapist today. The receptionist took our message. Then she said that she just wanted to check our phone number. (087) 981 8219. She had tried to ring that number several times but couldn’t get through. (087) 981 8219 isn’t our phone number we said when the receptionist interrupted and asked how we could repeat that number so easily, if it wasn’t ours? No idea, although it sounded familiar, it defenitely wasn’t ours.
And then it hit us like an earthquake of the highest scale followed by a tsunami. Of course, several years ago Pádraig had been a patient there. When he could make and confirm his appointments himself. When he could use a mobile phone and leave his number. His number. It was a small detail. With a huge effect after a difficult day.
We now have to make his appointments. We have to ring. We leave our number. We are his voice. We explain that he is fighting so hard to get better. That he is fighting the fight of his life. A fight he almost lost a few times over the past three year. A fight he so desperately needs to win. A fight for which he needs all the help he can get. A fight we will fight for him, no matter what. Even if it means the beginning of a revolution.
“It is time for change. It is time for a revolution in rehabilitation.” – Not my words but those of the person appointed by the Government of Ireland and the HSE as the National Director of Clinical Strategy and Programmes, Dr Áine Carroll. (Irish Examiner, 03.02.2011)