I'm proposing the start of a Movement.
What is this movement, you ask?
Well, it seems, at least to me, that book blogging and reviewing are becoming more about defending ourselves against charges of bullying than about actual reviewing and blogging about books.
The Movement is very simple. I'm suggesting to all book bloggers and reviewers that they dedicate a blog to how book bloggers and reviewers are not bullies. We are simply folks with opinions about books who write down those opinions, good or bad. UN World Book Day is on April 23rd, a perfect date for the Movement.
In blogging or reviewing, we (in the US) are exercising the concept of protected speech (this is not the same as the First Amendment right to free speech). This allows us to express our opinions in pretty much any manner in which we choose to within the law.
The United Nations has declared the Right to Freedom of Expression to be a Universal Human Right. Part of that covenant reads, "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression."
Now, it seems that there are people who don't want book bloggers and reviewers to be able to freely exercise our rights. They want to censor us. They want to marginalize and diminish us with labels such as 'bully,' or 'thug.' Why? Because exercising our right to freely express our thoughts and opinions enrages them. They desperately want to control what book bloggers and reviewers write. Why, again? Because they are afraid of other people's opinions. They want to be Emperors with a glorious new wardrobe followed by sycophants whispering praises in their ears while at the same time shuttering out those who are pointing out their nakedness.
Many of us live in free countries. We hold our freedoms and liberties dear. Just think of the millions upon millions of people who have died, or have been wounded or maimed defending the ideas of freedom and liberty from oppressive tyrants. Now, I'm certainly not saying that those who wish to shout us down are oppressive tyrants. I'm pointing out that the right to the freedom of expression has been a hard fought battle. No other citizen has the right or authority to tell book bloggers and reviewers, or anyone else for that matter, what and how they may express themselves.
(Editorial pause. The number of people who have died directly or indirectly in the fight against oppressive tyrants throughout our history is more likely in the hundreds of millions, but stating that might seem like hyperbole.)
To me, the most startling thing about our critics is that many of them are authors. Authors have born the brunt of tyrannical displeasure over the millennia for writing things which embarrass or criticize those in positions of power. Throughout history, philosophers and authors have been murdered, exiled, tortured and imprisoned for speaking their minds or writing their opinions.
It simply boggles my mind when an author supports censorship or pushes to ban anonymous speech. These authors are working against exactly what their predecessors and countless other people have fought and died for.
Citizens of our societies have earned their right to stand on the soap box in the public square and speak their mind. No one has the right to tell us we can't do so.
Remember, UN World Book Day, April 23rd. Book reviewers are not bullies.
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