Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
Writer banned
Happy Monday in Fiction Daily-land. The sunny days are helping with the traditional writer's melancholy that can strike in late winter. After a trip to my mother's house on Saturday, I returned with some new plants for the garden. I played wild kickball with my sister and niece, and had a wonderful time.

The crisis continues in Tibet and my thoughts and prayers are with the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, that they be happy and free of suffering.

Last week I read about about the British writer Sebastian Horsley being denied entry to the U.S. on Wednesday.

Was he a suspected terrorist? A kidnapper? A drug smuggler? No ... no ... and no.

So what was his crime? He was honest. He was daring.

He was direct and shameless in writing about the marginal world of prostitution, drug use and the artfully depraved. He dresses outrageously ... top hat, nail polish ... and apparently drew suspicion upon his arrival here because of his candid responses to the immigration officials' questions. He was detained for eight hours. He arrived in the U.S. to promote his new book, "
Dandy in the Underworld."

Let me be clear: He should not babysit children. Nor should he deliver any high school graduation speeches. But as far as I can tell, he has no interest in doing anything like this. He makes no effort to conceal his experience or his interests in the shady underbelly of humanity.

And for that he is banned? His honesty should instead be applauded.

I can't agree with a national policy that turns away an artist at the gate because "the authorities" don't like his style ... in fashion or in relationships. Those policies suppress basic human creativity.
I do not agree with his choice of lifestyles but I honor his freedom to write about them.

When we suppress creativity, we are clamping down on the very breath that distinguishes us from other mammals. We are denying the expressive force allowing us to transcend this clay world for the unseen one.

(Reuters photo)
2008-03-24 13:44:44 GMT
Comments (2 total)
Does anyone else think the whole Sebastian Horsley situation reeks of a publicity stunt ... or maybe a very fortuitous opportunity to wring publicity out of an example of the American government's hypocrisy? It just so happens that this incident occurs during a trip to promote his new book? Come on! This time last week, no one had ever heard of this guy; but for 15 minutes his name is on everyone's lips. Seems suspicious to me.

Still, your point is well taken. It seems like we get further and further away from Voltaire's wisdom about disagreeing with what a person says but defending to the death his or her right to say it.
2008-03-25 10:57:27 GMT
As always, you offer sound food for thought ... still, whatever antics Mr. Horsley chose, there is something unsettling about refusing an author entry to this country because of a vague moral judgment call. I was reminded of Oscar Wilde ... I'm sure Mr. Horsley has also studied Mr. Wilde for pointers on outrageous behavior. The very quote you mentioned ... "I will defend to the death your right to say it" was steadily on my mind as I read about Mr. Horsley. -- MB
2008-03-25 13:25:31 GMT
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