Has Fahrenheit 451 Come To America To Stay?
By Joshua Calkins Treworgy
(author of Motor City Shambler–Bob the Zombie Book 1)
Has Fahrenheit 451—Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel about book burnings–come to America to stay? Is America being hobbled by censorship? Is that censorship coming from both sides of the political aisle, the left and the right?
In 25 states, classic books are being removed from school libraries because they have homosexuality, trans-sexuality, or political points of view that a minority of parents disagree with. Books like the Holocaust graphic novel Maus and the classic sci fi novel The Handmaid’s Tale are being disappeared from the educational curriculum of schools. That’s censorship on the right. But on the left things are just as bad.
I know because I’m an author, and I’m watching as many of my fellow authors are banned by Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, or are locked out of the Patreon accounts from which they make their living. These authors all have one thing in common: they are either conservatives or believers in Donald Trump.
This is a short list I’ve compiled over about two years just within my arena.
Jeanine Dudzinski- Indie author, romance and sci-fi. Booted off of Twitter without explanation. Facebook account suspended when a Christian book club Group she belonged to was banned.
Abigail St Louis- Indie author, YA fantasy. Booted off of Twitter without explanation. Facebook account terminated after posting that the #OwnVoices movement/hashtag never seemed to apply to progressives or folks on the political left. No prior suspensions or violations. The #OwnVoices hashtag means that if a book is about blacks, it is written by an African-American. If your book is about gays, it is written by a gay person. The #OwnVoices movement implies that books written by, say, an Asian author about American Blacks is invalid. Unless the author is from the political left.
Amanda Kat (pen name)- Indie author, horror. Booted from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after pointing out that banning books by conservative authors was just one more step toward making Fahrenheit 451 a reality, and that NO book deserves to be banned. No prior violations.
L R W Lee- Indie author, fantasy, some sci-fi. Booted from Facebook, Twitter, books temporarily pulled from Amazon after pointing out that some conservative interpretations of the King James New Testament would result in viewing Mohammed as a false prophet, given Jesus’ warning that any prophet coming after him would be ‘a deceiver’. She did not claim this to be her own view, but merely pointed out that this interpretation had gained some ground in evangelical circles. Result- banned.
William Bly- Indie author, spy thrillers/espionage fiction. Banned from Facebook on 5 different accounts, banned on Twitter. When a Trump support Group he was in on his first account was scrubbed, he lost that account. The next three were all suspended/banned following arguments with family members over political matters, chiefly the summer-long riots across the country. Banned from Twitter after saying that cops who violate the Constitutional rights of anyone, even liberals, should be stripped of their jobs, authority, and ability to ever serve in a uniform again.
Ciaryn Byrne- Indie author, fantasy and horror. Banned from Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp (no idea what that is). Facebook ban came when a Group he administered that was very anti- ‘The Squad’ got removed. Twitter removal followed the very next day due to ‘harassment by means of misgendering another user’, though he suspects it was also because he pointed out that while AOC voted ‘yes’ on the omnibus bill despite complaining that she hadn’t had time to read it, that “principled people, like Ron Paul and Ted Cruz, said that because they hadn’t had time to read it, they HAD to vote ‘No’.
(Mind you, I laugh at the idea that Cruz is principled)
Josh Hawley- Republican Senator. Publishing contract with Simon and Schuster scrubbed after Jan 6th Capitol Riot. This book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech”, had NOTHING to do with that incident.
ADDED SEPT 10, 2021:
Allison Roe- Indie author, dark fantasy/grimdark. Banned from Twitter, multiple Facebook suspensions, Instagram suspensions, YouTube channel banned, Amazon KDP novella removed from marketplace. Novella about a ‘God Virus’ with similarities to Covid-19 removed without explanation, videos sharing excerpt from said novella and posts on Twitter of same reported for ‘misinformation’, accounts terminated.
ADDED APRIL 17, 2022:
Jacob Celtin- Indie author, horror. Services and account access to Wells Fargo terminated when Patreon suspended his creator account for ‘hate speech conduct’; subsequently fell 2 months behind mortgage payments before being granted access to move his funds to another bank. Patreon material included webcomics and essays from a conservative/Republican view.
These are just a few examples of people who’ve been shunted aside, and they have only a few things in common.
1) They’re all authors
2) They all lean more conservative
3) They all had clear indications of disagreement with publicly acceptable/mainstream notions in their online profiles
4) Almost none of them had the kind of clout that could insulate them or cause a fuss when they got disappeared
From where I sit, uncomfortably on the sidelines, it seems almost inevitable what’s going to finally be recognized; the uptick in wanton violence round the nation, the burgeoning attitude of ‘fuck them all, I’m getting mine’ that seems to be spreading faster and faster, and the sense of everyone walling themselves off into their own little silos, is not actually helping us as a societal whole. We have no more shared moral framework; we have instead the pendulum swing, and we cheer when the pendulum swings like a blade at our chosen ‘others’, and that’s about it. And somehow, all in the pursuit of being more understanding and empathetic, people who were once sought as ‘allies’ in various struggles toward true equal societal treatment and standing have now been turned into saboteurs, no longer advocating on behalf of people who are members of marginal communities, but against everyone else, themselves included.
Will we collectively pull our heads out of our asses in time to see we’re only hurting ourselves on the whole, in the long run? Or will the modern ironic Thought Police on the left and the right give rise to a socio-political insurgency that feels its only remaining recourse is violence and slaughter?
I suppose only time will tell.