So one of the perks of my job is that I get to coordinate and stage manage a talent show every summer for our annual event. We work with students with an amazing array of "talents" so I get proposals for all kinds of acts. Everything from world-class musicians and dancers to a guy who wants to recite from his doctoral thesis on tree shrews. I kid you not.
So as part of trying to figure out which proposals will actually be entertaining, which is the point, and also because the company is ultimately responsible for anything we put on stage, I asked everyone to submit the text or lyrics for anything they were reading, singing, dancing to, or otherwise using in their act. A reasonable request? I thought so. All my colleagues thought so (besides the fact that it's policy). And all 38 people who had signed up for the talent show thought so - except for one guy.
THIS guy, who is a very talented professional poet, someone who I was over the moon about getting to have read for the talent show because of the caliber of his writing, decided that having to submit his writing for "approval" was offensive and "smacks of fascism and is anathema to free speech." Um, HELLO??? Are you telling me that of all the works you've published, your editors just have your poems printed up without looking at them first because, well you know, free speech and all. They wouldn't want to censor anyone.
So if anyone out there is looking for an authority on how to make people think you're a fascist, let me know - I'm out to clean up the lack of morals of our declining society, one grumpy poet at a time.
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