An open letter to author John grisham

October 17, 2014

Dear Mr. John Grisham,

I watched the recent interview you did during which you proposed that it is unfair and nonsensical to hold accountable those who view child pornography. You said that it made no sense to put people in jail for extended periods of time for just looking. As though it made a major difference, you said that looking at pornographic images of 16-year old girls (who look like they're 30, you said) should not be taken as seriously as looking at images of 10-year old boys. You spoke about a friend of yours who was jailed for maybe drinking a little too much and clicking onto child porn websites, but that his punishment was too harsh. And by using your friend as an example, you extended that argument to a wider group of child porn users. People don't generally get arrested and prosecuted if they click onto a web page by accident and then either click off or notify the police about what they found. Your friend, and child porn users in general, likely did not just click and then run away in disgust.

And then you apologized. Well, sort of. You said that you regretted saying what you said. You didn't indicate regret for your views. Only for making your comments. No one who knows anything at all about you can believe that you misspoke or that your words did not say what you meant them to say. You are a prolific writer, You are a best-selling author. You are an attorney. Words are your tools.

Child pornography is not harmless. It is not art. It is not victimless. It is not innocent. To produce these kinds of images, children have to be exploited. Children, who cannot give informed consent, who cannot protect themselves, are made to do things that damage, and perhaps destroy, their lives. Your concern, as you said, is for the unduly punished consumer of child pornography. However, in order to remain human, your concern, and the concern of the human species, should be for the protection of children.

Protect children.

Copyright 2014 Michael Angel

Not JuST Spaceships and wormholes

About the movie "Interstellar"

The beginning of the movie starts with a documentary feel, which the audience is supposed to think is about the Dust Bowl of early 20th century America. The jarring juxtaposition that shows that we are watching events of the not-too-distant future shows that the Earth is in very bad climatological condition. And yet, in a world of almost no food, decreasing resources, and absolutely no hope of a solution, the heroes get caught up within a self-serving, defeatist bureaucracy. For whatever the strange reason, the leaders of America have decided to erase the pioneering spirit of humans in favor of a society of caretaker futility.

When the last of Earth's explorers leave the planet to find a new home for doomed humanity, there is a discussion that the only evil that they might find during their voyage is what they bring with them. And there is, very soon, an unexpected, violent display of a frightening, frustrating, self-serving, murderous expression of evil.

There is also a discussion about love; that love might be the evidence of something that is more than people can see, more than is currently understood. Maybe love can change the universe and change lives on a visible, and also on an invisible, level. Is it possible that love is a quantum force? The decisions made by the heroes, the leaps of faith they make, the sacrifices they choose, show, in situations where there is nothing else to hope for, that love is the only viable choice, whether it leads to failure or success, or even spiraling through failure on the way to a hoped-for success that could not ever have been expected as even remotely possible.

Of course "Interstellar" has science, and spacecraft, and alien worlds, and adventure. But, within that universe, it is also a look into whether the future of humanity is to be found primarily in technology, or if the future is determined by the hearts and decisions of the members of the human species.

Copyright 2014 Michael Angel

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