Letter – Censorship? Not even close

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I often enjoy Publisher Emeritus John Edwards’ usual fare of folksy wisdom and anecdotes of Isle of Wight’s days gone by. As the pace of change in the county accelerates, his knowledge of a vanishing time and place is ever more valuable.

However, as is increasingly the case when Mr. Edwards decides to discuss the current century, his reflexively partisan take is considerably less well-informed. Mr. Edwards’ column last week (“Censorship hasn’t, and won’t, accomplish anything”) is a case in point.

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Very simply, deciding what is and is not appropriate for school curricula and libraries isn’t censorship, but rather the most basic task of a school system. The column’s ridiculous comparison of such discussions to Nazis and the Middle Ages Catholic Church is so absurdly hyperbolic as to border on parody, especially as “misinformation and disinformation” are decried just a few lines above. As a certain wise fellow once said, “Physician, heal thyself.”

Mr. Edwards clearly has never actually taken the time to avail himself of the actual materials and concepts, considered by many to be pornographic and racist, that are being debated not just in Isle of Wight but in school board meetings nationwide. He might be forgiven for this given that they are often too graphic to be shown in news reports (is this censorship, Mr. Edwards?), but the content is easily accessible for review via the internet.

If he can’t even attempt a good faith characterization of what the issues entail, perhaps the publisher emeritus should stick to looking back at the tales of mid-century farming techniques we’re so fond of and leave the rest of us who have current skin in the game (a.k.a. school-aged kids) to be the ones moving forward with these decisions.


Thomas Seymour