This week, Harper’s published a piece from a list of writers ranging from J.K. Rowling to Malcolm Gladwell, Todd Gitlin, Dexter Filkins, and Dahlia Lithwick – as well as a range of other public intellectuals and artists (Zephyr Techout to Bill T. Jones and Gloria Steinem) – titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.”
Here’s the gist:
We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us…Harper’s
Remember your Ray Bradbury: “If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture.”
Don’t think about what people will think. Use your judgement. Be thoughtful, yet unsparing. Write what is true. Put your soul into it.
If not, why bother?