Challenging Authority

I usually don’t do this style of post but I after much pondering I thought this would make for some thought provoking writing.

Last night I was going through a list of the most challenged books in public libraries/school libraries. The list also featured why each book was usually challenged. Very few books featured this reason, but I came across one or two that had reasons like “encourages disobedience” and “challenging authority”. The question immediately popped into my mind as to why that would necessarily be a bad thing.

It’s interesting to note that very few books actually broach the topic at all of challenging or disobeying authority, and those that do are usually depicted in a less than savory light. That’s probably because (especially in the case of children) disobedience or undermining authority is considered it’s own kind of heresy. Challenging authority is not presented as a healthy or ideal thing to do, but rather as something that ultimately seeks to dismantle and erode social norms/institutions. A child who disobeys or challenges their parent’s authority is unruly and needs to be disciplined. A child who disobeys or challenges a teacher in school is hampering the teacher and causing problems for the school.

Ironically, despite such depictions, we can easily concoct scenarios where obedience would not be desirable at all. For example if a parent or teacher asked a child to do something deeply unethical or illegal most people would sensibly not want them to obey. Why is it then that more often than not challenging authority is seen as such a bad thing?

Personally I think it’s because such actions (regardless of the age of the people involved) are depicted in black and white. Often times of course invoking the black white fallacy. It’s either you believe in strict authority for people to follow or you believe in absolute chaos and anarchy where no one obeys anything at all. This type of logic though is complete nonsense. Just like there are plenty of points between fascism and anarchism in the traditional left to right political spectrum, disobedience does not tantamount to the complete disarray of any given institution whether it’s families, schools, or businesses.

If a parent asked a child to steal something for them, if a teacher instructed a student to physically assault another student for speaking out of turn, or if an employer ordered an employee to break the law to financially benefit the employer’s business, most people sensibly would hope that they would refuse.

Challenging authority is not always done for the right reasons but it is fundamentally wrong to assume that all challenges to authority are unfounded. Much of the major changes in American history have come from people who disobeyed or dissented from those in power, and ironically, despite being reviled in the moment, they are often applauded for their actions in the future.

The general consensus should not be complete obedience but rather to ponder which authorities should be obeyed, when they should they be obeyed, and why.

One More Poem for the Road – Getting Closer to Finishing “Blue Autumn”

So unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish my next anthology, Blue Autumn, by the end of February. I am getting really close to being done though. Currently finishing up stuff for the cover and getting down to the last poems I need to workshop. In the mean time I thought I’d share one more poem that will be featured in it. It’s rather cynical so be forewarned.

Chastity

Love is harsh because it fools you
into thinking that people want you.
It leaves all your passions crushed
and all your ardor desires rushed.

Love is hard because it hurts you.
It abandons and deserts you.
It makes you think that you are sacred
but instead fills you with hatred.

Love is sharp because it cuts you.
It mutilates and corrupts you.
It makes all hope seem stale and bitter
then scars your mind with pain and blisters.

Love is tough because it drains you.
It makes each aching fault enchain you.
It breaks your spirit down with stones
and then bleeds you hollow to your bones.

The Title of This Poem Has Been Censored for Your Protection

So I wrote this poem a while back based off a quote I had seen before online. I thought I’d share it since I’m still working on other stuff. I’m happy to say that I’m making good progress on writing more poems for the next anthology. I’m hoping I’ll be done before the end of the month but we’ll see how it goes. In the mean time enjoy.

Compassion – Another “Blue Autumn” Sample

Compassion

My brother
I will not harm you
For wearing a shirt of wool and cotton

My father
I will not stone you
Because of the sabbath day forgotten

My sister
I will not force you
To marry the man who raped and hurt you

My mother
I will not hate you
Because of sins that did subvert you

My son
I will not strike you
Just cause god says it is justified

My daughter
I will not beat you
For your love of women you’re ostracized

My enemy
I will not slay you
Just because the lord says you're my foe

My friend
I will not kill you
Just because the bible told me so

Murder Methods – A Dark Exercise in Wordplay

Felt like having some fun with this.

Murder Methods

Thrust and stab
Assassinate
 
Burn and scorch
Incinerate
 
Rip and tear
Eviscerate
 
Blaze and torch
Eradicate
 
Slay and kill
Annihilate
 
Cut and slash
Decapitate
 
Slice and shred
Eliminate
 
Crush and smash
Obliterate 

~Christopher Ferguson

Trace Memory – Small Sample from “Blue Autumn”

Still slowly working on finishing up more poems for my next anthology, “Blue Autumn”. In the mean time enjoy this small sample.

Trace Memory
 
The shadows rave and blink at me
And the lights phase into a galaxy
I trace and dissolve into a Greenwich ember
Even though I forget the shadows remember 

          ~Christopher Ferguson