Mon, May 02, 2011 - Page 8

What others have said

This letter in response to your editorials on Thursday and Friday (“Comic book is no laughing matter,” April 28, page 8 and “Lame excuse for a lame comic book,” April 29, page 8).

First: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” (James Madison, The Federalist No. 47).

Second: “It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike everyone who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but anyone who claims a little dignity, or asserts his independence, encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by as an enemy to his power” (Aristotle, Politics).

Third: “The tyrant is proud, and there lies his doom. He is proud because he thinks of strength as his own; thus he is in the clown role, as a mistaker of shadow for substance; it is his destiny to be tricked” (Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces).

Fourth: “If there is a single theme that dominates all my writings, all my obsessions, it is that of memory — because I fear forgetfulness as much as hatred and death” (Eli Weisel, Nazi Holocaust survivor, in his preface to From the Kingdom of Memory: Reminiscences).

Fifth: “Do we need conditioned adepts or free-thinking students? Scholastic fact--factories keep many a good pupil too busy to think and educate him in progressive immaturity. Students are caught up in compulsive school regimentation which imprints on them dependency and awe of authority” (Joost Meerloo, Pavlovianism Strategy as a Weapon of Menticide).

Sixth: “If you want a vision of the future, just imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever” (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four).

The six quotes listed above speak for themselves. The following quotes about Orwell’s “memory hole” is precisely the exact metaphor to describe what has been done by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) publication of a comic book history of the Republic of China military — a comic that, coincidently, “deletes” 20 years that were crucial in the development of democracy in Taiwan. The KMT is conducting its affairs every day more and more as an autocratic, totalitarian, tyrannical regime.

It is acting in the very same manner as the Chinese Communist Party that removes undesirables from photos by airbrushing them.

According to a Wikipedia article on the subject of memory holes: “A memory hole is any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts, or other records, such as from a Web site or other archive, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened” — a concept first popularized by Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Finally, “In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the memory hole is a small chute leading to a large incinerator used for censorship.”

Michael Scanlon

East Hartford, Connecticut