Let us be clear on one thing: The “Great” in the Great Book Blockade of 2009 refers to the enormity of the blockade, and not that the Sweet Valley for the Emo generation ” Twilight” has now entered the canon of English literature. Do not sign up for a Humanities class expecting to discuss what the existence of vampires who play baseball “means.”
That being said, the GBB2009 is proof positive that the Arroyo administration has now finally outdone the Martial Law Era on all possible criteria of douchebaggery.
Words like Orwellian have been bandied around by A-list bloggers to describe the sudden imposition of importation duties on books in violation of a 50-year-old treaty, and references have been made to two classics (so say we all) that were previously banned by the government: Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
But, really, this has less to do with Big Brother trying to control what we read. With today’s technology, that’s pretty much impossible outside of China and Iran. What this is about, more or less, Big Brother being the sort of asshole who instead of using his power to make sure nobody pants you in school, beats you up until you give up your allowance.
Dissent has been censored in the past, as said A-list bloggers have correctly pointed out, but again, this is not about dissent unless vampire love is somehow reflective of our bureaucrat-capitalist government.
What this is is a repeat of a Marcos-era clamp down on imported books that very few (who are still alive, anyway) decried back in the day.
The difference, I guess, is that while this blockade simply stopped imported books from coming in, Marcos’ blockade on books resulted in “Philippine editions” of otherwise expensive college textbooks.
With the same brute force methods, Marcos was able to tell foreign publishers to go fuck themselves, and was able to make textbooks like “Economics Made Easy” available in cheap newsprint editions.
This year’s ban only succeeded in the fuck-you department, and in making already-expensive books even harder to get.