I've been following a news story for a while now. Amiri Baraka was named New Jersey's poet laureate and then proceeded to write a poem about the Sept 11 attacks that some believe is Anti-Semitic.
The two lines in the poem that offended everyone are:
"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed," the poem says. "Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day?"
The stanza is based on discredited claims that Israeli intelligence tipped American Jews to avoid the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Jews were among the victims.
Baraka has repeatedly said he is not anti-Semitic and insists the lines bolster the poem's central thesis that leaders of Israel and America knew the attacks were coming but allowed them to occur as a way to promote international warfare and restrictions on domestic freedoms.
Now the Jersey state legislature is going to abolish the position of poet laureate all together. They can't fire him and they don't want to rewrite the 1999 law that made poet laureate a state position because they don't want to get sued. This is the article about it if you want to read what I'm talking about.
The free speech aspects of all of this really bother me. If you don't see the massive propaganda machine that runs in the U.S. then you don't want to see it. A controversial poem should spark discussion and discourse, but if you write a controversial poem that goes against the "war effort" you'll be made an example of? Is that what's going on here?