I like dogs. I’m what you might call a “dog person.” My dog, who my parents purchased somewhere in central Indiana in November 1999, is not only a great friend, but an important influence on my writing and art. Today, she sits approximately fifteen feet behind me staring out the window at the cold, gray earth. Did I mention she likes HTMLGIANT.
When I was growing up, a strong percentage of my favorite books were centered around dogs. There was Go, Dog. Go!—the second book I ever read. Then there were Marjorie Flack’s Angus books about a mischievous Scottish Terrier, not unlike the more popular The Poky Little Puppy, which as of 2001, was the single all-time best-selling hardcover children’s book in the country, selling nearly 15 million copies since its publication in 1942, according to Publishers Weekly. As I grew older still, I read Shiloh and, my favorite childhood novel, Where the Red Fern Grows. There was even a book narrated by a Pointer, read aloud in some public school setting, which has left an undying impression on me, years later. Needless to say, the dog books were a big part of my childhood.
Somewhere along the line, though, a shift occurred.
The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be “free” because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade. — Julian Assange