Sunday Story

“Well private collections are a problem, certainly. We have no idea how many are out there. What constitutes a collection, also, is a legitimate question.”
Herbert perked up at this.
“Yes. That’s my concern. Say a guy has, in the classic example, an old newspaper announcing the moon landing–“
Genero looked at him with sly sympathy.
“Well, if this friend of yours had only that, and just that, while he’d be in clear violation, it’s not like they’re going to come busting down his door. As long as it doesn’t circulate, he’s not going to get into trouble.”
“But he could be arrested.”
“Yes. Of course. Look what they got that last fellow for, what was he, chairman of the national bank or something? It was a stack of old pornographic magazines. It wasn’t even political stuff, they were more in the line of curiosities.”
“Aren’t they all really?”
“No. No. There’s still some very dangerous stuff in there. Even the sort of stuff in the chairman’s collection, there were to be found political articles expounding all kinds of uncorrected facts. Anything of a political nature would be a stew of hate notions. Anything touching on social issues from that era would be inherently dangerous.”
“Really?”
Herbert regretted the intrigue in his voice.
Genero continued.
“But I point him out only to note they had some other, reason to come after him and the collection was a pretext. They wanted him for something else.”
“They say everybody possessing any text is in violation.”
“Any text older than sixty years was to have been turned over by 2042, yes, that’s the catch-all.”
“And images?”
“Well there’s no reason to worry about photographs, paintings or the like yet, of course, but you know President Feltyear He-Him said just the other night, the international direction is clearly toward the gradual cleaning up and elimination…”
“So, with the inclusion of imagery, it might become true that virtually everyone is in violation of the International Convention on Intolerance and Hate Communication?”
“That’s an exaggeration. But it isn’t such a bad thing. Everyone has something on them. Everyone has a stake in making things work–because everyone is on notice not to screw up or, worse, go over to the wreckers.”
“What did he do, anyway?”
“Who?”
“The bank chairman.”
“Who cares?”

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