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Banned Book Week

Actually, it started yesterday, but I was busy trying to clean-up after the mess made by installing a new printer.

Banned Books Week is a project of the American Library Association, among others, to highlight the ongoing attempts by individuals and governments to control what people can read.

Looking at their list that includes the reasons books were banned can be a trip down the rabbit hole.

For instance, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, was burned by the Nazis for being socialist, but the East German government banned it because they didn’t think it was socialist enough. This was the novel that was a major reason we have a Food and Drug Administration.

It’s about the meat packing industry, and was written to protest the working conditions of the employees. Of course, nothing was done about the abysmal working conditions, still performed mostly by immigrant labor in appalling conditions, but the food is a bit safer.

A real surprise was learning that The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, was burned by the Nazis. It’s a book about a dog. What’s not to like about a dog, even Hitler liked his dog?

Even the Local Puppy Trainer had an article on Banned Book Week [polishing their libertarian credentials]. They featured a story about a parent complaining about a book her child had gotten from the local library being inappropriate.

It turns out that it was inappropriate for children, which is why it is kept in a special section, and her child didn’t check it out. It was stolen and the library wanted it back and banned the child.


1 hipparchia { 09.27.09 at 3:21 pm }

it doesn’t sound like the book was in a ‘special section’. libraries typically separate out kids books from the rest, and call the sections ‘childrens books’ and ‘adult books’.

the word ‘adult’ isn’t being used here to mean ‘might be bad for children’. rather it’s used to designate that part of the library where adults don’t have to wade through kids books while they’re looking for something to read.

2 hipparchia { 09.27.09 at 3:24 pm }

but yeah, call of the wild?

i loved that book. it’s one of my all-time favorites. looking through that list, i can see i’ve sorely neglected my education — i’ve only read about 1/4 of those books.

3 Bryan { 09.27.09 at 3:58 pm }

It’s a separate section of the Crestview Library, I had to get a book from there for a course, and you have to go to the other side to see real books, rather than the children/”young adults” stacks. The “young adults” is where you would find Harry Potter in most places, but I’m willing to bet it’s on the adult side, given the community.

Things used to be arranged so the desk person could see what the kids were up to, but if one wandered over to the real books area, they would be blocked.

That was years ago, but things don’t change in Crestview.

4 jams O'Donnell { 09.27.09 at 5:56 pm }

Interesting to see how many classics were originally banned in Ireland. But then the dead hand of DeValera and the Catholic Church held the country back for decades
.-= last blog ..Will Polanski finally face the music? =-.

5 Bryan { 09.27.09 at 7:31 pm }

The Catholic Church would have to work very hard to catch up with the Calvinists in some areas of the US. It is amazing the amount of time and money wasted on these “crusades against immorality” even today.

You wonder if some of these people have actually read the Old Testament, because it would be banned under the rules they want to impose. Sex and violence are not exactly new phenomena in publishing.

6 Anya { 09.28.09 at 11:39 am }

It puzzles me why The Lord of the Rings would be banned as “Satanic” — given that Tolkien was a devout catholic.

Of course, I understand that there are protestants out there who think catholicism is satanic and that the pope is the Anti-Christ, but… seriously.

I doubt that the challengers ever bothered to read any of Tolkien’s writings — or any of the other books on that list.

7 Bryan { 09.28.09 at 12:22 pm }

It never ceases to amaze me how many of those who demand a book be banned, admit they have never read the book when challenged, and find no contradiction in that fact.

I was a bit surprised to see all of the books challenged in the Veron-Verona-Sherill school district, That’s on the west end of Oneida Lake in Oneida County. As a summer resort town I wouldn’t have thought that it was a hot bed of religious fervor, but apparently the fundies made a move in the late 1970s. Actually, I more surprised that they had some of the books in their school library, because it’s not exactly a well-off area, although it is doing better since the tribe built a casino and golf resort.