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Banned Book Week

It is once again Banned Book Week, the American Library Association’s attempt to remind people that we are supposed to have freedom of speech in this country.

While most people assume that sex is the number one reason for banning a book, politics is really more common. The reasons behind the banning don’t have to make sense. A primary example is The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which was burned by the Nazis for promoting socialism, and banned by East Germany for being “inimical to communism”.

Locally the works of JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling have been attacked for promoting ‘witchcraft and Satanism’. If that weren’t silly enough, a local parent tried to sue a library because her child snuck into the Adult section of the library and stole a graphic novel that was very graphic. The suit was dropped when the library started talking about criminal charges.


1 Steve Bates { 09.28.11 at 3:45 pm }

My favorite banned band book, The Real Book, is no longer banned. The venerable publisher Hal Leonard bought up publishing rights to each song in all three volumes (all the songs are pretty old now) and published them… at about the same price they used to be on the black market.

I got my copies of Vols. I and III the old-fashioned way, out of the trunk of someone’s car after a gig, cash-and-carry. Vol. II, on the other hand, I purchased legitimately, one of the Hal Leonard reprints. Who says there’s no such thing as progress!

2 Bryan { 09.28.11 at 10:07 pm }

On a related note, you don’t see re-runs of WKRP in Cincinnati because the producers didn’t buy the rights to package the music they played with the re-runs, only for the regular prime time broadcasts. Rather short-sighted on the part of both sides of that issue.

Thers made the point at his place that we need more censorship so we know what’s worth reading. The banned book list isn’t a bad canon of literature.

3 Badtux { 09.28.11 at 11:47 pm }

A bright 10 year old knows there’s no such thing as witches and that Harry Potter is fiction, made up, not real. That, apparently, makes a bright 10 year old smarter than most school board members in the Deep South….

— Badtux the “Yes, they really ARE that stupid” Penguin

4 Bryan { 09.29.11 at 12:17 am }

OTOH, when you send your kids to vacation Bible school, they are apt to believe that magic is real, depending on how the course is taught.

We live in a country where it is felt to be essential to label hairdryers ‘DO NOT USE IN THE SHOWER’, so I don’t rate people very highly. But then, if we had fewer warning labels, we might have smarter people…

5 Badtux { 09.29.11 at 1:03 pm }

Yeah, they aren’t wanting to return us to the good ole’ days of the 19th century, they want to go all the way back to the joyous 17th century, when burning uppity womenfolk as “witches” was a common pasttime. Yay progress.

– Badtux the 21st Century penguin

6 Bryan { 09.29.11 at 1:52 pm }

History branched down here 150 years ago. You have what happened and is reported everywhere else, and then you have the version that only exists in the South.