Banned Books Week!

I’m just putting the word out that September 24th - October first has been designated Banned Books Week by the American Library Association, more info here: ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm

I actually can’t find the trilogy I wanted to read this week, but I already own lots of books that have been banned and/or challenged in some way, so I might compensate by re-reading one. I’m sure most posters on this board have read at least one banned book already (that would be the Bible, LOL) but non-Christians can get in on the fun by reading the Merriam-Webster dictionary!

What if I don't feel like reading? Can I just ban some books instead?

Reading is such hard work.

A dictionary has been banned by some people? What, because it has naughty words some kid might snicker at in the school library? Some school administrators have no sense at all. Like the school that suspended a high school senior and eagle scout for having a pocket knife in his car in the school parking lot. Someone so devoid of common sense has no business in the education system.

I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin in high school and I am strongly against the censorship of Mark Twain. On the other hand some books they had us read seemed purely aimed at destroying the innocence of students as if it were a disease. There was one in particular about a little girl who was abused in various ways, witnessed her mother's suicide, etc. A horrible thing to force a kid to read.

[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:3, topic:257547"]
A dictionary has been banned by some people? What, because it has naughty words some kid might snicker at in the school library? Some school administrators have no sense at all. Like the school that suspended a high school senior and eagle scout for having a pocket knife in his car in the school parking lot. Someone so devoid of common sense has no business in the education system.

[/quote]

I'm not sure if it was banned outright, but Merriam-Webster's dictionary was challenged because it contained a definition for "oral sex", and a parent complained because her kid found the definition.

Here's a story on it, from July of last year: guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jan/25/oral-sex-dictionary-ban-us-schools

As I recall from some news reports, this "Banned Books Week" is a straw man set up by certain librarians to simply make noise. Seems like everyone is reading on the Internet, or Kindle or buying cheap paperbacks. Do the librarians fear losing their jobs?

Give us your list of "banned books"......and who banned them, please.

[quote="JamestheOlder, post:5, topic:257547"]
As I recall from some news reports, this "Banned Books Week" is a straw man set up by certain librarians to simply make noise. Seems like everyone is reading on the Internet, or Kindle or buying cheap paperbacks. Do the librarians fear losing their jobs?

[/quote]

James, Banned Books Week is an old observance. Its been around, at least in the US, for 30 years or so. It pre-dates any problems posed by the internet or Kindle.

[quote="JamestheOlder, post:5, topic:257547"]
Give us your list of "banned books"......and who banned them, please.

[/quote]

Someone might be able to come up with a better list, but here is one
banned-books.com/bblista-i.html

[quote="JamestheOlder, post:5, topic:257547"]
As I recall from some news reports, this "Banned Books Week" is a straw man set up by certain librarians to simply make noise. Seems like everyone is reading on the Internet, or Kindle or buying cheap paperbacks. Do the librarians fear losing their jobs?

[/quote]

Well, last I checked, the library school where I obtained my degree is still going strong, and the library is more than just a storage unit for books.

Give us your list of "banned books"......and who banned them, please.

The list that Dale provided is a good start, but there's also Wikipedia:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_commonly_challenged_books_in_the_United_States

The American Library Association also has PDFs of banned and challenged books by year and includes details as to why they were banned or challenged:

ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/free_downloads/index.cfm (scroll down to where it says "Yearly Lists of Challenged and/or Banned Books", at the bottom of the page)

Actually, Banned Books Week is a bit of a misnomer, it should be "Banned and Challenged Books Week" because a ban is different from a challenge. It's not just about the books, though. It's about intellectual freedom "the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them." (from the ALA's website)

A bookstore where I live has a month-long anti-censorship campaign, but they go about it all wrong. Not only do they sell a T-shirt that says "Censorship: the Death of an Idea" (imagine if censorship was all it took to kill ideas like racism or Marxism), they have a gigantic display of a bunch of books and DVDs that have been censored. Only, most of them are garbage. Other than Fahrenheit 451 and a book of Aristophanes plays (and those are only valuable for their historical significance), not a single work in the display was worth the paper it was printed on; humanity would, emphatically, be better off without them.

But then again, this reflexive "How dare you ban a book!" "Censorship bad!" thing is just another unthinking taboo. I'm sorry, my civilization doesn't believe you can curse me just by getting hold of my hair, and we don't believe drowning is caused by witches. Why do we pretend that deciding not to allow the circulation of certain works will have some nebulous terrible consequences?

Oh by the bye, Fahrenheit 451 isn't primarily against censorship. It's against television, and mass-marketed media in general. Have you read the thing?

If they're going to ban books, I'd put my vote in for anything written by Nicholas Sparks. They guy is an egotistical, self-inflated, A-hole, who considers his writing and stories to be superior to Shakespeare and Dickens.

He also seems to have a creepy love-crush on Miley Cyrus. :confused:

Oh by the bye, Fahrenheit 451 isn't primarily against censorship. It's against television, and mass-marketed media in general. Have you read the thing?

Many times but that's debatable. Bradbury contended at times in the past that alienation via media of individuals from each other was a more major theme than censorship. Yet he has also written codas and articles on the work touching on how censorship relates to it and the irony of some editions of it been censored.

[quote="Hastrman, post:8, topic:257547"]
A bookstore where I live has a month-long anti-censorship campaign, but they go about it all wrong. Not only do they sell a T-shirt that says "Censorship: the Death of an Idea" (imagine if censorship was all it took to kill ideas like racism or Marxism), they have a gigantic display of a bunch of books and DVDs that have been censored. Only, most of them are garbage. Other than Fahrenheit 451 and a book of Aristophanes plays (and those are only valuable for their historical significance), not a single work in the display was worth the paper it was printed on; humanity would, emphatically, be better off without them.

But then again, this reflexive "How dare you ban a book!" "Censorship bad!" thing is just another unthinking taboo. I'm sorry, my civilization doesn't believe you can curse me just by getting hold of my hair, and we don't believe drowning is caused by witches. Why do we pretend that deciding not to allow the circulation of certain works will have some nebulous terrible consequences?

Oh by the bye, Fahrenheit 451 isn't primarily against censorship. It's against television, and mass-marketed media in general. Have you read the thing?

[/quote]

Fahrenheit 451 made some remarkable predictions. People who haven't read the book, or who read it long ago, think that books were banned in the novel because they threatened the government. The Fire Chief explains quite clearly to the hero that they were banned because of what we now call political correctness - the fear that some book might offend some group somewhere.

Bradbury also predicted a mass-media culture with big-screen TVs, iPod-like personal stereos, interactive shows, and inane MTV-like music videos, and the social pathology such a culture produces.

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:10, topic:257547"]
Many times but that's debatable. Bradbury contended at times in the past that alienation via media of individuals from each other was a more major theme than censorship. Yet he has also written codas and articles on the work touching on how censorship relates to it and the irony of some editions of it been censored.

[/quote]

It does involve censorship, but that's not what it's about. It is, however, one of those books where people assume they know what it's about without ever having read it, and everyone who does that assumes it's about censorship. Its primary point is about media.

[quote="Hastrman, post:12, topic:257547"]
It does involve censorship, but that's not what it's about. It is, however, one of those books where people assume they know what it's about without ever having read it, and everyone who does that assumes it's about censorship. Its primary point is about media.

[/quote]

Yes I agree but censorship is also one of it's major themes although subsidiary to the alienation that Bradbury felt was infecting modern culture via a vacous media, created as much by people collectively as by the state. That said I have an opposition to censorship on principle and I think it is one of the USA's strengths historically that despite frequent failures it has tried to hold to the principle of allowing people to express dissenting opinions even when these were unpopular or unprofitable. You contend some of the books you saw in the store you mention were garbage, that is your subjective opinion of course and you are entitled to it but it would rather defeat the object of the exercise the individuals are trying to undertake.

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:13, topic:257547"]
You contend some of the books you saw in the store you mention were garbage, that is your subjective opinion of course and you are entitled to it but it would rather defeat the object of the exercise the individuals are trying to undertake.

[/quote]

That would be because the object of the exercise is shoring up an unthinking taboo, and that, one that is only possible to a monstrously insincere culture founded on moral cowardice.

Free speech is an idea that is only held by decadent societies, where it is assumed nobody would act on their ideas. Among honest people, mere words are considered tantamount to declarations of intent—because it's assumed nobody says things he doesn't mean.

For instance, traditionally, in Apache culture, the mere fact that a person overstepped the bounds of "joking relationships" was considered sufficient evidence that he intended to kill you. That is, if he routinely said unkind things, and not just kidding, he was going to kill you the next chance he got, so you were well-advised to cut ties. That's because Apaches simply assumed nobody would do that, unless he hated you—and obviously the natural result of hatred, is murder.

Are they wrong?

[quote="Hastrman, post:8, topic:257547"]
A bookstore where I live has a month-long anti-censorship campaign, but they go about it all wrong. Not only do they sell a T-shirt that says "Censorship: the Death of an Idea" (imagine if censorship was all it took to kill ideas like racism or Marxism), they have a gigantic display of a bunch of books and DVDs that have been censored. Only, most of them are garbage. Other than Fahrenheit 451 and a book of Aristophanes plays (and those are only valuable for their historical significance), not a single work in the display was worth the paper it was printed on; humanity would, emphatically, be better off without them.

[/quote]

What is considered "garbage" by some is a worthwhile reading experience to others. I hated To Kill a Mockingbird and 1984, but I know people who love them, but just because I dislike those books doesn't mean I want to prevent others from reading them.

But then again, this reflexive "How dare you ban a book!" "Censorship bad!" thing is just another unthinking taboo. I'm sorry, my civilization doesn't believe you can curse me just by getting hold of my hair, and we don't believe drowning is caused by witches. Why do we pretend that deciding not to allow the circulation of certain works will have some nebulous terrible consequences?

I've seen the exact opposite, where concerned individuals fear that books will "make" someone think or act a certain way, that, in my opinion, is giving books too much power. I've read dozens of books where characters are involved in sexual situations. Heck, I've even read sex manuals and none of these books have emitted strange mind control rays that make me want to go out and screw anything that moves. I've heard people say: "What about the children? Think of the children!" and honestly, if parents were actually paying attention to what their children are reading, there wouldn't be as many challenges to library materials.

So yes, I say that preventing someone from accessing information because someone else doesn't approve of that information is wrong. I seem to recall that there was a question on CAF where someone suggested that they "accidentally lose" a library book that they borrowed so that others wouldn't be exposed to it, and that is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

[quote="Lokabrenna, post:15, topic:257547"]
]So yes, I say that preventing someone from accessing information because someone else doesn't approve of that information is wrong. I seem to recall that there was a question on CAF where someone suggested that they "accidentally lose" a library book that they borrowed so that others wouldn't be exposed to it, and that is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

[/quote]

Why is it wrong? Do ideas have rights? Is there a right to be heard, no matter how stupid, deceitful, hateful, and perverse the speaker is?

Again, see my previous post: free speech only exists in decadent civilizations that can't conceive of ideas mattering.

[quote="Lokabrenna, post:15, topic:257547"]
... I hated To Kill a Mockingbird...

[/quote]

Dittos. It is a tiresome glurge of sentiment. It doesn't help that it is required reading - and in addition, everyone gets treated to a double-dose, since the schools invariably show us the Gregory Peck version as well.

[quote="Hastrman, post:8, topic:257547"]
Only, most of them are garbage. Other than Fahrenheit 451 and a book of Aristophanes plays (and those are only valuable for their historical significance), not a single work in the display was worth the paper it was printed on; humanity would, emphatically, be better off without them.

[/quote]

The problem is who gets to decide what is trash and what isn't? The majority? The people with power? I'm sure we can all name plenty of places where that has gone horribly wrong. I'm sure we could find plenty of atheists who think the Bible isn't "worth the paper it was printed on", but I'm guessing we don't want them as the arbitrator of what is "good".

And as for the store display, it is as used bookstore, I imagine a lot of the deciding factor of what gets displayed is what happens to be in stock at the moment, not what they would choose if they were totally free to design the display.

I admit that the anti-censorship people can get a bit carried away sometimes. Saying things are not age appropriate is not censorship, eg books with lots of sex don't belong in elementary school libraries, but overall I agree with the idea that censorship is not a good thing.

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:13, topic:257547"]
Yes I agree but censorship is also one of it's major themes although subsidiary to the alienation that Bradbury felt was infecting modern culture via a vacous media, created as much by people collectively as by the state. That said I have an opposition to censorship on principle and I think it is one of the USA's strengths historically that despite frequent failures it has tried to hold to the principle of allowing people to express dissenting opinions even when these were unpopular or unprofitable. You contend some of the books you saw in the store you mention were garbage, that is your subjective opinion of course and you are entitled to it but it would rather defeat the object of the exercise the individuals are trying to undertake.

[/quote]

Bradbury wrote 451 using public typewriters in the Powell library at the University of California, Los Angeles. There are workspaces in the stacks, so he was literally surrounded by books when he composed the story. I was fortunate enough to hear him talk a couple of times at UCLA, which is where I heard the story.

[quote="KarenElissa, post:18, topic:257547"]
...Saying things are not age appropriate is not censorship, eg books with lots of sex don't belong in elementary school libraries, but overall I agree with the idea that censorship is not a good thing.

[/quote]

"Challenged" clearly isn't the same things as censorship. It just means somebody complained about the book, somewhere in America, with literally thousands of public school districts spread over 50 states.

Parent: "Mr. Brittingham assigned "Anarchist's Cookbook" to the10th grade chemistry class last week!"

Administrator: (sigh) "Disturbing indeed, madam!"

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