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In Support of Banning Books

September 4, 2010

Banned Books Week 2010 is coming up soon, between September 25 and October 2. So in honor of this occasion — as a concerned parent, teacher, and reader — I want to offer 5 reasons why banning or challenging books, removing them from schools and public libraries, is an excellent idea. After all, proponents of censorship need our support.

  1. Banning books piques children’s interest in reading. After all, nothing is quite as motivating as making something a forbidden fruit. Advocates of censorship are fostering literacy.
  2. Censorship sometimes draws attention to difficult, obscure or simply dreadful literature, which never would have caught the public eye were it not for the publicity generated by the controversy. Mediocre books like Twilight can get their share of media attention. It makes things more democratic.
  3. This kind of censorship relieves hard-working moms and dads of the burden of parental responsibility. It takes a great deal of time and energy to help children use discernment in choosing age appropriate books to read. And if a kid reads a book that might conflict with his family’s values, the parents are obliged to spend time discussing these issues, and exploring their values, with their child. This kind of communication is time consuming. It’s better that we let others make these decisions for us and our kids.
  4. Unfettered access to books requires people to make their own decisions about morality and truth. This is hard work; it’s better to have more knowledgeable folks do this for us.
  5. Unlimited access to books, and other information, might result in a thoughtful, well informed electorate. People like this are harder for wise, savvy politicians to manipulate and control. This can make our system run less smoothly.

O.K., now that I’ve gotten the editorializing out of the way 😛 Steph Su is sponsoring a community Banned Books Reading Challenge. Hop over there to see the details.

My older daughter, who is 16, has agreed to choose 7 frequently banned or challenged books for me to read this month. She’ll be posting her list soon, so watch this space. 😉

Her List So Far:

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  3. Naked Lunch William S. Burroughs — I had to Google this, because I’d never heard of it:
  4. Why has this homosexual ex-junkie, whose claim to fame rests entirely on one book–the hallucinogenic ravings of a heroin addict–so seized the collective imagination? Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in a Tangier, Morocco, hotel room between 1954 and 1957. Allen Ginsberg and his beatnik cronies burst onto the scene, rescued the manuscript from the food-encrusted floor, and introduced some order to the pages. It was published in Paris in 1959 by the notorious Olympia Press and in the U.S. in 1962; the landmark obscenity trial that ensued served to end literary censorship in America.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2010 1:55 am

    Your post reminds me of Mr. Swift, he suggested the sale of babies you might recall, in his little letter to the English I think it was. LOL> : ) Well done. Have fun reading the list DD comes up with.

  2. September 4, 2010 2:43 am

    When I first read the title of your post, I thought: “No — I can’t be reading this correctly.” I’m glad I read on, though! I’ve wondered… Who are the people who ban books? I’d like to meet one.

  3. September 4, 2010 2:51 am

    Too funny! I absolutely love this!

  4. September 4, 2010 8:12 am

    Great post and I totally agree. Ban those books and we’re all be reading them! 🙂

  5. September 4, 2010 8:47 am

    Some very sound reasoning there 😉
    Thanks for the gigglefest!

  6. September 4, 2010 1:00 pm

    Applause!

  7. September 4, 2010 4:47 pm

    LOL! I love your list!

    This doesn’t mean I have to read Twilight, does it? There are so many other books…

    Peace and Laughter!

  8. September 4, 2010 6:27 pm

    This is fabulous. 🙂 I’ll be looking forward to finding out what 7 books your daughter selects.

  9. September 5, 2010 3:41 pm

    Fabulous!!! You’ve certainly persuaded me; I am joining my local censorship committee 🙂

  10. September 6, 2010 12:45 am

    Hahaha, great post! I was confused when I first read the title, lol!

  11. September 6, 2010 2:29 pm

    Hahaha, excellent list! And a fun fact about William Burroughs that I learned a few years ago: he shot his wife in the head while drunk in Mexico. Oops.

  12. September 6, 2010 2:34 pm

    I guess I should read Lady Chatterly’s Lover this month in honor of banned books! 🙂

  13. September 7, 2010 2:03 pm

    HAHAHAH that is the best list of reasons to ban books ever. Great post!

  14. stacybuckeye permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:56 am

    Your first lines almost made me quit reading, but I’m glad I went on. Fun and thoughtful post. I loved The Absolutely True Diary!

  15. September 29, 2010 11:49 pm

    You got me! At first, I had to make sure I was on the right blog
    :-). Love your list. Makes perfect sense to me.

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