I spent the whole day being sick, but no too sick that I can’t blog.
The end of this month, September 24- October 1, is Banned Book week celebration, and one I’m totally in support of, within reason. In high school, I spent my English classes with my teacher sneaking a book for me to borrow and saying “you didn’t get this from me.” Some of my most powerful moments have been from books.
Reading through the banned book list, I found I’ve read many of these books. Some of them are justifiably banned from public schools. For the most part, though, it’s people raising a voice for the sake of raising their voices. The same first amendment that says books should be available also allows people to raise a fuss about books being available.
I support reading “banned books” within reason, and here are some of the ALA’s banned books, and why people are bringing it up. These range from reasonably banned to assininely banned:
Anderson, Laurie Halse Speak Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Challenged in the Republic, Mo. schools (2010) because it is “soft-pornography” and “glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex.” Source: Nov. 2010, pp. 243–44
‘Scuse me for being blunt, but aren’t people already familiar with drinking, cursing and premarital sex because of TV? Laurie Halse Anderson has been known for showing the darker side of life without glorifying it. TV shows are awarded for being “raw and edgy” yet a book gets banned for the same reasons? Can’t have your cake and eat it, too, protestors.
Cast, P. C., and Kristin Cast
St. Martin’s Griffin
Challenged in the North Star Borough School
District, Fairbanks, Alaska high school libraries
(2011) because, “It simply causes kids to think
even more of things sexual.” The teenage vampire
novel is part two of the “House of Night” series.
Source: May 2011, p. 93.
This one falls under the asinine category. Protestors are banning this series for the sexuality involved. While I agree that books like The Lesbian Karma Sutra and The Joys of Gay Sex shouldn’t be available in public schools, vampire novels shouldn’t be a big deal. We’re already talking about a demographic that’s being fueled by hormones. Banning a book isn’t going to stop kids from finding out about sexuality. Vampires as a mythological icon has always been popular because of the sensuality it portrays. Don’t believe me? Read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It gained popularity during post Victorian Era when everything about sexuality was repressed. While the country of Australia has banned the Twilight Saga makes me smirk, banning the entire series, including the one that hasn’t been published, is ignorant.
Anne Frank: The Diary
of a Young Girl
Challenged at the Culpeper County, Va. public
schools (2010) by a parent requesting that her
daughter not be required to read the book aloud.
Initially, it was reported that officials decided to
stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary,
one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities
of the Nazi regime, due to the complaint that the
book includes sexual material and homosexual
themes. The director of instruction announced
the edition published on the fiftieth anniversary
of Frank’s death in a concentration camp will not
be used in the future despite the fact the school
system did not follow its own policy for handling
complaints. The remarks set off a hailstorm of
criticism online and brought international attention
to the 7,600-student school system in rural Virginia.
The superintendent said, however, that the book
will remain a part of English classes, although it
may be taught at a different grade level.
Source: Mar. 2010, pp. 57−58; May 2010, p. 107
Really? Here’s something that seems reminiscent of the type of control portrayed in V for Vendetta. We have enough people claiming that the Holocaust didn’t happen, and one of the classic descriptions of the terror people actually faced in World War II is being banned for exactly the reason it needs to be read. Many WWII books are being banned, including Mauz, a graphic novel about a survivor from Poland. I’m reminded of the phrase that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it, and God help us if we ever face a tyrant like Hitler or Stalin again.
The Hunger Games
Challenged and presented to the Goffstown, N.H.
school board (2010) by a parent claiming that it
gave her eleven-year-old nightmares and could
numb other students to the effects of violence.
Source: Jan. 2011, pp. 10–11
Here’s someone getting parent of the year. The Hunger Games is a young adult novel, not a pre-teen or children’s book. That qualifies as a user malfunction. Just like kids in middle school shouldn’t be watching an R rated movie, people need to be selective with what they read. Like a lot of books being banned are being banned because people aren’t taking the time to know what it is they are going to read. There are plenty of blogs, reviews, and critiques about every book out there, so do a little research, show you care.
Burned (2011) by Evangelical pastor Terry Jones
at his Gainesville, Fla. church, the Dove World
Outreach Center. In response, thousands of
protesters overran the United Nations compound
in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan, killing at least
Source: July 2011
In this case, ignorance should be banned, not the book. Terry Jones tried to make his own holiday with “Burn a Koran” day. This coming from a peaceful minister who preaches with a gun at his waist. Religions should be explored more than drugs, sex, and alcohol. It’s one of those things protected by the Bill of Rights.
This is just a few of the many books that have been banned. As I mentioned earlier, what needs to be banned is ignorance. Don’t just pick up a book with a pretty cover and hand it to a child. Take five minutes, find some reviews, and listen to the people who say “look out, it’s not a kid’s book.” On the flip side, we also see people finding fault to the point that they are banning The Lorax, Harry Potter, and Red Riding Hood. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.