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Thread: Banned books week
September 30th, 2008, 07:53 PM #16
I understand that there is a difference between banned books and challenged books, but for me in most respects there is no difference. What it comes down to for me is that there is someone out there that thinks they know better what I or my children should be reading. And let's face it this usually comes from the narrowminded, moralistic, uptight, conservative right in this country. I don't have a problem with what they think and believe and I really hate the fact that this certain group of people feel like they have the right to tell me what to think and believe. And trying to keep other viewpoints and thoughts in the form of books out of my hands or any others' I believe is wrong. As I would guess most everyone on the forum believes also.
Sorry I don't mean to rant, but this is one of those things that really burns my butt. To me the greatest gift anyone in this world can have is the knowledge we can gain from books. And I hate anyone trying to mess with that.
September 30th, 2008, 08:21 PM #17
September 30th, 2008, 08:32 PM #18
Let's be sure that tolerance for differing opinions is shown on both sides of any polemic fence.
Last edited by Whiskeyjack; September 30th, 2008 at 09:35 PM. Reason: wording
September 30th, 2008, 09:53 PM #19
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
Were I to discover that a book I considered valuable was not being bought or displayed at my local library as a result of community government policy, I would purchase that book and contribute it so that members of the public could enjoy its use. Then their taxes could continue to support the many expensive public projects they never have a chance to vote on or even know about.
Yes, I admit to sarcasm.
October 1st, 2008, 01:46 AM #20
thanks, Hobbit : i picked five titles i somehow missed until now from your list. i like to have my views shaken from complacency, so i would read a controversial book, even if i don't agree with the author opinions or language style.
... and a thumbs up for Mark Twain. I should re-read some of his work to see how it stands up after a century.
October 1st, 2008, 03:00 AM #21
What you don't know can hurt you . . . .
I can't think of any book that is currently banned in the United States . . .
Try harder. Here's a small start.
What many seem not to realize is that "book banning" typically does not get big press because it is incremental: it occurs on a local level, when some wingnuts trot on up to the local school principal and demand that this or that book be removed from the library owing to [fill in the blank]. These things are not usually done with much furore, and most principals or school boards cave like a Kleenex in a storm.
Moreover, there is private censorship. Its usual form is the "concerned citizen" who checks the offending book out of the library, then destroys it ("loses it") and gladly pays the cost. If you think that that's pointless because the library will "just" replace it, you have no idea of how public libraries work, especially in smaller communities.
So, because book banning is not a big national process with some Federal Board of Whatever doing the blacklisting, sane citizens wrongly imagine that it is only a historical footnote from Nazi Germany, nothing to do with them. And thus the wingnuts do flourish . . . .
Later-added postscript: Or just do this Google search.
Last edited by owlcroft; October 1st, 2008 at 03:01 AM. Reason: Added postscript link.
October 1st, 2008, 04:55 AM #22
Owlcroft, I stand by my statement that there are no books currently banned in the US (the country as a whole). The absence of a book in a local library doesn't mean the book is banned. A library cannot contain a copy of every book ever printed. Some books will be selected, some will be left out. It is certainly true that some of the books not selected may have been left out due to personal prejudices and the like. But such is the real world. Or is it your contention that a concerned citizen has no right to challenge a librarian's decision regarding any particular book selection and that the librarian reigns supreme?
If your local library refuses to stock a particular book you think it should carry, ask about an interlibrary loan program. Better yet, go out and buy a copy yourself, read it, then donate it to the library so others can enjoy it. All of the books on your list are available for purchase at local bookstores or on Amazon, Ebay, etc. They are NOT banned in the US and you may freely buy/own a copy. The thought police will not drop by your house in the dark of the night and take you away.
Stealing a book from a library doesn't qualify as an example of book banning (unless you expand the definition of "banning" to include theft). There is also the phenomenon of "book hijacking," where people hide disagreeable books at local bookstores so interested readers can't find them in the usual places. Look for this to occur more frequently here in the US as we enter the final month of our political season.
Instead of using the term book banning, maybe we should coin a new term, "book hooliganism," to describe the above types of activities by the misguided souls on both sides of the political fence who engage in such behaviors in an attempt to prevent people from reading what they want.
Last edited by Whiskeyjack; October 3rd, 2008 at 06:07 PM. Reason: spelling
October 1st, 2008, 08:36 AM #23
Whiskeyjack: Here's the ALA's explanation of Banned Books Week (emphasis is mine):
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
October 2nd, 2008, 04:09 PM #24
Amaunette, I agree with the ALA's statement above. I simply disagree with using the word "banned" when the word "boycotted" is more accurate in most cases. But I think I'll beat my sword into a plowshare on this point. Overall a good thread and I apologize for getting it a bit off track.
Last edited by Whiskeyjack; October 2nd, 2008 at 04:17 PM. Reason: spelling
October 2nd, 2008, 05:31 PM #25
Book banning is just part of a spectrum of the government deciding what one should and should not ever know. It also involves the government deciding who should and should not be heard. Is it true though, that such measures are typically only used by conservatives? For instance, if you were living in Boulder, CO and wanted to read one of Ann Coulter's books, how easy would it be to check it out of the library there? They probably don't stock all her books. Does that count as book banning? Jeanine Garofalo, a famous actress, who's now more famous as a one-time very liberal talk-radio host, stated that putting Republicans in jail wouldn't be a bad idea on television. She was kidding, but also not kidding. Does jailing those who disagree with you count as Thought Policing if someone on the left does it? The attempt by Democrats to revive the Fairness Doctrine is meant to destory talk radio in the U.S., which is dominated by conservatives. Does that count as being worthy of concern that one political party is trying to silence their opponents?
Right now, I think in the U.S., we're still relatively free, or at least more free than most countries. We gripe and moan, but the truth is that compared to the vast majority of nations, we are able to watch, read, and listen to what we want without the government's painful attention. I would be unable to live if we lost that, and I think if we allow ourselves the pleasant delusion that it's only the nasty conservatives we have to worry about, we'll lose that freedom that much sooner.