Monday, September 25, 2006

It's Banned Books Week.

The America Library Association maintains a list of well-respected novels that have been challenged or banned. Some of these, I can almost understand (though I disagree with) why parents wouldn't want their kids reading the books - Lolita, for example. Others, however, demonstrate beautifully the silliness and futility of censorship:
  • The Call of the Wild. Are you kidding? I read this book somewhere around fourth grade. Sure, it contains some graphic scenes of cruelty to animals, which were kind of shocking, but unfortunately, those things happen.
  • 1984. It was challenged, oddly enough, because "Orwell's novel is 'pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter.'" I don't know what version they were reading in Jackson County, Florida in 1981, but if any book is pro-Communist, it isn't 1984. Its hero rebels against a government which goes by a shortened form of "English Socialism". What was wrong with those people?
  • The Great Gatsby. It was challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, South Carolina "because of 'language and sexual references in the book.'" Evidently the English department didn't notice that it portrays the people engaging in "language and sexual references" as fake disasters of people.
Ban the ban.


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