Banning Books, day 2

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.” — Claire Booth Luce

“Every burned book enlightens the world.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
— Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, American playwright (1888-1953)

Why do people attempt to ban books?  I think the biggest reason is fear.  Fear of the unknown, or in some cases the known but despised.  The problem with banning books is who decides what is offensive?  As I was looking around at the multitude of sites out there about challenging books I found more than one offensive, but that doesn’t mean I am going to try and deny access to these sites or flood their message boards with hateful email. 

Also, I do see the difference between finding a book that is required reading in high school offensive and trying to get offensive books removed from the public library.  I tend to think that they are both misguided, but the intent from the parent is from a different, more understandable place.  But, unless the parent plans on keeping the child at home or on a commune for the rest of his or her life I think it’s important for said parent to realize that there is a big world out there that kids need to be aware of.  Find a book distasteful or dangerous?  Why not use it for teaching a life lesson instead of trying to hide from them what is out in the big, bad world. 

Judy Blume has written some wonderful things about censorship and she should know since many of her books have been challenged.

I was surprised that so many books are still being challenged and in some cases banned.  Too many to list today, but tomorrow I’ll have a quiz to see if you can guess why a book was banned.  Some of them are pretty funny.

One thought on “Banning Books, day 2

  1. Elena says:

    You are definitely right, I’m sure fear is the root of it.

    In a way I appreciate how incidents of censorship demonstrate the power of the written word, how it makes some people act crazy! It affirms my suspicion that books are a great tool.

    But it also makes me sad that people would rather turn away than talk about something. If it is important enough that someone bothered to write about it, then it might very well be worth discussing, even if we disagree and end up shredding it with logic.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    Thanks for saying I am right 🙂 I know there are many reasons people try to ban books, but it does seem a lot of it comes down to fear.

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