Banned books week

Gaugh. Really tired after a particularly busy week; thus happy to notice it’s the last week of September, and thus the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. Hence the following repost from last year.

* * *

The last week of September is a time to remember that though this world of ours is better than any past, no matter how fondly remembered with the illusions of distance, there still is plenty of stupidity, timidity and prudishness everywhere.

And, yeah, I do know this is an American week of awareness, something I as a Finn don’t “officially” fall under, but the subject, and the need to remember that such a thing happens, is universal.

There still are people that think ignorance is the way to go.

There still are people who think some words on a page are a poison, a contagion, an unspeakable evil that should be locked away or burned; people that don’t believe human minds can read something and still disagree with it. (Then again, minds that have read but a little are easily corrupted; that’s why one should read everything!)

There still are loads and loads of people willing to make your choices for you, even for your reading material.

There still are too many people who think their children are best brought to adulthood by keeping the nature of life and reality hidden from them.

There still are too many people who think mere entertainment is bad and sinful (whatever that might be), or think children will take fiction for reality. Children are stronger than that. (One is tempted to say that in many cases — coughfundamentalistchristianscough — the banners themselves are the ones that’ve been tricked into believing a fiction true!)

There, to say it all shorter, still are too many prudes, tyrants and just generally misguided cowards for this week to be ignored.

Banning books is saying that some words can’t be spoken, some thoughts can’t be formulated, some ideas can’t be allowed to spread free.

Banning books is censorship; something that has no place in a free society.

Banning books is propaganda, squashing an idea or a viewpoint that some authority dislikes; such action has no place in a free society.

Banning books is a way of forcing one’s own opinions and personal prohibitions on others. It is like a housewife leading a pitchforked mob cleansing the city of strawberries since she’s allergic; the difference is that banning books is a quiet, insidious crime, and something much easier to conceal under various robes of sanctimony.

Banning books is the deed of a tyrant that prefers to keep his slaves dumb and thus compliant. Often this happens inside a single household.

Banning books is an insult: it is a scream that you, the prospective reader, can’t be trusted, because you are pitifully weak and fragile, dumb and easily persuaded, and prone to shatter and be changed if given a single glimpse of an alien world. Then again, if you’ve been brought up sheltered from thought and reality, as book-banners often want to, you most likely have become a gullible idiot from sheer intellectual starvation; such is the nature of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Banning books isn’t protecting children; it’s burying them alive so no perceived evil of the world, no scary different thing can touch them; it’s making them into mental midget pets of the parents so they will do as their father and mother say and never grow up to be real adults of their own.

Childhood is a transitory stage. Books are one of the most important methods of transit. Okay?

Banning books is something that really, really, really pisses me off, though I’ve never encounter such an evil thing in real life. (Then again, maybe I have but haven’t noticed — it is an insidious crime.) I hope I never will, because then someone might lose limbs.

If I don’t find time to write anything more on the subject, you can see my last year’s (2007) screed on this.

2 Responses to “Banned books week”

  1. Bob O'H Says:

    Damn, I should get more sleep – I somehow read this as “Banned Banjos Week”.

  2. masksoferis Says:

    Now, that I’d have trouble deciding which side to plonk for.

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