Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Banned Books Week

The American Library Association celebrates the last week of September each year as Banned Books Week.

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.

By glancing at the list of the most frequently challenged books of 2007, it seems that some don't agree. Crooks and Liars has a post which includes a video about the controversy in 2006 in which a Texas school attempted to ban Fahrenheit 451. Now how's that for irony?

What's your opinion? How far do we go with the old First Amendment? Is there nothing that should be banned?


  1. Rape, murder, assault, property theft and damage as well as slander and fraud should be banned.

    That pretty well covers it in my mind.

    On a related note of interest...You knew you weren't gonna get a post out of me without a RKBA angle to it, I reckon, and remember, in the ultimate reckoning it is the Second Amendment that Protects the First and all the rest...


  2. Mike,

    I agree that books shouldn't be banned but as a parent I also think that care should be used in selecting what is on the shelves and what is required to be read.

    I'm a Christian but I would fight a requirement for kids to read the Bible just as I fight the requirements for kids to read books advocating homosexuality.
    I talk(ed) to my kids constantly about what they are learning and reading in school. It is absolutely amazing the amount of politically correct garbage that is being pushed on kids as "education" and "facts".

    The Fahrenheit 451 issue in Texas is along this line. The father doesn't want the book pulled from the library or banned, just doesn't want the kids to have to read it.
    I disagree with the idea but he has the right to voice his opinion. Wouldn't Muslims be offended by a book that broke their religious views (cursing) and featured the Koran being burnt?

    I find it difficult to know where to draw the line about banning books. Libraries have limited resources. (How about a law saying cities have to use any confiscated property or cash to fund the library instead of the police SWAT teams--total side note.)Should the libraries be required to carry every book out there? I think that once a book is on the shelves, it shouldn't be pulled.

    Just my two cents worth

  3. I hate the idea of banning books anywhere, but I can see the need for parents to approve of any books that contain "hot topic" issues. Not sure how that could be accomplished, but I can understand those who want to see it.

  4. "advocating homosexuality", bob? name two such books. title, author and publisher, so we can verify they exist. then tell us where, when, and by whom these books have been required reading for which kids, under what authority.

    note: advocating that homosexuals be granted equal civil and human rights, including the right to simply be homosexual, is not the same as advocating homosexuality. i will not entertain any arguments to the contrary on this point; if you try to make any, i'll just point and laugh at you, because that's all any such inanity would deserve.

    required reading in schools should be age appropriate while still challenging kids, both from the reading-English angle and from the critical-thinking angle. we should teach them how to read, and we should make them think about what they read, as well as about the society they live in. the older they get, the more so, on both points.

  5. "advocating homosexuality", bob? name two such books. title, author and publisher, so we can verify they exist. then tell us where, when, and by whom these books have been required reading for which kids, under what authority."

    Start with The Color Purple for one, I'll let somebody else come up with #2.

    I'm 100% against banning books....but I'm also 100% against porn and other adult meterials getting into the hands of minor children without parrental consent. So that means public places that can't be policed for people of apropreate ages shouldn't have certain meterials.

    other than that what Tom Said. Without the 2nd Amendment the others aren't worth the paper their printed on.

    Oh and on another 1st Amendment thing the #1 reason I DON'T like John McCain is his name is on the McCain Feingold bill which I see as a blatant violation of the 1A, and generally skews elections for incumbants which we need less of in general

  6. Nomen,

    I did not write as clearly as I should have.

    How is this for a better statement:

    I would wold fight a requirement for kids to read the Bible just as I fight the requirement for kids to read books "advocating the approval of homosexuality".

    I see there is a big difference between acceptance of rights and approval of a lifestyle. People have the right to live as they will but I don't have to approve of that lifestyle, any better?

    There are a couple of books that I know of off hand by Alyson books, "Heather has two mommies" and "Daddy's Roommate". I think those books, designed for early elementary age school kids push toward the "approval" side.

    Also, please understand I never said those books or any others shouldn't be in a public school library, but just they shouldn't be on a required reading list.

    Hope this helps

  7. "approval of a lifestyle", bob? garbage. or do you normally refer to yourself as living a "heterosexual lifestyle"? if you do, why should anybody approve of that lifestyle?

    lifestyles are things we choose; our sexualities are not chosen. i live a lifestyle, and i have a sexuality --- no, i'm not telling you what it is --- but the two are only incidentally related.

    ...what the hell is this nonsense about not "accepting" other people's sexuality? do you hide your heterosexuality in a closet lest the world find out you're (shock! horror!) attracted to the opposite gender? that would never do, having anybody else find out about that dark secret of yours, now would it?

    other people should expect to be able to live as openly about their sexualities as you guys surely do about yours, no more, no less. that means spousal photos on the desk where you work, bringing the S.O. to PTA meetings and social events, being known to live at the same address in shared households, and so on. it means getting your picture in the yearbook with your partner at the time on equal terms with other couples. whoever cannot accept this level of openness needs to get with the century they're living in.

  8. Nomen,

    I actually refer to me trying to live a "Christian lifestyle".

    I don't care who has what pictures on their desktop as long as the pictures are fit to be in public. I don't care who brings whom to the dance, PTA, company functions, etc. That is acceptance.

    However, I don't have to say that I approve of anyone's lifestyle. The choices people make as far sexuality, drugs, spending habits, wardrobe, etc are personal choices that they can freely make. But not one of those things require me to say "Yes, I think what you are doing is right".

    I agree to a point that sexualities aren't chosen, but how people practice those sexualities are definitely chosen. I can be monogamous or not. I can be blatant about my choice or I can be discreet; regardless of my sexuality. An example of this is both the KKK marches and Gay Rights parades. 1st amendment rights allow each group to have freedom of speech and I'll fight for both groups to express themselves. But after seeing way too much skin and sexual contact at too many Gay Rights parades, I don't have to approve of how they exercise that right. And I would say the same thing about hetero, bi, tri-sexuals, KKK, Animal rights advocates, Furries, etc.

  9. about excesses of public display during pride parades... i'd explain why those arise, and why they're irrelevant to the point, but Ed Brayton said it shorter than i can.

    a bunch of other comments on that thread are worth reading, too. it's amazing how often the various blogs i read seem to comment on the same kinds of issues simultaneously yet apparently not be aware of each other...

  10. I'm with Nomen on this one. We should use our reason to overcome whatever prejudices we may have been saddled with. I don't think there's anything wrong with homosexuality. I think it's natural and right for a certain percentage of the people, in spite of what some religions and cultures say.