Aparently, It’s Banned Book Week

I’m 0 for 2 on being up on milestones. However, I’m still more bummed about forgetting about Sputnik’s 50th than banned book week and a comentor over at Heavy Metal Librarian sums up why:

Banned books are passe. Have the list ever been updated. It always reads like a 1950s blacklist or dry county red state goodly Christian moral paranoia.

Banned information isn’t exactly the problem these days. It’s false mythologies, misinformation, and a presidential personality cult like Kim Jong-il’s minus the fashion sense.

He’s right. As wonderful a novel as Lolita is, there’s nothing even remotely erotic about it, other than Vlad Nabokov’s luscious turn of phrase. The idea that forms the core of the story isn’t even all that shocking anymore, what with real life US Senators trolling for underage Page flesh in the frickin’ Capitol, a story about a middle aged pedophile who convinces himself that the object of his lust is in love with him is almost quaint.

Now sure, pedophilia is a problem. But its not the harry monster under the bed that some folks in the media would have us believe and nowhere near as insidious as the finely structured layer of lies, damn lies, bullshit and purple smoke that makes up our pubic discourse. Plus, if you can’t get Lolita or any other banned book at your library, you can order it from Amazon or find the text online. Just ignore the barely-legal porn pop ups and the adverts in your email for Viagra and hot mother on daughter incest action.* And honestly, if you don’t ever get around to reading Lolita, or Tropic of Cancer or Are you There God, It’s Me, Margaret, it’s not the end of the world. Of course, neither will the world end if you never hear what vile and fiendish plot our politicians are hatching. That’s just your freedom you’ll be missing. But hay, so long as we know what happens to Britney’s kids, who cares, right?

24 thoughts on “Aparently, It’s Banned Book Week”

  1. What bothers me most about Banned Books Week is that even its proponents admit it’s not about BANNED books, but CHALLENGED ones. Even at our most fascist (which would be, um, now), this country hasn’t banned books in decades. But apparently “banned” has a more alliterative cachet than “challenged” or “endangered” or even scrapping the misnomer altogether in favor of something like “Freedom to Read Week.”

  2. Books that are challenged are books some people want banned, or at least moved into the ghetto of the Reserve shelf. I agree, the word Banned grabs headlines and attention and serves more as hyperbole and alarmist than it achieves any real discussion as to th ewhy these books are being challenged.

    And I really do get why banned Book Week is, or at least was important as away to draw attention to the fact that there are still people in America, the supposed home of the free that want to control what you read or see. But maybe the ALA should get together with some other groups and do something a bit more worthwhile, like End the Patriot Act Week.

  3. Mr or Mrs Safe Libraries, your site sucks and here’s why: not only is it full of misinformation and outright lies about the ALA, it’s run by someone dumb enough to post a link there on the blog of a member of the ALA.

    Now, I may have procedural problems with how the ALA does a few things and think that BBW is a lot of sound and fury, but the ALA still does good work, and is far better at promoting liberty and access than some conservative group who hides hiding behind children, wringing their hands about safety.

    Banned Book Week might be a tad melodramatic, but there are still people in this country who do want books banned and burn them on a regular basis. They look like idiots and fools for doing it but they are out there and those slack jawed inbred would-be-fascists are exactly why the ALA was founded and why I joined up.

  4. Keith, ad hominem argument is never effective, except in showing you will not or cannot address the issues. The last book banning in this country was in 1946. And where do you come up with the idea that protecting children as people have since the beginning of time until the ALA changed the rules is a conservative idea? Is Naomi Wolf conservative? Oh, I could go on, but your ad hominem remarks make a full response unnecessary.

  5. Across the river in South Carolina a church group bought up every copy of Harry Potter within fifty miles and held a bonfire. This was in 2005. When banning doesn’t work, the gasoline and matches come out.

    “Won’t Someone Think Of The Children!” is Conservative code used to cover their desire to control other people’s lives. As if the ALA (or whatever liberal group is under scrutiny next week) is actively hunting down children with porn and sharp sticks. We’re talking about books and movies. But you know that.

    You’re creating a false dichotomy in order to draw attention away from serious issues in favor of ones that you get to define. it’s all about control.

  6. Keith, is Naomi Wolf discussed above conservative? Does she desire to control people’s lives? If you kept saying the same misinformation, do you think people will believe you more despite the truth? If it’s all about control, as you say, aren’t you concerned about the ALA’s control over libraries nationwide in a manner that thumbs its nose at the US Supreme Court and the public?

    Train Dolphins, I’m going to your diary now.

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