This is Banned Books Week, a defiant celebration of reading and of books that various asshats have tried to exclude from public libraries. In celebrating Banned Books Week, it is essential to heed Pogo's warning: we have met the enemy, and he is us. These are not books that some government bureaucrat decided you, or your children, should not read. These are books that your neighbors decided that you, or your children, should not read — at least not in a public library. When such challenges to books have succeeded, it has been because of public indifference; when they have failed, it has been because people have stood up and told Mrs. Grundy to fuck off.
So go read a banned or challenged book, or get your kids to read one.
If this issue concerns you, get involved. Otherwise one day you might take your kids to your local public library and find that the selection has been dictated by the sort of slack-jawed morons who think that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is racist, or who think that 1984 promotes communism.
[Careful celebrants will also examine the supporting materials and note that on some occasions citizens tried to get books removed from libraries, and on other occasions they simply challenged their suitability for particular grade levels. The fact that some of the supporters of Banned Book Week tend to conflate these very different categories is less honest than we might hope.]
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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