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 Post subject: Banned books?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:26 pm 
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http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2006/01/18/conservatives-supporting-anti-intellectualism-since-1945/

I realise some people are uncomfortable with their children getting access to books which talk about uncomfortable subjects, but this is beyond ridiculous. :scratch: :D

(I'm about halfway through a degree in English literature, and a lot of these books are actually in the prescribed course for two of my papers next year :rofl: )


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:55 pm 
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I think people should look at what their kids read and if they disapprove, then it should be dealt with in the family. There is no need to attempt to ban books from libraries or schools. They're your kids, look after them yourself!

*beginning of sarcastic rant*

Send them to "safe" schools. Keep them out of public libraries. Easy peasy.

*sarcastic rant over*

I think it's a mistake to "censor" a child's reading, though. I read piles of books that were "way over my head", books about entirely "unsuitable" subjects, and it only broadened my mind, it did not warp it. (There are people who think broad minds are warped, though!)

I've read most of the books on the list you provided. Some of them I loved, some I hated. I really, really, really didn't like "The Color Purple", for instance. I mean, I really didn't like it. But it would never occur to me to attempt to stop someone else from reading it!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:01 pm 
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I'll be impressed when my own book, denied publication due to complaints from hardcore leftists who bullied the publisher, finally sees the light of day.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:03 pm 
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vison wrote:
I really, really, really didn't like "The Color Purple", for instance. I mean, I really didn't like it.


One of my favorite books of all time. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:04 pm 
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My favourite part of that article is a comment about the irony of people trying to ban The Name of the Rose. :D

There's another comment left by a librarian who is frustrated by people who think the sole purpose of the library is to provide a safe environment for their children. That has always irritated me - parents are free to censor what their children read (though mine never did) but they do not get to choose what other people are allowed to read.

Oh, and the bit about the surprising lack of 'ex-gay authors' was magnificent.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:07 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Devil's Advocate: You can go now and get mainstream DVDs at local libraries. You can go rent Pulp Fiction, if you'd like. Theaters are expected nowadays to not allow anyone under 17 into an R-rated film. Why shouldn't libraries be expected not to allow kids to read adult material?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:26 pm 
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Whistler wrote:
I'll be impressed when my own book, denied publication due to complaints from hardcore leftists who bullied the publisher, finally sees the light of day.


Whistler, I don't think anyone who follows this issue seriously would deny that there are plenty of calls for book-banning from the left as well as the right. Banning Huckleberry Finn because it uses the "n" word is probably the classic example. However, in my town at least, most disruption and controversy over books in libraries and classrooms has come from the conservative side, and I live in a hotbed of hypersensitive liberalism (and yes, the kids read Huck Finn).

Book banning should be deplored whatever the source.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:44 pm 
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Did you know that Mark Twain participated in an attempt to ban Huckleberry Finn from public schools? Not because of the "n" word, of course, but because of its darkly cynical views on man and his institutions. He wrote, as well as I can recall it:

"I wrote this book for adults, and it always grieves me to learn that a child has been given access to it. The mind of a child, once polluted, can never be cleaned again."

Twain knew that children would learn about the real world in time, but he didn't want it on his own conscience.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:10 pm 
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I didn't know that. Fascinating.

So his cynicism didn't extend to children.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:49 pm 
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Mr. Twain had many and interesting turns of thought not immediately apparent when one reads, say, "Tom Sawyer". He was a man of his times in many ways and yet in others he was far advanced. His peregrinations through the minefield of Sex are. . . . .oh, gosh, I'll just say "interesting". :D I love Huckleberry Finn as much as I unlove The Colour Purple. I read it first when I was about 10. It didn't hurt me. It didn't pollute MY mind.

Or, then, maybe it did. =:) Along with "Kitty" and "Tarzan of the Apes" and "Appointment in Samarra" and myriad others, too numerous to mention.

Whistler, I guess all I can say is, there are many, many publishers in the US. From what I can see, they seem to publish books from every political extreme and all points between and from every religious and philosophical persuasion. Why is yours exceptional?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:01 pm 
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Vision:

My book was specially commissioned, and I was paid for writing it. But of course this arrangement meant that I did not own the finished product, so I do not have the option of publishing it elsewhere.

That in itself is no tragedy. It was simply a job and I don't claim that the world has been robbed of some great work of genius. What infuriates me only is that a third party (the NEA) injected itself into a private business arrangement and presumed it had the right to call a halt to it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:13 pm 
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Whistler wrote:
Vision:

My book was specially commissioned, and I was paid for writing it. But of course this arrangement meant that I did not own the finished product, so I do not have the option of publishing it elsewhere.

That in itself is no tragedy. It was simply a job and I don't claim that the world has been robbed of some great work of genius. What infuriates me only is that a third party (the NEA) injected itself into a private business arrangement and presumed it had the right to call a halt to it.


Ah, I see.

Well, that must rankle. I know it would rankle with me. :(

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:15 pm 
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I love The Colour Purple! I read it in German, though, and on reading the excerpt in the link I couldn't remember how the uneducated language was re-created in the translation. I didn't remember it! Normally, such language gets on my nerves, so I thought I'd remember. I went and had a look. Got sucked into the book right from the first sentence and kept reading for a couple of pages before I remembered I had just meant to look up the language. Yes, it's rendered quite appropriately. I guess the reason I don't remember it as "bad language" is that I was too fascinated with the story to get ennervated by the grammar. :)

As to the subject of the thread - I'm not sure what this is about - are those books banned or are there plans to ban them?

(I'm sorry I didn't properly read the text on the website, but it was too much text for my patience I'm afraid. :) )

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:04 am 
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Well I read the list of books that the group wanted banned, and my reaction was approximately :scratch: followed by a cynical :roll:.

Some of them seemed at least semi-understandable...people have been trying to ban Catcher in the Rye for ages...but One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? The Bean Trees? The Things They Carried? The Giver?? I read The Giver when I was about ten like almost all kids do. And while I may or may not be mentally stable, that fact certainly has nothing to do with The Giver.

I find it amazing what people seem to find "inappropriate". My only hope is that libraries and schools will continue to resist the banning of any type of literature.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:27 am 
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I am familiar with about 60% of that list and every one of the titles with which I am familiar I consider important books (which is not to say that I enjoyed reading them all; some were hard going, emotionally. But they were very important to the development of my social intelligence.)

I just do not understand book banning.

I have come across books that I find truly offensive, even dangerous in that they can have an insidious influence on those critically unprepared for the message. But even to those books I say - it's important to know your enemy. It is not possible to ban an idea.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:14 pm 
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whistler - as Prim said, censorship is rephrehensible whichever side of the political spectrum it comes from. Though in my country, pretty much all of it comes from the right. (It has actually become a political issue whether or not to ban a book about a great historical figure because it was written by a non-Indian who has actually criticised him. The horror!)
Your situation is ridiculous though - surely having commissioned the book they have to publish it? :scratch:

Yova - I wouldn't really object to a system of rating books according to appropriate age - but I think actually enforcing it would be impossible and undesireable. When I was younger my library had a policy of not allowing childen under sixteen to read certain books, and that was terribly frustrating to me - especially since most of the really good books were in the grown up section.

My current library doesn't allow people with 'adult' cards to take books out of the childrens section. :scratch:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Huh? Parents can't check out books for their kids? How bizarre.

As for that banned list - I think I have my reading list right there. And you are right, banning The Name of the Rose is tragically ironic.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:58 pm 
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Quote:
Yova - I wouldn't really object to a system of rating books according to appropriate age - but I think actually enforcing it would be impossible and undesireable.


Would it be undesireable if it were movies instead of books?

Quote:
My current library doesn't allow people with 'adult' cards to take books out of the childrens section.


What the??

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:29 pm 
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Most of my favorite books are "children's" books: Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book...heavens, even The Hobbit might be called a children's book! And what do they do with Harry Potter?

What an absurd restriction.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:04 pm 
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It gets better - the first time I went there I sat in the children's section for a while and looked at the books there. Most of them were, in fact, children's books, but some of them..er..weren't. It seems someone had been lazy while sorting the books and had decided to chuck everything with a child-related title in there.

James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. :shock:
Ian McEwan - The Child in Time

(Children's membership is open to people age 14 and below.)

I wrote a strongly worded letter. :P


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