Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banned Book Week: I'm a little late with this...

but, better late than never. Yes, I'm blogging today about Banned Book Week. I've been poring over the lists and statistics of banned books and I'm amazed. There are some real party poopers out there that want to ruin the fun that literature brings to people. Mainly, these people that challenge a book's worth and merit are parents. They do so because they are supposedly looking out for their child's best interest. Well, that's pretty noble, I guess. I have three boys of my own, but I've never taken to the streets or written my local library or school board because of what my kids are reading. Hell, I'd love it if they showed more interest in reading! Here's some of my opinions about such behavior.

First, be proud that little Jimmy or Sally is reading at all! It's bad enough for books to compete with cable television, movies, video games, and cell phones. Most kids that I know only read a book when it is assigned in school. I must admit, I used to be the same way, shirking the reading assignments my teachers gave me. Now, however, I would be lost without a good book to read while I lay in bed before dozing off, or sitting on the back deck during a pleasant day.

Second, stop whining about what your child is reading (be glad they're reading at all-see first point above). The statistics for people intiating the banning of books show that the largest percentage are parents. Like I said above, trying to protect your child from profanity and sexually explicit material is noble, but do you really need to try to get a book banned because it has the words damn, hell, and ass inside? I think not. Also, I think that shielding your child from such expletives adversely effects them when they get out into the real world. I happened to look at the list of banned and challenged classics and I was amazed at some of the books on the list. There were books that I've read and never would have imagined being targeted for banning. One was To Kill A Mockingbird. I believe it was challenged because the intiator thought the content promoted racism. All I can do is shake my head at such narrow-mindedness.

Third, most of the reasons for these challenges against the books are brought up by people who want the world to see things as they see them. They majority of these people might be religious fanatics, I don't know, but I do know that they want to squash intellectual freedom by imposing their views on the rest of us. Why is it that because someone out there disagrees with something, they have to get up in arms and start a crusade? Reading is just like watching the TV: if you don't like what you're seeing or hearing, turn the channel! In the case of books, close the cover and return it to the library or get a refund, but do not try and ban the book and ruin the entertainment value for the rest of us. Just because we don't see eye-to-eye doesn't mean I have to do things your way, and vice versa.

Now that I've had my say and gotten that off my chest, here is a link to the banned books week website: Banned Books Week

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