Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DAMage Report - The Right to Read

It is National Banned Books Week. No, I don't want you to go out and find a book that you would like to have pulled from the library shelves and tossed into the bonfire. There are enough people out there doing that already. In fact it looks like the trend is increasing, not decreasing. How damn scary is THAT? Now, in South Dakota, Utah and Arkansas they couldn't give a flying Huck Finn what you read. The remaining states are a different matter as the map shown in the link below indicates. The Northeast seem particularly protesty against "inappropriate" reading materials.

Get this - there were more than 400 book challenges (requests for books to be banned) in 2007, 513 reported in 2008 and an on-going count in 2009, according to the American Library Association.

The most frequently challenged book on the ALA's list for the last three years was And Tango Makes Three, a children's book that tells the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who found an abandoned egg, hatched it, and nurtured the chick.

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn still ranks as one of the most commonly challenged books.
“Some people assume, book bannings happened in the ‘50s and ‘60s and they did,” Sandy Stuart-Bayer said. “But there are still book bannings going on today. ‘Twilight’ was banned, 'Harry Potter' was banned. This isn’t a new thing and unfortunatley, it doesn’t seem to be going away either.”

A list of Banned books including some recent surprising ones include:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – banned 1984
American Heritage Dictionary -banned 1978 and 1987
Banned From Public Radio: Humor, Commentary and Smart Remarks Your Government DOESN'T Want You To Hear - 1991
The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read -1995
Catch 22 - thru 1979
Catcher in the Rye - perpetual banned
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, Beauty's Release - banned 1992.
Daddy's Roommate - A favorite of censors
Decamerone - perpetual banned
Fahrenheit 451 - banned 1998
Forever - by Judy Blume - ban date not given but COME ON! Judy Blume?!?
Freedom and Order – banned by the U.S. Information Agency
Grapes of Wrath - perpetual banned
Literature in Society - dates not given but can you imagine?
Lord of the Flies - perpetual banned
Search for Truth in History - This video tape has already been banned in three countries.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - perpetual banned
The Valachi Papers - banned 1968

Some of these are ridiculous. However, the most ridiculous thing is that we have book bannings and burnings in 2009. Let me clarify something - we're not talking about protesting that erotica isn't on the shelves of middle school libraries.
A little common sense does come into play here. But protesting a children's book about gay penguins that adopt an egg AND is based on a real story, is the worst kind of censorship. It is demanding that personal agendas and tastes be imposed on everyone else - whether they like it or not.

1 comment:

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Just like all good book bannings, now all I want to do is read And Tango Makes Three.