Name some of your favourite books, off the top of your head.
Well guess what, I can bet you that at least 1 of those books has been challenged or banned from libraries and/or schools. For instance, the following titles are all heavily challenged.
1. Captain Underpants
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
3. The Kite Runner
4. The Hunger Games
5. Harry Potter
6. To Kill A Mockingbird
7. Brave New World
8. The Catcher in the Rye
9. Of Mice and Men
10. essentially every book I thought was pretty good
Some of you may snicker gleefully at the knowledge that Fifty Shades of Grey as well as Twilight are also on this list, but think about it. If they’re banned from reading, nobody will know what they are, and we won’t get to see all these cute memes and silly (and not so silly) criticisms. The fun in Twilight and Fifty Shades comes about because they’re so popular and well-known.
These bans take place mostly to protect children from undue influences, and also to prevent boys from getting Their First Erection (yup I told you this blog was going to get banned), and kids from Their First Gunfight, Their First Swear Word or Their First Realisation That The World Isn’t All Pinky Pie. Not that Enid Blyton books are any bad, but can you imagine being 12 years old and still forced to read Enid Blyton and nothing else?
Because “force” is indeed what is implied here. Censorship is placing a false wall around the children, shielding them from the reality out there. I can understand when parents decide not to buy a book or video game for their kid till they are of a certain age and have been educated enough to acquire some intellectual maturity, but if society decides to interfere on a large scale it gets a bit contrived. Many kids started to love reading only after Harry Potter, and I don’t see them growing up any bad.
This reminds me of a picture I saw some time back.
This picture is entitled Message of Love From The Dolphins, The hypothesis is that only adults and dirty-minded people will see a man and a woman getting it on; innocent infants will only see the dolphins. While I don’t really believe this hypothesis for a moment (the foreground is too obvious from the background), the reasoning behind the Banned Books seems to me to follow the same pattern. Harry Potter is banned for being ungodly and offending religion, but I doubt any adolescent really thought that hard about religion while reading it, and I don’t see Christians switching to atheism after the novel.
There are some pretty silly reasons for challenging books too. For instance, To Kill A Mockingbird was challenged for institutionalising racism, and Animal Farm had images of alcoholic drinks and pigs which went against Islamic values. Has anyone ever heard of an allegory?
If you agree that some of your favourite books don’t deserve to be shamed like this, take part in Banned Books Week! It started yesterday (well, it’s still today in American time) and lasts up to the 28th (Saturday). There’s a banned books shout-out going around in the United States but you could always pick up a banned book (there’s no lack of choices) and read it aloud in public (or to your friends and family). There’s a spiffy website for this here: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/
And can someone please tell me why Goosebumps is also on the list? For inciting horror in young readers, I suppose?