This is banned book week. I like this idea because it opens a dialogue about not just books but censorship in general. Any censorship is bad but there are of course exceptions. The nice thing about discussions like this is that you get to weed out the stupid people. You know the ones who pander to the moral majority, or God forbid chant empty slogans that make no fucking sense whatsoever. I get the idea behind censorship. I do. If you look at the big picture you can see it too. People want to protect us from the big bad world. I appreciate their concern, but I think I know what’s right for me. I also know what’s right for my kids. They are my kids after all.
I was fortunate enough to not have to deal with the banned book issue because I was reading way beyond my grade level and most of my teachers left me alone. I would get the occasional asshole who would ask if I understood what I was reading and I would roll my eyes and explain it to them. That sucked because I was at a different level than my peers. They treated me differently because I was in the 4th grade reading at a 12th grade level. Sounds fun doesn’t it? It wasn’t.
The point is that when people ban anything all their really saying is that you’re too stupid to think for yourself. By banning anything that they deem harmful they are taking away your decision to choose what is right for you. If you look at the list of banned books you will see some of the greatest novels ever written. The problem was that they offended the Christian right and they saw that as a threat. We all know what happens when you threaten God. You are public enemy number one. They will end you with a righteous anger that never really comes from God.
Also banned books threaten how we look at the world around us. Most of my distrust of the government stemmed from my reading 1984. I began to watch our so called leaders and noticed that they were all liars. All of them. I really began to watch the news and saw that in order to get the truth I really needed to read more than one newspaper. Each article told more of the story. I trust no one and I have Mr. Orwell to thank for that. People in general just follow whatever their peers tell them and that’s okay but what happens when 2+2 no longer equals four?
This is an important week for literature but I think we need to keep reading banned books and we need to keep fighting censorship on all levels. This week is a chance for you to think for yourself. Stop allowing Fox News to fill your head with bullshit. Stop allowing yourself to be trampled by the Christian Right. They have no idea what God wants anyway. As a writer and a reader I am all about freedom of speech even for those that open their mouths and stupid just falls out.
When you read this blog you’ll see that I am all for this insane idea that you are perfectly capable of thinking for yourself. If you choose unwisely and it doesn’t hurt anyone so what? I shall pat you on the head and applaud your choice anyway. That’s the beauty of thought. There are of course wrong ones but we as intelligent people know that. If you have a firm grasp on reality and know that there are lines that separate fantasy and reality, then have fun. Watch whatever the fuck you want and be whoever you want. Just don’t expect me to climb into your box. I refuse.
Getting back on track some of my favorite banned books.
This affected for a number of reasons. It showed me a side of war that no one talked about. People loved to throw out the idea that it was noble and honorable to die for your country, but why? You didn’t want to go to war and you sure as hell never imagined that you would have to die a country that you always thought was flawed. War is nothing but a giant prick fight and Trumbo didn’t shy away from the realities of war.
Very powerful but short novella. This is one that I occasionally pull out because it’s just so damn good. Is it as bad as they say? You should read it and find out.
This is one of those books you have to experience on your own. Amazing stuff and one that you should read right away.
Read those and seek out more novels that people have tried to keep away from you. I should also throw in American Psycho because it’s just violent and a great parody of eighties culture. Have fun and read a book.