Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Books Week! How I feel about censorship.

In honor of banned books week, I just wanted to take a minute to talk about censorship, and how I feel about it.

I've always been aware that there were stupid people in the world that have nothing better to do than to ban books.  However, it has only since I've been blogging that I really understood just how many books have been banned and for what sort of stupid reasons that they have been banned.

I guess I just don't really see the point.
I was always under the impression that we lived in a country where you could basically say what you wanted about what you wanted (obviously within legal perimeters like libel and slander).  So if we have these opinions that we can voice, why doesn't the same thing apply to books?  Here's the beauty of books: you don't have to read them.  That's right, its true!  You don't have to read any book that you don't want to.  So then what is the point of spending massive amounts of time attempting to prevent other people from reading it?  Okay, so you might find the content offensive; it has a cover.  You don't have to read the words.  In fact, I'm sure the author doesn't care if you do or not.
A lot of this applies in an education setting and it has a lot to do with parents not wanting their children to have access to certain books.  And that's FINE, if you want to shelter your children, then by all means, you go right ahead.  But there are other parents that don't want to do that to their children.  Removing certain books from libraries is just wrong in my opinion.  If you don't want to read it, don't, but don't make it so that no one can either.  With children, if you're really that concerned, put challenged books in a section that requires parent permission to be checked out.  Its a simple solution.  However to try and keep everyone from reading a certain book is wrong.  No one has the right to dictate that sort of thing.

This is something that runs rampant in teen fiction.  Parents just don't want their children exposed to 'bed' things.  Authors like Ellen Hopkins and many many others have been challenged multiple times.  Teens are going through a transitional period.  It's a pretty ugly world that we live in.  Let's be honest, the things that some authors write about like drug addiction and rape and various other things ACTUALLY HAPPEN.  It isn't just senseless nonsense.  These are things that teems may or may not be exposed to, but by reading the literature, at least they become more aware.  Once again, if you don't want your children to read it, that's your decision and you have that right, but don't try and take away the right to read from others.

It also goes the same way with changing the text of certain classics.  Not to long ago, there was a publisher I believe that was releasing an edition of Tom Sawyer that was censored.  Apparently, they censored the word nigger, citing that it would make other children uncomfortable and it was basically just inappropritae.  I just have to say that this is one of the stupider things I have ever heard.  Really.  Let's take a second to consider the time period in which it was written.  Last time I checked, that word was pretty common.  By changing it you're changing a classic piece of literature and honestly, I look at it as trying to rewrite history itself.  You might find it inappropriate or offensive, but that fact of the matter is people used that word.  A LOT.  We don't anymore.  If anything it can make you appreciate how for we've come in that aspect.  So why in the world would you change it.  It's just wrong to me.  I don't get it.

Basically, I would like to say a big FUCK YOU to the people that censor and ban books.  Freedom of speech and freedom of thought, bitches.  I will never let anyone dictate what I can and can not read, and I don't think that anyone else should either.

1 comment:

Alison said...

I remember hearing about them changing classics a while back. That's so stupid. It would be one thing if books/authors were using that word in a book today because obviously it's meant to be hurtful and degrading. Like you said back then, that's really how they talked. It would almost be weirder if they didn't use the word.

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