I vividly remember the day my mother took me to get my first library card. We went into the children’s section, two rooms I can still picture clear as day. The librarian went to issue me a child’s card (one that would only allow me to take out materials from the children’s rooms) and my mother stopped her – Mom wanted me to have access to the whole library.
5-year-old me didn’t run off and read Lady Chatterley’s Lover or anything¹, but I was always encouraged to and never prevented from reading whatever I wanted.
This is Banned Books Week, and now more than ever, I’m grateful that I grew up in a country that supports both the freedom of speech and the press. However, despite the First Amendment, censorship is unfortunately alive and quite well, thankyouverymuch. And no matter how badly we think we have it here in the United States, it is far, far worse in many other countries around the globe. PEN America’s site provides a searchable database of countries where writers are being persecuted (or worse) for expressing themselves.
Who’s bitching about books here at home?
I’m willing to bet the other 7% is comprised of people like My Asshole Neighbor, That Guy Who Doesn’t Wash His Hands In The Work Bathroom, and That Lady Who Almost Ran You Over In Her Giant Hurry To Pull Out Of The Parking Lot And Into Traffic.
Surprisingly, Buzz Killington isn’t just a parent trying to protect his special snowflake from something at school. Public libraries are the number one source of challenged books. This can be somewhat dangerous, as library directors have wide latitude over which books to include in their collections.
And just what, pray tell, are they bitching about? Well, everything:
“Racist to whites”… “liberal propaganda”… “confuses children”…
Stop the world. I want to get off.
This week, I’ll be bringing you posts that focus on specific banned books and the overarching reason why they are in Big Trouble.
- on Wednesday – the “Cultural Context” Edition
- on Thursday – the “Raised In A Bubble” Edition
- on Friday – the “I Can’t Even” Edition
Keep on reading this week – you’ll laugh, you’ll roll your eyes, you’ll wonder what the hell is wrong with your fellow man. And stand up for your First Amendment rights – read a banned book!