Banned books week 2014
So last week I started talking about book banning. This week is the yearly Banned Books Week when book lovers from all over the world celebrate free speech. Far too many books are still banned and/or challenged worldwide every year. If you believe in free speech you cannot believe in book banning as well. But why does it still happen?
Book banning is extremely ineffective – it’s human nature. Forbidding something makes it a hundred times more attractive. If a book is not forbidden it would probably receive average amounts of attention. But as soon as it’s forbidden suddenly everyone wants to read it.
Why is book banning wrong?
You do not have the right to prevent other people from reading something you do not agree with. Once you open the door for banning one kind of book, you let others in. Therefore I say: no banning books. No taking away freedom of speech. Once there is one kind of restriction on what people can read others will slip in.
If freedom of speech is a human right then book banning is the thing that is wrong, not people writing controversial books.
On last week’s post Grace commented how unlikely it seems that a book like Little Women would be banned. Following this I tried to find out why Little Women is controversial, but I couldn’t find any information. It seems that Little Women was banned because it was banned. 😛 There are also so many other unlikely-seeming books on that list. The Wind in the Willows, a childhood favourite of mine, for example. There are books that I can see why they are controversial. The Hunger Games-trilogy, for example. I think the things that it is accused of being are completely false, but I get why it is controversial. I can see why the His Dark Materials-trilogy is even more controversial. But…
Book after book on the banned lists are referred to as “unsuited for age group” by parents. I never understood that. I spent my childhood reading books I was probably too young to understand. The ladies at the library tried to stop me but my mother never did. I don’t think I’m immoral. I don’t think my mental damage was caused by books. How do you even decide what is suitable for a certain age group? So kids are not supposed to know about sex? About death? But it’s right here, how are you hiding it? It’s an old, clichéd adage, but actions do speak louder than words. You really think children and teens cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality? You think their morals are so weak they can be influenced and changed completely by some ink on paper? They know it’s words. It’s the actions of their parents and the other people around them that really shows them the way.
That being said, you know what makes me furious about some parents? I suppose no one can stop you if you want to forbid your own kids from reading a book or series of books (though I still think it’s ineffective). It’s your kids, your business. You do not have the right to decide for other people’s kids, but I guess you can decide for your own. Fine. But you know what I really hate? When parents forbid their kids from reading a book because they heard from their friend’s husband’s cousin that it contains all kinds of nasties. No. If you want to control your kids’ reading then you have to check it out yourself. No hearsay. No letting other people decide for you.
Okay, now I’m done.
So book banning is here and it’s wrong. What about it? You could say we should speak up against it. And that’s great. But I think we should all do what we can. I could never confront an angry parent. But I can write. Others can speak. Do the best you can to prevent bad things from happening.
This post was what I can do. Talk soon,