Perhaps I’m just an un-enlightened cretin, but I don’t understand what the BFD is as far as banned books are concerned. We don’t live in an oppressive, facsist society where the government decides what the citizens can and can’t read (no, we really don’t, despite any hysterical rantings you may hear from certain people on the extreme left). Any book on that list I can either a) check out at my local public library; b) buy at Barnes & Noble.
All of the “banned” books on that list are “banned” by local school boards and/or libraries. I don’t see why local school boards or public libraries shouldn’t have a say over what goes on their shelves. There are some books that are simply not apropriate for children and don’t belong in an elementary school library. Furthermore, there are some books that do not belong in any library and thus are not put on the shelves. What am I missing?
I think we’d all agree that the dimestore porn novels that my dad used to read do not belong in an elementary school library. But if somebody writes a book with graphic sexual content and artistic merit (like the Alice series mentioned on that website), and a parent objects to its presence in their kid’s elementary school library, we cry “Book Banning!” As far as I’m concerned, the artistic merit of the book doesn’t negate that fact that there is sexual content in the book.
I also notice that a lot of the books on that list are banned for reasons that I consider utterly silly. Huck Finn for using the word “nigger”; Harry Potter for magic & wizardry; etc. However, at the end of the day, I still don’t see why there shouldn’t be any oversight over what goes on the shelves at a library, particlarly for a library at a school, but also for a public library. There will be omissions (and inclusions) that people are bound to disagree with, but them’s the breaks.
If your kid’s school library bans Harry Potter and you think he should read it, buy him a copy. Ditto for Alice, James & The Giant Peach, Huck Finn, or Vixen Cheerleaders in Cellblock D. If you’re concerned about the expense, there are used bookstores all over town. If you can’t find a copy of Harry Potter at your used bookstore, drop me a line and I’ll loan you mine. I’ll even send a dollar so you can pay the return postage.
I freely admit that I might be missing something here, but I don’t know what is is I’m missing. Please help me out here. And please try to be nice - although this is Great Debates, where passionate and spirited debate is the norm, I originally considered posting this thread in Café Society, because I want informed discussion and not emotion-driven histrionics (into which a lot of GD threads tend to dissolve).