I Don't Understand This Business About Book Banning

My mistake, then.


A couple of times I’ve found it in the library catalog but it’s always listed as “missing.”

Yes. Pedophillia means an adult who is sexually attracted to children. In this case, it was children with other children, mostly in the kind of “you show me your’s, I’ll show you mine, let’s play doctor!” kind of thing. And even then, it was included to show that this society, the “Brave New World” was WRONG.

I read it when I was a senior in high school-17 years old. I wouldn’t want it in an elementary school library, but for high schools, it’s fine.
HeyHomie-the books in question would NOT be available to children. They would be in HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARIES.

By the time someone is in high school, they’re old enough to choose their own reading material.

And Incubus is right. Hearing that certain books were banned made me even more interested in reading them! Nothing like forbidden fruit.

I believe Little Black Sambo was banned for the awful drawings that, unfortunately, influenced many animators regarding drawing Black people.

I read it as part of a genetics course I took when I was 15. I can’t say I share your opposition to it as I was fascinated by the ethical questions it raised and thereafter started reading Huxley’s other works. As other posters have noted, there is no pedophilia in the book; it is, however, a description of a dystopia that Huxley believed our society was evolving to, and as such contains scenes that portray a belief system that clashes with our sense of morality. I’m surprised you didn’t catch that, as it was the main (and fairly obvious) point of the novel.

As to the general question of whether some books should be banned, I would say no. I’m completely against censorship and I don’t think any literary work merits suppression. In the case of school libraries, I would agree that the parents have a right to request that some books not be permitted, although I highly doubt that a book (especially one like BNW) could actually be detrimental to a child’s development. A far more sensible reason for restricting some books would be the limitations in the school’s space and budget. Since most elementary school children would most likely not be interested in BNW it need not be included in the school’s list of desired books*. If a parent has an objection to a book’s content, they should have to present a reasonable case to a committee of parents and teachers (and I would not be surprised if the number of complaints decreased drastically as the moronic parents who, feeling insecure in their stringent social mores, try to impose their beliefs on everyone else would be to embarassed to admit that they had never actually read the book they had been so vigorously condemning).

But as far as adult public libraries go, I can’t imagine any book whose content should preclude it from being available. I invite dissenters to produce examples that they deem justifiable.
*But what do I know? I read The Complete Sherlock Holmes in 4th and 5th grade and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now find that it was on a list of censored books. Go figure.

Brave New World

It’s been years since I read it but, OTTOMH things folks who didn’t understand the book may find objectionable-

That there is a mandated state religion, all crosses have been turned into T’s to symbolize the prophet Ford, who gave the world the assembly line.

Total sexual promiscuity. “Everybody belongs to everybody.” Ritual orgies as part of the state religion. There is a scene in which a small girl is upset that one of her classmates won’t play doctor with her. One of the World Controllers. Mustapha Monde, tells her that the boy was wrong in refusing and that she should find another boy. He then explains how important it is that the children be encouraged to play with eachother in a sexual manner.

Soma- This drug has all the pleasant effects of alcohol, marijuana, etc but none of the side effects. It is legal and provided free to everybody.
The Abortion Tower. When the state mandated birth control fails, abortions are not only available but required by law. A pregnant woman simply goes and gets an abortion. It is considered no big deal.

The depiction of Christianity. The Christians exist only on reservations. They have interbred with the Indians there and the belief systems have merged to produce a strange new faith.

There may be no direct power to remove books from libraries, but what about when legislators and/or city councils are sympathetic to attempts to remove books from public libraries? Here’s an article from American Libraries a few years ago (the original Arizona Republic article was in their pay archives, unfortunately).

And now when you search the Mesa Library catalog for “el libro vaquero” or even “libro vaquero” (even both without parentheses in the more general search box), guess what? No results. I hope that they just aren’t catalogued, but I don’t know why they would have an uncatalogued series of comic books.

(In a final ironic twist, this concerned citizen is now on the library advisory board. )

The most amusing (if there can be anything amusing about banning/challenging books) attempt, was (according to my “Most Challenged Books of 1997” printout) someone trying to get Everything You Need to Know About Abstinence banned for… sexual content.

According to ALA, the decision is made by a “reconsideration committee, comprised of representatives of all library users and the librarian”. (Or, to be specific, this committee makes a recommendation to the administrators. I suppose the admin can refuse to follow this recommendation.) It’s probably this kind of committee which is mentioned in lel’s cite. ALA also say “A number of battles have been lost because the challenge hearing has been poorly organized”, so I would guess from this that it’s not unheard of that libraries have had to remove books the librarians would have preferred to keep.

Well, yes, in general terms. If I wanted the city to spend more money on parks, I’d vote for a party which is in favour of that, and complain if they didn’t keep their promise. But I wouldn’t expect to be heard if I wrote to city council demanding that they dig up all yellow roses because I don’t like that colour. Besides, when a library has bought a book, the tax money has been spent already. If that book is thrown away because I demand it, the tax money is more wasted than if the book is allowed to stay on the shelves.

You don’t? I can. If I go to the web page of my local library, there’s a form I can fill out to request that they buy a book. I expect them to take such requests into serious consideration when deciding which books to buy. If I ask them to remove some book which they’'ve already bought (say, “Mein Kampf” or “Lolita” or “Preacher” or “The Hardy boys”) I expect them to say “Forget it” (preferably phrased more politely :slight_smile: ).

Plus which, the students don’t show any respect for adult authority. They govern themselves by way of the “secret society”, and one of their pranks is the last straw that sends a teacher into a nervous breakdown.

I have to confess that about 15 years ago I complained about a certain publication that was carried by my local public library, and they eventually stopped subscribing to it.

This was the newspaper of the Institute for Historical Review. If you’re not familiar with this organization, their main goal is to “prove” that the Holocaust did not happen.

Every issue of this newspaper was filled with the vilest racism and anti-Semitism imaginable.

I wrote a long letter to the head librarian quoting many excerpts. My goal was to show that unlike cries of “racism” in, say, Huckleberry Finn, in this case the racism was clear and obvious and an integral part of the newspaper’s editorial policy.

I don’t know how on earth the library got this subscription in the first place, but they eventually stopped subscribing. I like to think I played a role.