Banned Books - Your Thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Books' started by SapphireMoon, Sep 26, 2005.

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Should censorship be abolished?

Poll closed Nov 25, 2005.
  1. Yes. Everyone should have complete freedom to right and read what they want.

    18 vote(s)
    78.3%
  2. No. Governments should have control over what is censored.

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  3. For the most part, but not totally. Censorship can be benificial.

    3 vote(s)
    13.0%
  4. Other

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  1. SapphireMoon

    SapphireMoon Of the Fae

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    Today marks the first day of Banned Books Week in the United States (and possibly elsewhere). Libraries receive thousands of complaints demanding that books be taken off of the shelves. Often these books are detemined to be offensive to the religious or moral views of certain individuals. Most of us are not aware that our governments are banning books, though every year hundreds are seized by customs and recalled. Even today, many countries excersise complete censorship over the writing that is published and distributed to their public, in order to maintain tight political and religious control.

    Since books of the fantasy genre are often the targets of censorship, I thought I'd open up the discussion to the good people of TFF. What are your views on censorship? Is it a useful means of controling obscene and offensive literature, or an outright encroachment on our freedom of speech? Are there some instances in which books should be banned, or should censorship be abolished completely? You decide.
     
  2. Adina

    Adina <img src=http://www.thefantasyforum.com/images/nub

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    See now that's a tough issue to get around isn't it.

    Personally, I'd be mortified if one of my books, or another book that I loved was banned. Naturally, I be extremely frustrated and start listing the names of who I can take it out on,

    However, for those who ARE offending by some materials and worry about the fact that children can borrow books from libraries with ease, it's a larger issue. Those peeps rely on the Government to make these 'informed decisions' for them.

    There's going to be a lot of pushing and pulling on both end. All I can say is, I have no idea if that's going on back home but I hope not.
     
  3. Richard Rahl

    Richard Rahl New Member

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    Yeah, this is an issue with both pros and cons.

    On the one hand, this country is all about freedom of speech, freedom from oppression etc. Books that are censored are not being allowed that freedom. I too would be outraged if a series I loved was to suddenly become censored, or banned entirely.

    On the other hand though, there are those who would exploit entire freedom by releasing vulgar material, that, if censorship were abolished, could be attainable by everyone. I think most publishers would prevent such things from happening, but somehow, something would slip through, and there would be public outrage that such obscene things could be available to children etc.

    I don't necessarily agree with all that is censored. Swearing on TV for example, should be allowed imo. However, if censorship were completely abolished by the government, I think more people would complain about that, than they do about censorship. It's not worth the hassle. We just have to trust that those responsible for censoring do so for the right reasons, or rather, they go along with what is considered the norm by the majority, instead of banning things that don't for example, go along with their direct beliefs.
     
  4. volksmenner

    volksmenner practitioner of æsthetics

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    sapphiremoon. can you give me a link to either the name of the law or some articles about this because i never heard anything about it and this completely alarms me. thank you. i personally do not believe in censorship. especially by the government.
     
  5. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Some books need to be abnned. such as blatenly racially abusive books, etc.

    Controversial books should be left one, i.e. those that challenge religious views. I mean they really do not offend anyone. I am catholic, and have a lot of books that show much skepticism in the religion, but they are a good read.

    What I am trying to say is, controversial does not mean offensive.
     
  6. Aemon Targaryen

    Aemon Targaryen New Member

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    No book should be banned. It doesnt matter if it is offense to anybodies race, religion, morals whatever. If someone wants to read Mein Kamph, The Satanic Bible, or Dick and Jane it does not matter. They have the right to expose themselves to whatever they want. I don't advocate reading some things, and I personally wouldnt mind if some books disapeared from the world. I am a bit religious but it would be hypocrasy to shout about the banning of say The Catcher and the Rye, but allow something else to vanish from the shelves.
    Of course in the case of small children, parents or guardians should pay attention to what they read anyway. Anyone else can make their own choices as to what they should read.
     
  7. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    the satqnic bible or mein kampf are contreversial not offensive.
     
  8. Aemon Targaryen

    Aemon Targaryen New Member

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    I can tell you the Satanic Bible's very existence is offensive to many christians. And Mein Kamph is a long incoherent rant with chapters on topics that include blaming syphillis (among other things) on jews.

    But fine. Even conceding those I don't think any books -no matter what the content-, should be censored. People should be able to judge for themselves what is worth reading.
     
  9. volksmenner

    volksmenner practitioner of æsthetics

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    i must fully agree. censorship in a so called "free society" is a slippery slope if i've ever seen one.

    any book on any subject should be able to be published and find it's way to the shelves of any public county library or public university. even the most horrid of books have certain values. but what is more, this is a republic where freedom is suppose to be the back bone of society. people should use that freedom to personally discern what they read and don't read. simple end of story.

    i personally cannot stand organisations who hide behind the guise of freedom and truthfully quest to restrain it. *cough aclu cough* but getting off of my soapbox, common sense should guide us and not fear.
     
  10. SapphireMoon

    SapphireMoon Of the Fae

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    In response to some requests, here is a link to the American Library Association's website. It contains some information about censorship attempts and banned books week. A simple google search should be able to find you a website about censorship in your own country.
    I'd also like to post this list of the top 100 most frequently challenged books. Challenged means they receive requests to be banned from libraries, but they aren't necesarilly banned everywhere or anywhere. You'll probably realise why they are challenged just by reading the titles. Many are about sex and growing up or about accepting people with different sexual orrientations.

    http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/backgroundb/background.htm#wbbw

    The scary part is that many others are highly praised, widely read, ordinary books that were probably required reading at your highschool. Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill a Mockingbird come imediately to mind. Another percentage are just ordinary fantasy books that you read as a child, like Where's Waldo?, Julie of the Wolves, and Bridge to Terrabithia. I'm not sure what exactly was so offensive about these books, but I've read and thoroughly enjoyed them. I'm certain that whatever minor concerns they have caused are far outweighed by the lessons learned from them. I can't imagine a world in which these books where banned. Anyway, here's the list, also taken from the ALA website, in order from 1 to 100.

    Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
    Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
    Forever by Judy Blume
    Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
    My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
    Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
    A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    Sex by Madonna
    Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
    The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
    Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
    In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
    The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
    The Witches by Roald Dahl
    The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
    Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
    The Goats by Brock Cole
    Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
    Blubber by Judy Blume
    Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
    Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
    We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
    Final Exit by Derek Humphry
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison 41What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents Daughters by Lynda Madaras
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Beloved by Toni Morrison
    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
    The Pigman by Paul Zindel
    Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
    Deenie by Judy Blume
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
    Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
    The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
    Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
    A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
    Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
    Cujo by Stephen King
    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
    The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
    Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
    Ordinary People by Judith Guest
    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
    What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons
    Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
    Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
    Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
    Fade by Robert Cormier
    Guess What? by Mem Fox
    The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
    The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    Native Son by Richard Wright
    Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
    Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
    Jack by A.M. Homes
    Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
    Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
    Carrie by Stephen King
    Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
    On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
    Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
    Family Secrets by Norma Klein
    Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
    The Dead Zone by Stephen King
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
    Private Parts by Howard Stern
    Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
    Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
    Sex Education by Jenny Davis
    The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
    Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
    How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
    View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
    The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
    Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
     
  11. Tarantio

    Tarantio Naruto Fan!

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    I don't think books should be banned unless their very offensive to races etc. Mein Kampf is only Hitlers view, it doesnt do any harm reading it, we learn about his views in history anyway. I have no idea about The Satanic Bible.. I heard His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman was banned in some American states, but it could be a rumour, is it true or not?
     
  12. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    I'm so glad I don't live in the US. Okay, I don't know all of those books SapphireMoon posted (actually I only know two or three), but how can you ban books like Harry Potter?? Okay, I don't really like HP, but... Is HP that bad that you have to ban it? :D
     
  13. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

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    First of all there is a difference between an individual (or group of individuals) choosing not to sell a book, artwork or a document. and the government mandating penalties against people owning or trading blacklisted works. If Walmart chooses not to sell Mein Kamph that is not censorship in it's true form.

    Although many believe that there is no reason for censorship, it is a common practice in all but the most anarchistic of cultures to ban specific expressions of thought. In some places political speech threatens those in power, in other places works of a sexual nature are deemed harmful. Whether local or federal, whoever has the power takes the initiative.

    In america, few works are actually banned. The few I am aware of are movies involving actual criminal acts (pedophilia, rape, torture, etc) and are therefore promoting the criminal act itself. Simulating the criminal act is not a banned since arguably there is no victim. Books supporting criminal acts are not only not banned but are sometimes widely available. In the case of "The Anarchist Cookbook" even the author is powerless to stop it's publication.

    If you believe the libraries should be prepared to offer any work on any subject then you need to be prepared for the fact that all of these things will be available. If you are prepared for the government to intervene you need to be ready to call attention to and fight excesses.

    All of this overlooks the fact that it is very nearly impossible to successfully ban anything from someone who has an internet connection. As a matter of fact the library is the absolutely last place I would go if I wanted to quickly find a book or copy of a artwork when www.google.com is so much faster.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2005
  14. Oddrun

    Oddrun I speak languages.

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    I think that everybody should have complete freedom to read what they want - but they should THINK about what they reading.
     
  15. Morelen

    Morelen Jer Mom

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    No book should be banned. If you don't like it, don't read it. If it offends you, don't read it. Period.
     
  16. Tarantio

    Tarantio Naruto Fan!

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    Is The Anarchists Cookbook banned in England? I think it is, but i've seen copies of it recently, although not in shops.
     
  17. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

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    Amazon sells it on their british site. Im not certain that means it is legal though.
     
  18. Ringquelle

    Ringquelle Graveyard Faerie

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    I think you should be able to read whatever you want. However, it would be wise to make a list of those books that are now censored, and put those on a different shelf, so that you know those books are possible dangerous/offending/etc
     
  19. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    I could walk right into my bookstore and buy Mein Kampf with ease and it would be like me buying any other book, and I definetely think that is a good thing(I am not a Nazi, just an example). I believe that no book should be banned, if the government can tell what you can and can't read, there is a problem there. Same with curfews, it is like they are saying, "hey, now we get to tell you when you can't and can walk on a road." Now that is messed up if you ask me.
     
  20. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    I don't know if Steal This Book is similar to that, but I could also go and buy that...which I have and I actually love the book.
     
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