Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, head on over to I Swim for Oceans and check out her page and put your link up in the Mr. Linky box!
This weeks topic is: How do you feel about book censorship?
Oh wow! There is so much to say on this topic. I think book censorship shouldn't be allowed. What is the point of being in a country with freedom of thought, expression and speech if they want to turn around and ban a book for whatever reason? Just because you ban it doesn't mean it won't be read. It will only spark an outcry where people rush to get their hands on a book to read it. If you don't like a book, don't read it. It is that simple. Just because someone didn't like it doesn't give them the right to see it banned. My opinion but I stand by it.
Let's take a look at some books that have been challenged over the years.
"represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature." Well, it is good literature. I think it gives us a peak into what the world was like. Sure, it happened and sure it wasn't like this everywhere. But it was like it in parts of the country. Banning the book won't make our history go away. I think we should be proud, instead, at the progress we've made towards equality. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it is much better that what it was.
Gone with the Wind. What woman won't love this book? The movie was great, the read was great. Reason people want it banned? The N word. Yes, I won't spell it out, since I don't use it. But they want it banned for racial slurs. Again, we see a novel (and movie) that gives us an insight to the time period. Sure the story itself isn't set on slaves of the plantation, but you do see how they were treated and how people viewed them. Is this bad? I don't think so. I'm someone who loves to read time pieces. I get caught up in a long forgotten land or the not to distant past. Reading this didn't make me think that I need a slave or two. It helped open my eyes.
Lord of the Rings. Why? They claimed Tolkien's work was satanic. Satanic? Give me a break. It's a story. It is a well crafted world, with conflict and adventure and it encompasses every emotion of the reader as it takes you through the perils of Middle Earth. What is more enjoyable that reading how the unlikely hero beat the cruel, intellegent bad guy. This ring any bells? I get the David vs Golith picture in my head when I think of Frodo vs Suron. Satanic? People will read anything into a story they want. They go in with the mindset to hate it, they will.
The Great Gatsby. This was the book that sparked my love of reading. Thanks to my junior American Lit teacher, for making me read this. His passion for books is what sparked my love of reading. Is that a bad thing? I should hope not. This book is on the list to be banned for language and sexuality. Granted, I've read this numerous times, I can't even count on hands and toes anymore. Did the language stand out to me? No. The story is what I remember. Sexuality? Oh my. Really? This book is still being challenged. To this day. When you have people like Lady Gaga who dress in as little as possible (or as strangely as possible) and sing about sex and drugs. They are dancing and teaching children that it is cool to have such short skirts that it doesn't cover their behind and that its cool to grind your hips suggestively to dance. This is appropriate for a 7 year old but a book where the people are open about their relationships while not being married is a concern? Did I miss something here?
I read a series a few years back when the Catholic church wanted it banned. His Dark Materials trilogy. Reason? Because of religious viewpoint. I don't know if any of you have read this. I did. I read it to know what people were talking about. I will be talking spoiler points so if you have an interest of reading, don't read on. The reason why the church wanted it banned was because the main character kills God. So, I read this series. It was horrible. It was horribly written and I generally had the hope that the bad guys would win and kill off the spoiled brats who were on the adventure. Did they kill God? To tell you the truth I missed it. I had to go back and reread it. They didn't kill God. They went to help him and he disintegrated into nothing. It was so anticlimactic to the point I MISSED IT. I missed it! I had to go back! So while I think people should be able to read it if they want, I just want to warn them that it is a waste of time.
Chronicles of Narnia. Have you read these books? They are fantastic. They have religious undertones, I agree, but they are phenomenal. A child isn't going to sit up and think "Oh, Aslan is God." They are going to get lost in a wonderful fairy tale.
There are plenty of other banned books or challenged books out there. I've told you what I thought. Society shouldn't have the right to tell me, an adult, what is okay or not okay to read. As a parent, they have the right to keep whatever material they think is inappropriate or too mature out of their hands. I don't know if this makes me a hypocrite, you can tell me in the comments, the only books I believe should be banned are books that are like how to guide for illegal activities. There was an uproar over a book on Amazon about pedophilia. I don't know what was in the book, but from the description it gave hints and tips on how not to hurt your subject. This I view as wrong, and I was glad it was pulled. Anyway, I'll let you tell me what you think of this issue in the comments.
So, overall, I think my view on banned books is this: If we don't learn our history we are doomed to repeat it.