I was going to write a long blog post about how this year it seems there are an increasing number of, how does one put this nicely, ummmm, idiots who seem to think that book banning or censorship doesn’t happen any more. But that would require this commie pinko liberal to read articles like the one published by Jonah Goldberg “Banned Books Week Is Just Hype” and Linda Harvey’s Banned Books Week: Smoke screen of hypocrisy. And I realized that i just couldn’t do it.
Books are banned and censored all over this country, authors are uninvited when their books or their personal ideology doesn’t mesh with the ideology of those throwing the party. Saying it doesn’t happen or that it happens more to one group or another misses the point. What is the point you ask? The point is that if you want to be able to publish books like Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today’s Stampeding Sexuality; someone else gets to publish books like Mommy, Mama, and Me.The point is that if you want to watch Fox News; I get Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. The point is that if I have to deal with Orson Scott Card; you have to deal with Molly Ivins.
Notice at no point did I ask you to read, watch or accept any of the things that I want to read, watch or think. I am telling you that freedom allows me the prerogative to have those things. It also means that not matter how much I disagree with you or how much your opinions are hurtful I have to allow you the same privilege. In the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
The beauty of the system we have is that I don’t have to read Card’s Hamlet or watch FOX’s broadcasts. And you my friend never have to pick up a book like these: Lord of the Flies by William Golding; The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Giver by Lois Lowry; Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Meyers; The Golden Compass (trilogy) by Phillip Pullman; Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling; The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; or The Pigman by Paul Zindel. But, oh, what you are missing.
Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. — Alfred Whitney Griswold