It’s Banned Books Week.
Virginia Lee, over at her amazing blog wrote about it and included a few links like this one to the Forbidden Library.
It was fascinating, in a chilling way, to read the titles of books that have been banned or challenged.
The Nazis burned Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild. I really don’t know what to say about this beyond book burning is never right. I haven’t read it, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it was a danger to any society.
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell was banned at a California High School. It was challenged in Illinois due to its use of the word “nigger.”
Much as that word makes me shudder, it was in use when Mitchell wrote it and certainly in the time period in which her book is set.
It is reflective of the times and not using that word in proper context is a lie, plain and simple.
We can’t go around sanitizing everything because that's a lie, too. You can argue that fiction is lie if you like, but don’t bother doing it around me. The greatest truths are disguised as fiction.
Using the words appropriate to the times, especially those that make us cringe, shows us how much we’ve grown as a society.
If it doesn’t, then it shows us that we need to grow.
And in a lovely bit of irony Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury had its cuss words blacked out for school use.
Perhaps whoever did it was making a point as the book is about censorship and book burning. Somehow I don’t believe it’s the case.
At the top of the post I wrote about a book not being a danger to society. No book is a danger to any free and open society that is a democracy in practice as well as in name.
The only danger to society presented by books is they create and foster a society of thinkers. Who would want a world of intellectually curious critical thinkers?
Haec Sunt Mea Ornamenta
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