Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday -- Celebrating Banned Books Week

It's still Banned Books Week so I thought I'd rail (shameless previous blog plug ahead) a bit more.
Here's the list of Banned and Challenged Classics and I'm pleased to say I've read several of them.
Here's why these fine books got picked on.  Some were sexually explicit, others satanic, and some like Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird were for uses of a word common to the day they were written or era in which they were set.
Writers deal in real life, even when we're making things up. In fact, especially when we're making things up. If we all set our books in Happy Fuzzy Bunny Universe where everyone loved everyone else, but at a respectable distance, then there would be no point to writing or any other kind of artistic expression. And if Happy Fuzzy Bunny Universe reflected real life, then we wouldn't have much to express anyway.
I live in a free country and can write what I want and read what I want and say what I want and so can everyone else here.

Freedom of expression is black and white: it's there and it's for everyone on all sides, or it ain't there at all.

This includes the right to complain and to try to get books banned. Fortunately, it also means we have the right to fight back. Repugnant as it is I'd rather hold my nose and let the right to attempt to ban a book stand because if we start dictating what we can't do, then we will soon start dictating what we can do.
In honor of the banned classics:
" 'Ah's sceered of cows, Miss Scarlett. Ah ain't nebber had nuthin' ter do wid cows. Ah ain' no yard nigger. Ah's a house nigger.' '
-Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind (Avon, 1973)
I've managed a bit of writing though nothing that will get my WIP, The Legend of Shallal, banned. Dammit.
Here's a taste:
"She bent down and met the wide eyes of a six-legged rodent. One of its tiny claws clutched the bottom of her robe."
Thanks for being here. For more or to get in on the fun please see the Women of Mystery.


the Bag Lady said...

Well, cousin, you could try throwing a few bad words into your novel....

It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and some of them seem to think that they are the only ones who are right about anything, so we should only read what they think is acceptable.
If we were to ban books strictly because they use words that are offensive to someone, there would be scarcely any books available. Even cookbooks have offensive words in them! ("Beat" eggs!! *gasp*)

Leah J. Utas said...

LOL. dfBag Lady "beat eggs."
Yes, anyone who puts his or her mind to it can find something to be offended about.

Clare2e said...

Huzzah for bravery! I love words- obviously- but when we turn them into Medusas, the mere sight of which can turn people to stone, we've lost the point of having independent thought. I don't have to respond any particular way to any particular word or thought or scene, because I have FREE WILL.

But without equally Free Expression, what's the point?

Reb said...

Well said! Love GWTW and your two sentences are intriguing.

Leah J. Utas said...

That's it, Clare. They are equally important.

Thanks Reb.

messymimi said...

The rodent sounds desperate for attention, and I hope it garners the right kind.

I remember, in both book and movie, the former slaves desperate plea for Scarlett to take charge, as they knew she could, and their unashamed use of what we now call "the n word." It just always seemed so true to how they would have been trained to think. Part of the magic of that book.

Leah J. Utas said...

Messymimi, the language use was an accurate portrayal of the people and the times. Challenging it on those grounds was absurd.