Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I posted a snarky comment elsewhere on this subject, and felt bad. Thought I should follow up with more explanation as to why I tend to be cynical about BANNED BOOKS.
I think it works out to be something centered around the picture right here. If you look at that picture, you see an elderly, well-dressed, conservative looking guy with his thumb down. And that tends to be the public view of BOOK BANNERS. Though sometimes, it might be a barefoot housewife with a pickle face giving the adventurous and forward thinking world a thumbs down.
Going further, I'm thinking the majority of people complaining about book banners and censorship are people who are either pushing an agenda (for whatever reason) or who need that agenda to succeed so they can get their books into school libraries and into the hands of more readers without parents blowing a head gasket. Admittedly, I probably am part of that group that wants to cash in. I have a couple books which are aimed at older teens, which may or may not have edgy material still when I get to the final draft. If you ever looked over the submission guidelines for Christian publishers or agents, I would be rejected on every point. And I'm sure the anti-fantasy anti-witchcraft people would be after me too. So I am riding the coattails of the movement too.
These same people have no problems turning around and censoring other people who do not agree with their ideas, or who push an alternative agenda. In my snarky comment, I said that people should go out and buy Sarah Palin's book. Why? Because I realize that books such as her book (I don't remember the name except it had 'Rogue' in it) would never be allowed anywhere near a school library, if you left it up to some of these people fussing about BANNED BOOKS week.
It just gets silly for that reason - and it's the reason why I tend to scoot away fast and avoid the argument in general.
Though if you press me for an opinion on what people should do, or the stance they should take -
USE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT
While I still won't read certain books banned by my parish priest (Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter), not because I believe there is any harm, just because I'm not into the books themselves, I might pick up other books whether they are on a list or not - because I'm an adult and I read what I want. This may include YA books which may have gay characters - if the plot and protagonist appeals to me, not because I feel like I'm a bigger person than that biblethumper over there because I'm reading a book with gay characters.
If we are talking about books that I would personally ban for my children (not that I have any), I would probably list books which have content they aren't ready for. As their parent, I'm the person who knows them best. That means I won't buy them books that are too much, and I don't want anyone else forcing them to read stuff that are too much. As I went through the whole thing myself as an avid reader, I know that when they are ready, the books will be there in the public library. Or they will borrow my books. :P
If you have a common sense and normal teaching relationship with your kids, you won't ever feel like you have to keep a blindfold over their eyes to protect them. I'm really glad my parents handled my education that way. Seriously. Mom was the one who was eager to discuss sex with all her daughters ASAP. And she shared her books.