Thursday, October 20, 2005

Banned Books Rant

You'll have to excuse me while I go on a tirade here. It all started with Anne-Marie's blog about banned books and then her follow up article (I apologize, I couldn't find her archived original article), with which I whole heartedly agree. Some of these schools, towns, etc banning books are just outrageous. Granted some of these books I wouldn't let my children read, but I'm certainly not going to ask they be banned from the library. There are some on the list about which I might be concerned if they showed up on my daughter's 7th grade reading list, but because they are SO not appropriate for 7th grade (ie: The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein), but there ARE people who want to read these books, who are in the appropriate ranges of age, maturity, and responsibility to read them. It is not Mine to dictate if others read these books. It IS mine to dictate if I feel my children should read them.

>Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Wow. Read my comment below to Anne-Marie's posting.

I feel compelled to comment on the banned books AGAIN, as I commented on the list the first time. Why is it that people feel the need to tell us what we can and cannot read? What happened to freedom of expression? What good is freedom of expression if no one is allowed to see, hear, or smell the expression because a certain group of people are opposed to it.

If my child isn't going to be allowed to read a book, it's going to be because I find it inappropriate, not because someone else does. I agree with Anne-Marie about the newspaper: there are things in there that are REAL, happening every day. The newspaper is readily available. There is no age restriction for purchase, no warning label on the paper that says, "Warning: This paper contains violence, mass destruction, sexual abuse, child neglect, controversial political beliefs, controversial relgious beliefs." No. It's out there for anyone. Why ban the books.

Personally, I went back to the American Library Association site and printed out the books. I'm going to read them all and then have my children read them - if I(captital, bolded, italicized, underlined) find them to be suitable. And Judy Blume for Pete's sakes?! I don't think I would have survived puberty were it not for "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." - hmm, let's see, that would offend those who don't believe in God as a superior being, those who don't believe that the reproductive system and all of its inner workings should even be breathed about because it might encourage promiscuity, it might encourage girls to use...God forbid....the T-word when they have their periods...

It was at this point that I figured I should probably continue my rant over on my blog instead of using up all of her comment space.

There ARE books on that list that I, personally, do not feel are appropriate for my children (15, 13, &9), but I judge that by their own maturity level, not by what society deems appropriate. Good grief, I would have loved to have given my daughter MY copy of Are You There God?... when the time came. It's almost like a rite of passage, that book. Anyway, rant almost over. There are books on there that are classics, books that are WAY out there, and books that really should only be read by adults. is each person's/parent's decision what should be read. NOT SOCIETY'S!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Fortunately the Library Bill of Rights does too. You will find most libraries refuse to take ANY books off their shelves just because they may be offensive to some people.

When are people in our country going to be allowed to take personal responsibility...and this goes for everything...not just watching what our kids read, wear,do, play (violent video games) But let's as adults take personal responsibility for ourselves evacuating when the government tells you to...using the 12 years of free school guaranteed by our government, and not griping about how I can't get a job because I have 5 kids and a 7th grade education. Duh!!!!!!!!OK, I've changed the subject on you...and actually, I'm quite liberal! Meem

mommyguilt said...

Meem - You've been watching that show! I can tell! Tee heee.

Amen - I totally agree. There's a reason we began a new world - to get away from Big Brother and people telling you what you can and cannot. We signed the Declaration of Independence - INDEPENDENCE, means we can think for, and take responsibility for, ourselves.

Yes, there are people who are not capable of doing that themselves and yes it is up to us to guide them, but never to place sovereign rule over them.

Our children need us to be responsible for them when they are small, to teach them how to be independent and, the resulting responsible. If we don't give them the chance to learn that, then they'll grow up being dependent and never learning what to do, how to think, what to wear, etc.

If people think we can't think for ourselves over what books to read, what are they going to take over the thinking on next?

mommyguilt said...

This is courtesy of my aunt.

"Thanks [MommyGuilt]. I believe I will begin buying the books on the list for K. and H. I read a good number of them myself and sincerely enjoy and appreciate the "ill effects" they had on me.

Thanks for joining the voices of those who speak out against the pompous, presbyopic, pedagogues who think they claim the right to "right" and have a need to impose it upon us all.