Creative Destruction

September 28, 2006

Banned Books Week

Filed under: Current Events,Free Speech — Brutus @ 1:32 pm

Although it’s almost over already, I thought I should point out that this week is Banned Books Week.

BBW

Things like this require our attention from time to time. Browsing the challenged books and authors lists, I was a bit surprised to find the Harry Potter books and J.K. Rowling listed. Some folks have too much time on their hands if they can’t find better targets (though I consider the entire notion of banning books or authors antithetical to a free society).

One of the questions I regularly field from my students is “Why do I need to know/study this?” It occurs to me that without a robust body of knowledge at one’s disposal, it becomes difficult to understand why fending off the recently House-approved bill to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects is such a necessary action. Sooner or later, though, leaders of our increasingly fascist government are going to realize that they no longer need to restrict our free speech by taking aim at provocative or noncanonical ideas. We’ve already decided we don’t care enough to pay attention to their trespasses on our rights, and in our ignorance, we mostly don’t have anything to say anyway.

5 Comments »

  1. >Browsing the challenged books and authors lists, I was a bit surprised to find the Harry Potter books and J.K. Rowling listed.

    Harry Potter books are in no way banned. Even if nutjob fundamentalists get them pulled from a few libraries.

    Comment by joeo — September 28, 2006 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  2. But the Harry Potter books have been challenged. Hence the inclusion in the list.

    Personally, I have the strangest urge to read the series all over again. Right after I get done with 1984 and A Brave New World, of course.

    Comment by Off Colfax — September 29, 2006 @ 12:47 am | Reply

  3. Being challenged isn’t the same thing as being banned.

    Everyone has a right to say, of things taking place in the public sphere, “I don’t want to see that here.” They don’t necessarily have the right to control it, but they have a right to make their voice heard.

    Comment by Robert — September 29, 2006 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  4. Robert, if you’re saying that folks have a right to challenge a book’s inclusion on a reading list or among a library’s holdings, I suppose you’re right. It is ironic that such a use of free speech is with aim of restricting others’ freedom of access. The not-in-my-backyard mentality does nothing to achieve the goal of someone who wants to restrain a book’s influence. It does make him or her look pretty stupid, though.

    Comment by Brutus — September 29, 2006 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  5. I LOVE BANNED BOOKS!

    Comment by Rhen — October 26, 2006 @ 1:15 pm | Reply


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