celebrating the freedom to read
I’m especially surprised by the banning of media, though. A book taken from a library’s shelf does nothing more than direct people’s attention to the book itself. For a community to restrict access to a work isn’t the answer to protecting children. That job lies in the hands of parents and guardians, not governments or social organizations. I do believe that some things are not appropriate for some people, and most especially when those people are children, but I don’t believe the solution is a ban. I believe the solution is a frank conversation about what concerns people in a book or movie or album of music, and then allowing every person to decide for himself and herself. And I agree with this post that banning a creative work because it shines a negative light on a group or a period of time is not going to change the fact that such history exists. America is a flawed nation. We have a tumultuous history. It’s not pretty and some aspects are truly shameful. But to ban a book that points out those aspects of history is to deny how far we’ve come (or how far we have left to go). Those creative works are the best tools for remembering. If we don’t remember our horrible moments, we are certainly destined to repeat them. We need visual reminders. We need books and movies and music to keep us honest.
So this week I celebrate the many books that have been banned throughout the years. I don’t like all of them, I certainly haven’t read most of them, but I am thankful to live in a country where we are all free to create what is in our hearts. I’m thankful that I have the freedom to choose for myself and to decide what is good and righteous and honorable. For myself. If you are in America, you have that freedom, too. And even if our values differ, I’m thankful that we are allowed to develop them for ourselves.
|Banned/Challenged Authors Whose Work I Have Enjoyed|
F. Scott Fitzgerald
W. Somerset Maugham