Happy Banned Books Week!

Read this today

In 1982, the Supreme Court found that students’ First Amendment rights were violated when the Island Trees School District removed Slaughterhouse Five and eight other books from library shelves. This served as the inspiration for a week-long celebration of the freedom to read, and thirty years later, Banned Books Week is still going strong. Source.

Sadly, book banning is not something that has been relegated to the dark days of an intolerant past. There are plenty of pearl clutchers and busybodies out there who work diligently to make sure that theirs is the only viewpoint that matters. You know…to protect the chiiiilllllldren. The group seeking to ban books is overwhelmingly parents (shock) and sexual activity is the most popular reason. Just so you know, violence came in at fifth place behind bad language and “other”. Source.

So please take some time this week to celebrate the written word and give a virtual middle finger (or literal if the opportunity presents itself) to those who think a book on a shelf can hurt anyone or anything.

5 Responses to Happy Banned Books Week!

  1. writerdood says:

    Maybe they should put the books they don’t like in a section of the library titled “Books Your Parents Don’t Like.”

    Now which section of the library do you think would interest kids the most?

  2. CourtneyLee says:

    I’m one of those people who sees a banned books list and thinks “Ooh, those must be the really good ones!” I have plans to make my kids read one banned/challenged book a year with me once they get to high school. Or before, depending on the book and the kid. The whole “protect the children by keeping them ignorant” mentality produces useless people unprepared for the realities of life in the real world.

  3. There is a parallel to this ludicrous censoriousness in the UK in the music industry. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the BBC used to ban songs with risque or profane lyrics from its DJ playlists. The inevitable result a lot of the time was a steep increase in sales, as young people, working on the assumption that anything banned by authority figures must be interesting, would rush out and buy the banned records. A sometime DJ named Judge Dread built an entire recording career on a series of reggae-tinged tunes with inoffensive titles beginning at “Big 6”, all containing enough naughtiness in the lyrics to trigger a BBC Ban.
    The high point (or low point, depending on your viewpoint), and the event that finally make the BBC look like a bunch of censorious halfwits, was when, after weeks of playing “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, they finally realized (shock! horror! swoon!) that the lyrics were probably about..well…sex, and possibly That Awful Sort Of Sex. Down came the BBC Ban, and the single promptly took off, going from the bottom of the top 20 to number 2 in a couple of weeks, and cementing Frankie Goes To Hollywood as that year’s collection of new-wave enfants terribles.
    Not to be outdone, we then saw the Tipper Gore-Marilyn Baker campaign against “offensive” song lyrics in the USA in 1986, which was memorably eviscerated by Frank Zappa in his visit to Washington DC.
    Having watched this sort of censorious idiocy on two continents, I wonder why anybody is stupid enough to try it any more. Then I realize that authoritarian halfwits are everywhere, and just need a glimmer of an excuse…

  4. andylexia says:

    you guys remember sarah palin, who asked the librarian if she could ban books? when the librarian said she would not ban books, was fired that same week?


    again with the church trying to hinder science, art and … knowledge. religion is just an excuse for hate speech.

  5. […] The Legal Satyricon – Happy Banned Books Week […]

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