Last night was the first annual Banned Book Swap at Cavalier House Books. It was a small group but I think small makes things more personal. I went with a copy of Tender Morsels and The Perks of Being a Wallflower and each of us in turn told the others about the book we brought. I ended up taking home a copy of NAKED and instead of swaping Tender Morsels for Lolita (I already have a copy just haven't got around to reading it yet) I promised Michelle I would tell her how I liked it in a few weeks. Needless to say I went home feeling all fuzzy inside.
So why do people ban books? Mostly due to misconceptions, religious beliefs, and censorship . Black Beauty was originally banned in South Africa because of the misconception of it being a book about a black woman. Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned in the South during the Civil War because it held anti-slavery content. Steinbeck's East of Eden was banned in American libraries for being "ungodly and obscene". Those are just three examples and sadly many more could be named.
So why have Banned Books Week? Other than examining past incidents I believe it is all about having freedom of speech. To be able to express our ideas and opinions without fear of censorship. If we start taking away some privileges or changing those privileges then what is to keep others from just pulling the whole tablecloth out from under us? Sorry to go so patriotic on you guys but this is a topic that always gets me pumped.
I will end this with a quote from John Mill.
"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."- John Mill