Should books be altered and/or banned in public libraries?
In the news recently, it's been reported that the very popular "50 Shades of Grey" written by E.L. James is not going to be made available at several public libraries. It has also been reported that, at least one, publisher intends on changing the offensive 'n'-word in the classic "Huckleberry Finn".
Should books be 'banned' from public libraries? Which books? Who decides? And, should the text of books be altered to avoid offending someone? Which words? In which context? Who should decide which words are offensive?
No book should ever be banned or censored in any way. Books don't fly around attacking people (as some seem to believe). Even a young child has the capacity to stop reading a book they find offensive or confusing. I would love to find a single example in the entire history of the universe where someone was legitimately harmed by the words in a book. Censorship has nothing to do with preventing hypothetical harm, and everything to do with controlling what others are allowed to read and think.
Should we not then ban, say, bomb manuals, or other books that outline 'how to' terrorist, or other criminal activities?
My answer is assuming the book's contents are perfectly legal. Deeming a book illegal based upon content using the judicial process is very different from banning a book from a library simply due to a particular group's individual sensibilities.
"Should books be banned at public libraries?" was the question. That would seem to assume the book is legal to publish and own.
so the public libraries can't determine what you should read but the control freaks in govenment can, by making books ilegal and legal, it all has the same stench of censorship.
I didn't say government; I said judicial process. I think the courts have done a pretty good job regarding the issue. I wouldn't want it to be up to legislators or the whim of public opinion.
When an old and classic book is blasphemed ... such as when Mark Twain's "Huck Finn" has the "n-word" scuttled from it.... THEN we have not only got a case of "political correctness" run amuck... but we have a case of some do-gooders screwing with history..... I can't think of a SINGLE justification for it....
I'm not in favor of book censorship or banning. Though, banning a book isn't as bad as tampering with the author's original intent. Even a banned book, people can still obtain through other means, but a censored book is a mockery of literature. What I do support, however, is a rating system on books. My wife works for an audiobook publisher and one of their top complaints is that the customer bought a book for themselves (or their child) only to realize the content was inappropriate. Similarly, both me and my brother read adult novels when we were children because my mom had no way of knowing what was inside (other than reading every book first, which parents really don't have time for). I'm not saying it should be a rating system like the movies, where filmmakers have to adhere to certain guidelines in order to get that sweet spot of the audience, but rather, a simple guide on the back that says something like "contains violence, sex and strong language." We do currently have sections that help in this matter (childrens, young adult, adult, etc.) but it's completely useless when many YA novels are considerably more violent than a great deal of adult novels.
M.T.Dremer, you add some interesting and thought provoking ideas. When I read your thoughts, I couldn't help but to think of the "Hunger Games" trilogy and the recent headlines surrounding the books' content.
I was also thinking of the Hunger Games. I loved that book series, but I do think it was too violent for a lot of people reading it. Paul Zindel is another YA author who writes particularly gory teen novels.
Altered? No. Altering a book is a disgrace to the writer as well as his audience. Not everyone has to like the controversial books, but they will still teach you something important. Embedded within the text is a rich notion that people will overlook glaring at the provocative things in which create this idea. A lesson can't be learned unless the consequences are presented. How can we learn we learn to be open-minded if we don't experience ignorance?
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