Friday, September 09, 2005

Let's Ban "Banned Books Week"

Let's face it: Banned Books Week is to lefty librarians what Hustler magazine is to a fifteen year-old heading into his closet. Pure, narcissistic fantasy. Greg over at SHUSH had this to say:

As I'm sure many of you know Banned Book Week is coming up at the end of the month. I think its only right that we celebrate it properly by coming up with a list of books that should be banned.

Now let's clarify. There is no censorship in this country. Just because schools and public libraries don't have it doesn't make it unavailable. We're not going to go bookstore to bookstore rounding up books. So when I say 'banned' I mean books that no public library or school library should waste money or shelf space on. What books should any honest librarian just say no to, no matter how many requests for it? Is it depraved? false? useless? What? There are hundreds of books published each year. Most aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Which ones are worth less then even that?

I agree one hundred percent. If anything, we in the USA are deluged with so much information that it becomes hard to properly sort and collate the contents of our over-stuffed brains.

When was the last time the government actually censored a book? I think back to The Anarchist Cookbook, published in 1968. Didn't the government try to censor that book, on the grounds that it was a manual for criminal activity?

Incidentally, here is what the author of The Anarchist Cookbook has to say about his work today:

"Unfortunately, the book continues to be in print and with the advent of the Internet several websites dealing with it have emerged. I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print."

Good for him! He's evidently an Anglican Christian and a father now. Isn't it nice when people are mature enough to admit the error of their ways?

Anyway, other than The Anarchist Cookbook, I cannot think of a single book that was actually censored. I have some vague memory of a "murder manual" that came under scrutiny, but that may have been only in the courts, in as much as some thought the author liable for crimes committed with the alleged aid of his book.

It is the sloppy use and misuse of the word "censorship" that fuels this week of foolishness. I remember reading in one of the library journals about a book on sex that was removed from a school library. There were the protests from the usual suspects about "freedom to read" and fighting censorship. Those who favored removing the sexually explicit book from the school's shelves were, of course, depicted as NASCAR-watching hillbillies who want to turn America into a theocracy. At the end of the article I finally noticed the name of the school. It was an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!

How often has a book title been spoken of as censored when it was simply removed from ONE SCHOOL LIBRARY or ONE PUBLIC BRANCH LIBRARY or moved to a more appropriate grade level? As Greg at SHUSH pointed out, just because it isn't available here or there doesn't mean it's not available.

I'm going to have a lot more to say on "Banned Books Week" as that back-slapping, back-stabbing week approaches. For now I will accede to Greg's request to come up with books that should be "banned." And by banned, I don't mean actually banned, but rather, tossed out of any respectable library.

1) Books in which the author has been exposed as a fraud. THE ARMING OF AMERICA comes to mind. The author, Michael Bellisides, was credibly accused of fabricating his data to support his anti-gun diatribe. I use his book for target practice when shooting my Glock 9mm. Also, that simpering bit of communist tripe I, RIGOBERTA MENCHU:AN INDIAN WOMAN IN GUATEMALA. The author was exposed as a writer of fiction, not autobiography, by one of her leftwing admirers, a cultural anthropologist. What poetic justice. Of course, even though is fabricated, it is still required reading in many Anthropology departments.

2) Books that were plagerized. There are too many, of late, to mention, mostly history or biography books. We might want to set the bar a little high. If the author clearely acknowledged a debt to his source (footnote, endnote) but failed to put the source's words in quotation marks, this may not be a capital offense. Or perhaps you think differently? I'm open to discussion. Public flogging, rather than execution?

3) Any book that is CLEARLY a work of fiction, but the author parades around acting like a scholar, even though ALL his erroneous info came from three or four bargain books he found at Barnes & Noble. I am, of course, refering to THE DAVINCI CODE, the author of which recently said if he were to rewrite it as a non-fiction book, he wouldn't change a thing. Really, Dan? Even the parts that real scholars have said were logically or physically impossible, like a pope being in prison and in the Vatican AT THE SAME TIME? You wouldn't tweak that a little bit? Moron.

That's my list. And of course anything by Michael Moore should be pulped and then force-fed to the author. I call this STEALTH LIBRARIANSHIP.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Conan said...

Hmm above is that your first useless spam? Any way Right on brother and Power to the People. LOL ahh a librarian against books...a bit of cognitive dissonence till you read what you write. It is a bit of ALA propaganda to make them feel useful, but right there is no banning of books now. Wake and grow up ALA.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Chuck Reynolds said...

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