Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Banned Book Week 2014 Quote Pull

Ahhh sweet, sweet debate.  In honor of acknowledging and evaluating multiple perspectives, here are some different points of view on Banned Books Week, an American Library Association campaign intended to draw attention to the challenging or banning of books deemed inappropriate/offensive.  (If you have time, go ahead and click the links so that you can read the quotes in context.)  Do you agree with Banned Books Week?  If not, what might be a better alternative?

"Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community -- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types -- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular." [American Library Association]

"At the same time the [American Library Association] is propagandizing about banned books, it itself is banning anything that does not promote its agenda." [Safe Libraries]

"Myth: Censorship is usually identified with conservative political or religious groups.  Reality: Examples include the Harry Potter series -- the principal reason, wizardry -- and Tango Makes Three -- the reason, supposed homosexuality of penguins. However, groups not usually identified as conservative also censor. A few years ago, the NAACP unsuccessfully sought to have the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary redefine the 'N' word and limit it to its offensive connotation. (The publisher refused to limit the definition since over time it has had many different meanings).  Concern has also been expressed regarding the depiction of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Some Jewish organizations have challenged its inclusion in the Language Arts curriculum in high schools." [Banned Books Week]
"If library patrons ask for a book to be moved or removed from the children’s section, it’s 'censorship.' If librarians make sure a book never gets there in the first place through a deliberately rigged collection process, it’s 'selection.' Double standards prevail, making librarians look like hypocrites.  It’s a pity that a profession that so upholds intellectual freedom can’t come up with better strategies and arguments than to whine about 'censorship' while effectively doing the very thing they complain about." [The Annoyed Librarian]

"Since there is never anything too stupid if it allows certain government officials to get before a camera or send out a press release claiming they're 'protecting children' from the horrors of the world, you end up with school boards and administrators that give in to pressure. And since no one wants to be against protecting children, that leads to the other set of government officials: those too chicken sh** to speak up and oppose something they know is wrong." [Daily Kos]
"Self-righteous, dissembling librarians are seeking once again to foment 'book-banning' hysteria through their annual dishonest Banned Books Week campaign (Sept. 21-27) sponsored by the self-righteous, dissembling, and politically partisan American Library Association (ALA).  The ALA pursues its hysteria-fomenting goal chiefly by ridiculing parents who, for example, don’t want their six-year-olds seeing books about children or anthropomorphized animals being raised by parents in homoerotic relationships. (Scorn and woe to those parents who hold the now-censored belief that homoeroticism -- even homoeroticism presented in whitewashed, water-colored images -- doesn’t belong in the picture books section of public libraries.)" [Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute]

"[Higgins’] point here is that libraries -- even children’s sections -- aren’t, can’t, and really shouldn’t be ideologically neutral grounds. This is what Higgins would have you believe is her modest, 'common sense' goal; but again, the absence of LGBTQ-affirming books would be, in itself, an ideological choice at this point. No, libraries cannot be neutral, but we should strive to be sure that they are as capacious as possible. I’d argue that there are enough shelves stuffed with the kind of pages Higgins likes already -- we could probably stand to have a few more dedicated to queer-friendly spines going forward." [J. Bryan Lowder, Slate]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks.

    When I said ALA "is banning anything that does not promote its agenda," banning/blacklisting Common Sense Media for rating books on sexual inappropriateness is just one example: http://tinyurl.com/ALAblacklistsCSM