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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books and stuff

Chuck Wendig is having a discussion* about why we like and dislike books, and it's Banned Books week, and here's some (possibly disjointed) thoughts I have on the whole matter.

I'm pretty sure most of the people who ban books do so as a knee jerk reaction without having actually read any of the books they ban. They see that Harry Potter is "about witches and wizards" and ban it before ever actually seeing that the context and definition of "witches and wizards" is not like the classical, that the main message of the whole series is that good always wins and evil always loses, and that good has to be vigilant because evil is also sneaky and doesn't give up. Isn't that a good theme? That's exactly the theme a lot of the banners are trying to spread, but since this comes from ones with words they fear, they just assume it's Satanism a For Kids.**

I read books because I want to. I also, sometimes, read books because someone else who I don't like has told me not to, or has forbidden me from. And I'm pretty sure the whole idea of banning books wakes up a similar crazy streak in a lot of readers, especially in kids and really especially in teens--it makes them look for the books you don't want them to read, and read them, defeating your whole attempt to control what they think by controlling what they have access to.

And that's my main problem with banned books. We hate when other countries censor the media, but we're going to be allowing any old person with some power to define which books are even able to be read? That's the same thing.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions on and about things. But what a lot of Americans fail to realize is that being allowed to have an opinion that you're allowed to talk about, in no way allows you to force that opinion on others. Studies have shown that people who read more are more able to understand the world and other people. So what's the purpose of keeping people from reason except to keep them ignorant? Kids know what they can handle. If a book is too much for them, they won't finish it. If it disagrees with them, they'll ask questions and / or put it down. The average child doesn't need some stranger telling them what they should and shouldn't read, and the average adult doesn't need more reasons to not read at all--enough Americans never read another book after school that it's alarming as is, and probably a part of why the the bad examples of us out in the world are ao dense and self-centered that they're making all of us look bad.

So read banned books to show the banners that the whole process is stupid.

Read them to see what they don't want you to see and to know, first hand, that it's so not worth ignoring.

Read them because it seems there's someone out there who wants you to be ignorant and that someone needs a kick in the pants.

Just read.

It makes you a better person.

**No, that's that coloring book that the people most afraid of such things brought on themselves by insisting on having the right to prostelatize to children without realizing that that allows other points of view to do the same!


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