It’s Banned Books Week.
I’m going to let that marinate for a moment. It is the week set aside by the American Library Association where we talk about here, in America, that we shouldn’t be banning books.
I’ve talked censorship and banning books in the past. I’m extremely against it. I’m against it because I think to the books I read when I was a kid. From the wacky to the adventure to the classic... I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get a chance to read them. Particularly if someone told me I couldn’t read them for some arbitrary reason. (And yes, at the end of the day, banning words... banning ideas... is arbitrary.)
And now we have an entire week set aside to bringing awareness to the fact that books are still banned in America. They’re banned for ideas. They’re banned for words. They’re banned because they represent a history we wish we didn’t have. They’re banned because people don’t want to admit that teenagers might be going through an issue. They’re banned for not living up to the “morals” of a way too vocal minority that’s totally okay pushing their morals on everyone else, but would flip out if anyone attempts to push their morals on them.
I don’t like being told I can’t do something for an arbitrary reason or to give the warm fuzzies to a group that thinks they have to be the national “tsk tskers”. (Everyone knows that the “tsk tsk” position was abolished when Benjamin Franklin decided that we should just all “be cool, everyone.”)
Why do we fear ideas so much? Why do we fear that someone might learn something or see a character in a book with a problem and be able to relate? Why do we fear a word? That is what Banned Books Week is about. It’s about looking at these questions, and bringing them to the forefront. It’s about realizing that this still happens in the 21st century. It’s about a free access of ideas.
Fight the man. Read a book.