Book Banners

October 4, 2006 | 1 book mentioned 1

coverAs Banned Books Week closes, we naturally have news of more attempted book bannings. In Atlanta, a woman is leading a crusade to have the Harry Potter books removed from school libraries because they are “an ‘evil’ attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.” And in Houston, in a particularly poorly conceived move, concerned parents are trying to ban Ray Bradbury’s anti-censorship tome Fahrenheit 451, after a student was offended by “the cussing in it and the burning of the Bible.”

Although these efforts are distinguished by being ill-timed, they’re really no different from the book banning attempts that so frequently make the news. It seems like nearly every week there is a new book banning story to read as I look through the newspaper book pages.

It has occurred to me, in reading all of these stories that these attempts to ban books almost never succeed, and that if any of these would be book banners read the paper they would know this. It follows then that a lack of curiosity, awareness, and probably education are all factors that breed book banners. The smaller one’s world is, the more likely he is to want to ban a book. In this way, the book banner is like the fundamentalist who desires to impose an irrational act on others in the name of blind faith. It is disconcerting to me how much noise these attempts sometimes make — the battles can rage on for weeks in local newspapers and at school board meetings. Still, it is heartening that books are so rarely banned, and that so many are often willing vocally to defend them.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

One comment:

  1. I've been gnashing my teeth over the Fahrenheit 451 story all week, with all of its frustratingly unintentional irony. This, however, is the first I've read about the burning of the bible being a reason to ban the book. I have reached complete irony overload. Can't we keep the books and ban the idiots? Please?

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.