Ban Harry Potter: has the world gone mad?

I’ve been rummaging around Banned Book Week blogs and news stories only to find that the world has gone mad. Completely insane.

Sponsor of Banned Books Week, American Library Association (ALA), states that:

According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), due to book challenges, more than a book a day faces removal from public access in school and public libraries. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.

I did not realise this. According to the OIF, most of the challenges are recieved from parents (61%). But I cannot get my head around the logic. While kids are carjacking with guns in the latest Grand Theft Auto or playing gangsta’ in 50 Cent: Bulletproof, we’re running around trying to ban Harry Potter for his offensive use of Wizardry!

And it doesn’t stop there. In the UK there is increasing acceptance of comedians who make obscene jokes for the purpose of comedy (ahem, Frankie Boyle); young boys gawping at overtly sexual music videos; teenage girls striving to be as thin and beautiful as the next magazine cover-girl; dirty mags being spotted on the top shelf (they’re not blind y’know); not to mention the violent and sexually explicit movies and TV programmes that grace our screens every night of the week.

And while this isn’t an argument about the rights and wrongs of modern popular culture, why are we worried that kids might go to the library (something to celebrate in itself) and read The Color Purple, or Huckleberry Finn or Twilight or whatever. Surely we should just be happy that they are READING and LEARNING. No?

Some quotes to ponder on:

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.  (Voltaire)

A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. (Albert Camus)

What progress we are making.  In the Middle Ages they would have burned me.  Now they are content with burning my books.  (Sigmund Freud)

Did you ever hear anyone say, “That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me?” (Joseph Henry Jackson)


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