Welcome to Bookalicious and Censorship week. We all know I am a huge advocate for censoring in your own home and leaving others to do what they wish in their own. Instead of giving you post after post of my own opinion, I wanted to bring in some other awesome bloggers to give us their take on censorship and what it means to them personally and their thoughts on what it means to us as a society. Humans through the ages have always banned, censored, rallied against, and protested anything that fell beyond their comfort zones. Whether that zone is in place due to religion, upbringing, or personal morals I have never understood the need to force others to your mentality. As bloggers we have the platform to be anti-censorship. To be a flagship of open content and doing and saying on our own blogs what we see fit. We must outwardly oppose censorship of any piece of literature, even if we are censoring it in our own homes. What if we are the next to be censored? Freedom of journalistic integrity and blogging taken away. What then?
What Susan from Waste Paper Prose has to say:
I’m a first amendment kind of girl. I’m an express-yourself-and-don’t-give-a-damn-what-other-people-think kind of girl. And admittedly, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t hold back when I’ve got something to say, even when it could get me in trouble.
Opinions matter. They generate debate and spawn ideas. They shake up the status quo, force people to take a deeper look at issues, and hold the potential for solution and innovation. The problem is that sometimes people aren’t terribly keen on hearing the opinions of others.
Therein lies the root of censorship.
It’s a phenomenon that has always fascinated me. Whenever anything forces people to look at something they don’t want to see or consider a point of view that’s not their own then eradication always seems to be the answer. Eliminate the offending material. Wipe it off the face of the Earth. Sweep it under the rug. Forget about it. And most importantly, never consider the possibility that you could learn something.
Trouble is that the quest to do away whatever it is usually creates more buzz. I know my ears perk up when I hear about any instance of censorship. They have since I was a teenager. If it was off limits then I had to see what the big deal was.
That’s how I found Forever by Judy Blume. It was in the top ten on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books for a decade solid, from 1990-2000, because it contained suggestive language and depictions of teenage sexuality and sexual intercourse. Learning it had been challenged sealed the deal for me. I had to read it. When I did, I wasn’t the least bit shocked or offended. Why? Because it felt real.
In retrospect, the moment I finished that book might have been the same one in which I came to understand that just because something is challenged, censored or banned doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad. In most cases, it just means that the book, or whatever the item in question may be, pushed boundaries and that someone, somewhere was offended by it.
By no means am I advocating for every controversial book in existence nor am I saying that everyone will value these books or find insight in their pages. What I am saying is censorship isn’t an absolute. It’s the product of opinions. It’s someone saying “you shouldn’t read this because I don’t approve of it”.
Ultimately, you have to make up your own mind.
@BiblioBrat is hosting a challenge over on her blog Thebibliobrat.net to encourage bloggers and those interested challenged or banned works to read more of these titles. Banned and challenged books are a hot button issue for a lot of us in the book world. So show your support head on over and join the challenge and pick a banned or challenged book to read. I will be reading The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet for the challenge. When I am done reading I will let you know why it was challenged and if I agree with the reasoning.