Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't look in there. It was banned in Boston

(this could be titled "making something out of nothing")

 I understand this is "banned book week". When you think about that for a nanosecond it's a silly concept. Someone sits down to write their thoughts on paper, well anymore in cyberspace, and some church lady doesn't like it. A row ensues and the next thing you know something that might have been neatly tucked away in some back bin collecting dust now becomes front page news. Like it or not we are a sick lot in the grand scheme of things. I tend to see things by what is called the moral aesthetic. That being, the true the good and the beautiful. Don't confuse that with the good the bad and the ugly if you would. Simply stated it's an analysis of an artistic work, writing composition in this case, that portrays truth goodness and beauty. But don't be fooled. Truth is not always good or beautiful. And it can't be dismissed just because it rubs someone the wrong way.

There have been so many attempts to erase the writings from many authors or at least hide it from the eyes of our high school set but what good has that done? The world has flown past the "local standards" set down by uptight religious and civic leaders. There is no "local" anymore with the internet. And just where do they get their "standards" anyway? By the rationale by which these books were banned their guideline, the bible, could easily make the list of verboten reading. Incest, inhumane punishments, and ethnic cleansing are readily found in the old testament, but that somehow seems okay by the book burning set.

But the real issue here is that once you tell someone not to look at something that's the first thing they want to do as in "don't look at that bad accident". And I'm sure there's a list of videos far more vulgar than any published words being circulated among the teen set. It's what they do when they get bored. So it's now the hope of every parent, or should be, that young Billy or Susie isn't in one of those videos. But kids tend to set their own standards. True they'll push the limits at times but that's only because they're trying to learn and move forward. They'll have their own definition for obscene or "gross". It's just a part of the process. And let's hope they make it through the process to adulthood without too many scares.


BBC said...

If we could ban books it would be nice if the bibles went away.

Oh well, another nice day, weather wise, I'm making good use of it before it goes to hell.

Randal Graves said...

How quickly we all forget that when we didn't ban that one book, Carthage was razed and salted.

Tom Harper said...

I tried without success to think of an astute comment. Therefore, I'll just fall back on the trite: "nice melons."

S.W. Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S.W. Anderson said...

BBC wrote, "If we could ban books it would be nice if the bibles went away."

Even if you feel the Bible is so much phony baloney, you do realize that having it go away would be tantamount to taking Linus' blanket away for millions (or hundreds of millions) who find wisdom, beauty and comfort in it, don't you?

Yes, I know some people find ugly, violent and hateful things in the Bible, and interpret it in ways that are anything but christian. But as I mentioned above, that reflects what they bring to the book more than what the book itself is.

S.W. Anderson said...

(This was written before and should appear above the reply to BBC, but I had to correct a type. I wish Blogger would have threaded replies to comments.)

What censors and censor wannabes fail to properly reckon with is that, like speech, written communication is a bilateral thing. So, it's not just what the book, article, poem ,or whatever, brings to the reader. It's also what the reader brings to the book.

One of my high school teachers had the class read some things about book banning. We later discussed and wrote pro or con papers on whether Mein Kampf and Marx's Communist Manifesto should be banned from school libraries. I argued they shouldn't be banned, that while some sick puppies might read them to add to their own warped ideas, many more others would read them and better understand how distorted the books and their authors were.

I also argued that, as you said, banning the books would just make them forbidden fruit. People who were curious, and others who might never otherwise have bothered with them, would seek the books out to see why others wanted them banned, and decide for themselves. So, ultimately, it's up to individuals to decide whether the books are worthwhile or not anyway.

I have since come to believe that imposing book bans and various kinds of prohibition feeds some people's need to feel powerful and effective. IOW, the church lady might very well be on a power trip.

BBC said...

You may not need to try to ban bibles if fucking preachers wasn't always brainwashing the masses with them. If it wasn't for preachers bibles would just be dusty relics on the shelves.

BBC said...

I'm thinking that Mr. Anderson is thinking of the christian bible, don't forget that there's other bibles.

Demeur said...

Let's face it the church lady is sexually frustrated so that's how she gets her jollies.

Billy you'd better watch out God 'll strike you dead then you can join all your friends in hell. ;-)

Demeur said...

Randal every empire has its' day I guess.

The Blog Fodder said...

Tom Harper beat me to it.
Book banning/burning is just part of the everlasting attempt by authorities to keep people from thinking so they will believe and do what they are told.