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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I cling to my gun and my Camus

This hate crime bill has me thinking. How much of a leap will it be for them to start banning books as hate propaganda? It shouldn't take too long. In 1998 Canadian Border Guards seized books, claiming that they were hate material, one of those books was on Irish Fairy Tales.

We talk a lot about our freedoms, our guns, our speech, but what about our literature? We all have different thoughts, and loves, passions and loathings, and there are many of us that express ourselves with the written word. What we read should be up to us, and what a writer talks about should be up to them. Not an over zealous organization or Government entities. This link will take you to who is doing the banning.

I went to the Project Gutenberg website last night and looked up the banned and Challenged books. Project Gutenberg is a wonderful resource for readers. They have free no strings attached, no returns, no fees, un-copyrighted literature for all to see. You can read online, you can download and print and you can even share it with friends without breaking a single law.

Here is a list of the banned or challenged books I found there:

Oliver Twist

Uncle Tom's Cabin

King Lear

Leaves of Grass

The Tailsman


Woman in Love

Richard II



Don Quixote

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Native Son

Song of Solomon


For a full list of Banned and Contested books you can find lists here at Pelham Library (pdf)
or at Banned and Controversial Books were you can download Thomas Paine's Common Sense free.

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

-- Harry S. Truman, message to Congress, August 8, 1950


Anonymous said...

I find this disturbing and am going to buy every one of those books! Am at a loss for words.

Phelan said...

Annette, did you see all the children's books on the list? The Lorax? They can't be serious, even a Laura Ingells Wilder book made the list. I have been slowly gathering the classics that some haven't made the list, but I fear will.

Matriarchy said...

I disagree that the same people that support the Hate Crimes bill would support book banning. It's two different animals. Most Hate Crimes Bill supporters want people to be FREE to be themselves - as long as being themselves does not involve hurting other people.

Phelan said...

I didn't say that the supporters of the hate crime bill would do this, I simply stated that it has happened once already. Hate speech is protected, for now. But it does hurt feelings. A lot of these books that have been challenged also have language in them that could hurt feelings.

Where exactly do we draw the line? What is hate and what is literature?

Gemini said...

I'm annoyed. Here are two links that others might find interesting.


American Library Association Banned Books week: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.cfm

Phelan said...

Gemini, your first link is no good. Was it removed, or is the address wrong?

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I read Huck Finn in elementary school. We even re-enacted various scenes from it. I'll have to follow the links to see if there are reasons given to ban some of these. I've read most of them - and just don't get why they'd be banned. I remember when Harry Potter books first came out and people were so quick to decry them as Satantic/Witchcraft. In speaking with some of the moms at our school, I discovered they hadn't even READ the books! Anyway, this is disturbing for sure.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...


Phelan said...

The use of the N word in Huck Finn is the reason it has been banned or contested in some places/

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