In 2001, I was a big fan of The Princess Diaries, both the film and the book. The author’s website was the first author site I ever visited, and at some point, she bragged about one of the Princess Diaries installments being “banned” from a library. I just did a search on her website (megcabot.com) for the entry in question and it’s not there anymore, I don’t think, but there’s plenty of entries about book banning, including one in which she asks people to get one of her books banned. I didn’t bother reading that entry because it’ll be eyeroll worthy and I am not in the mood for that right now.
She thinks she’s being this revolutionary renegade for having a book “worthy” of being “banned” but just what does it mean for a book to be banned in the US? I asked that same question when I read that blog post way back when. I did my research and it turns out that the whole book banning thing is complete and utter bullshit.
What do you think of when you think of books being banned? You probably think of countries like China, where possession of a Bible is illegal. Or North Korea. Same thing. You might think of Nazis burning books. You might think of someone being arrested for possessing a “dangerous” and illegal book. You might think of someone being arrested and executed for writing a “dangerous” book, one deemed dangerous by the authorities.
But the reality of book banning in the US is nowhere near as dramatic. It is nowhere near as serious either.
The concept of book banning actually happens in two stages, and only happens in one kind of establishment — a library. Or more specific, a public library or a public school library.
The first stage is the challenge. A challenge amounts to nothing more than a patron – usually a parent – complaining about a book. The complaint can be about anything, and left-wing oriented books are far from the only books being challenged. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer has been challenged. The Bible has been challenged. Books by Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin have been challenged and in some cases “banned.” None of these books would ever be considered the kind of books liberals think children should read, and yet they were banned too, but you never see these books on the Banned Books Week List (except for Twilight).
If the librarian agrees with the challenging of the book, and if the library board or committee agrees, then the book is removed from the shelf and made unavailable for check out. It is then that the book is considered “banned.”
Do you see the problem here? The “banned” book in question is still available for purchase. In some cases, the “banned” book may be available on the library’s digital catalog (as an eBook, usually provided by OverDrive). Possession of the book is still legal, and so is the sale of the book. How the hell could that ever be considered banned?
I remember perusing the Banned Books Week list on Borders.com many years ago and being completely confused. If they were banned, why was Borders selling these books? I did some digging and that was when I realized that this whole book banning thing was utter hogwash, as Thomas Sowell put it twenty years ago.
This book banning thing is nothing more than a stupid leftist gimmick promoted by bookstores, publishers, the ALA and other assorted liberals. They want children to read softcore porn and other leftist propaganda, and to do that they have to make it look appealing and rebellious, so they make up this stupid scaremongering shit.
It’s a lie. It is an irresponsible lie and it actually makes me angry. I don’t like censorship, but pulling a book off of a public library’s shelf is hardly censorship.
No, Meg Cabot, you’re not a bad ass rebel for writing about teenage girls masturbating with shower heads. You’re just another propaganda pusher. Oh, and another thing. Ann Coulter’s books have also been challenged and banned, so how does it feel to be in the company of an odious right-winger? Is she a bad ass rebel for offending people too? Oh, but she didn’t offend the right people the right way, so that doesn’t count.
You know, this reminds me of the contraception argument. Feminists think that being expected to pay for their contraception is tantamount to being “denied access” to their precious birth control pills. Look, if you can’t afford basic contraception, you need to reevaluate your life, particularly your finances. You have far more important things to worry about than getting dick – like getting a bigger paycheck.
A lot of it has to do with the library being the easiest way an impressionable ten-year old can get their hands on Fifty Shades of Grey or some other book of perverted nonsense. After all, most parents trust the library. They’ll let their kids go there unsupervised. A kid does not have to pay for a book or a library card. They can check out a book, read it and then take it back without their parents ever knowing. Liberals love this, and they love getting shit for free. Take away their free option and all of a sudden you’re denying them “access” to something they “need.” Never mind the fact that they can probably borrow the book from a friend or buy a used copy online or at a second hand shop…oh noes, it HAS to be at the library! IT HAS TO BE U GUISE!!!!
I wonder…does the “freedom to read” include the freedom to read books by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Jonah Goldberg or Vox Day? Does the “freedom to read” include reading books by conservative authors, or Christian authors, or even the Bible?
This is going to continue because it’s effective. I despair for this country, I really do. People just unflinchingly accept this silly nonsense without question. It is utterly ridiculous and I’m sick of it. I know that some people will have problems with my books. People on the right will complain about the sex and the cursing and stuff. People on the left will complain about the pro-life themes and sympathy for Christianity. If my books are ever published in hardcover or paperback, and if they ever hit a public library, they’ll probably be challenged and may even be removed. Even so, I will not consider that censorship. I will think that the “banning” will be kind of sad. But that’s the decision of the community in question and they have the right to make that decision, and all I can do is just accept it and move on. As long as you can get the book somewhere else, it’s okay.
Furthermore, I don’t think this is even real censorship. Leftists defend Twitter’s reprehensible treatment of conservatives by stating that we don’t have the right to a platform. Well, these “banned” authors don’t have the right to a platform either.