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Author Topic: Opinions on Banned Books  (Read 3532 times)

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Offline Oniya

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Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2009, 07:43:20 PM »
Quote
Hopkins: Well, in all my years I ain't never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about. Hell yeah! I'm for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!

From the musical 1776, as the delegates are voting on whether or not to discuss independence.

Offline Vandren

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2009, 09:49:23 PM »
Also I get the gnawing sensation when such matters are discussed, that when one bans maybe one or two books for what ever reason, it will only make it easier to ban more…and thus the downward spiral starts.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 . . . enough said.

(Ok, not enough.  The fact that he wrote a book about the evils of censorship during the worst string of censorship the U.S. has ever seen - the McCarthy years - is just plain cool.  And he gets added coolness points because the only place that would publish it was Playboy, because Heff figured McCarthy would shut him down in a month or two anyway.)

Oh, and Ray Bradbury "Usher II" from The Martian Chronicles - the moral of the story: if censors read books instead of burning them, they'd have been able to avoid the, literally, poetic justice meted out by the protagonist (death by Poe).

Those two pieces alone sum up basically my entire view of censorship.  Even the poorly written books (Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyers, John Grisham) need to be kept around for the same reason that potato chips and M&Ms need to stick around . . . sometimes, in moderation, stuff that's not necessarily good for you can, and should, be indulged.

Offline Mathim

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2009, 03:13:13 PM »
Aside from Twilight (I agree with topic creator), the only books I wouldn't allow in PUBLIC school libraries are ones that endorse religion (i.e. things like the Bible or Koran or Talmud.)

Offline Senti

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Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2009, 03:24:37 PM »
I would have to disagree there on the matter of religious books. As long as the majority of religions are represented there should be no issue. WE humans are diverse, and that is a wonderful thing. It is ignorance that binds us.

So perhaps if such books were available freely then the religion and faith of another would not be so frightening.

Offline Vandren

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2009, 06:09:01 PM »
I'd agree with Senti on religious books, but for different reasons.  First, the books mentioned are no different than the Iliad, the Aeneid, or Ovid's Metamorphoses in my mind - works of mythology.  Second, they are interesting literary works and should be studied as such, and should be studied for the insights they (like other pieces of literature) give us into the period(s) and cultures in which they were written.  Besides which, reading them, in any school, as literature alongside, say, Ovid or Gilgamesh would serve to dispel many of the myths that their adherents claim about their faith (such as the one about Christianity being "original" rather than "borrowing" everything down to its daily mass/services and core beliefs from older faiths that it then tried to wipe out).  Plus, most Christians haven't actually read the Bible anyway, whether as a religious document or literature.

Besides those reasons, the Talmud, Bible, and Koran have, whether we like it or not, significantly shaped Western culture (both positively and negatively).  And reading them in an English class, for instance, is likely to challenge the assumptions and views of the students, which is a good thing over all.

(And I say all of this as an atheist, secularist, and liberal.)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 06:10:26 PM by Vandren »

Offline Paladin

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Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #30 on: December 25, 2009, 11:05:36 AM »
Aside from Twilight (I agree with topic creator), the only books I wouldn't allow in PUBLIC school libraries are ones that endorse religion (i.e. things like the Bible or Koran or Talmud.)

I would have to disagree with this. ALL books have a right to be in schools.... even religiouse books. School is a place to learn, well reading a book, even a religiouse one IS STILL LEARNING!!!!!

Offline Tankou

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #31 on: December 25, 2009, 06:03:14 PM »
You know, I read The Chocolate War before the school system banned it. In fact it was because of my class reading it in High School that The Chocolate War was banned at all. They banned it because of a two paragraph scene that mentioned two boys masturbating back to back, a scene that went largely unnoticed until we actually read it and, the reaction of my class, including the teacher was. "so what... kinda funny even. The principle found out and the schoo system found out and two weeks later it was banned. Personally I dislike such things... btw, I would totally ban twilight but I have other reasons for it than blatant sexuality and all. I just hate the series with a fiery passion. Regardless I think kids should be able to read what they will... When I was in sophomore year I had The Epic Of Beowulf confiscated because my english teacher had read it and "didn't appreciate the sexual scenes in the book." I was highly put off by the fact that freedom to silently read what I like provided I didn't blab about the details was taken away from me.

As long as a kid isn't bringing what is clearly a pornographic magazine into school I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to read what they will provided it is a time that reading a book is acceptable.

Offline Serephino

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2009, 07:31:51 PM »
Ah, 'The Chocolate War'.  I remember it well.  I hated that book, and there aren't many I can say that about.  My more immature classmates loved it because of the swearing and sex.  I remember that I hated it, but not much else. 

I think students should be able to read what they want on their own time, but I also think there are some books that shouldn't be read as a class assignment.  Not because of the content, but because they're stupid and not well written.  My English grade my Senior year was ruined by the book 'Cry, the Beloved Country'.  From what I can remember, the story line itself wasn't bad, but the author apparently failed his English class.  I know grammar rules can be ignored when one is writing poetry, but this book...  I think he even changed points of view mid chapter.  I couldn't read it, and I failed all the tests.

I say if a book is going to be read as an assignment, a person should be able to like read it and understand it.  /rant

Offline Asuras

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #33 on: December 25, 2009, 09:18:39 PM »
The irony is that often times people will take their children out of public schools because they're afraid that they'll be exposed to this sort of thing, and instead put them into some Christian schools where the libraries are thoroughly purified.

And this is just something that comes to mind, but does anyone find it ironic that children are required to read Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm, but no counterpoints?

Offline Vandren

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2009, 11:23:49 AM »
I think he even changed points of view mid chapter.

Uh . . . lots of authors do this: Hemmingway, Joyce, Stroud, Colfer, Pratchett (sort of, since he really doesn't have chapters as such), etc.  It's a fairly common literary device.

Quote
I say if a book is going to be read as an assignment, a person should be able to like read it and understand it.

True . . . but that doesn't mean it should be easy.   :)  One problem that I'm finding, as a teacher (college), is that students are having a more difficult time understanding a lot of things I assign because they lack basic cultural referents that most people of my generation or older take for granted as common knowledge.  Then again, half of my recent students had problems understanding discussion of a few pieces they read because they lacked knowledge of current events and didn't know who Mike Huckabee or Howard Dean were.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 08:00:35 AM by Vandren »

Offline AnjelicDemon

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2009, 08:36:36 PM »
In my opinion, if they ban a book from some place, for whatever reason. All its going to do is make people want to read that book even more.

As far as highschool. There is the age thing to take into account. You shouldn't have outright pornography and erotica novels. But I think that there should be a wide variety of books in Highschool librarys. From different writers, different countries. Books on everything from psychology to spiritualism as well as a wide variety of different kinds of fiction books.

Since our society (U.S.A's society anyway) promotes acceptance and diversity so much, why would we ban books that show a new side of view? Besides, all they do with banning books is giving people a incentive to read it to find out why its banned.  If people don't want you to read it, there must be something good in it.

Offline Wolfy

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2009, 07:18:35 AM »
I want to read those books that were banned because of sexual content. o-o

...But..that's just curiosity, really. o3o

Offline Vandren

Re: Opinions on Banned Books
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2009, 09:01:00 AM »
Quote
a plethora of questionable material that does not need to be there to teach children the skills they are there to learn.

How exactly is this defined?  Because there are lots of books that I would argue "teach children the skills they are there to learn" in my own field that many people would consider "questionable".  Ex. Lois Lowry's The Giver (an excellent dystopian and argumentative novel, that deals with institutionalized euthanasia, illiteracy, and eugenics as well as sending a positive message of rebellion) or, depending on age, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (an excellent psychological study and study in censorship, but highly "questionable" to many people), or anything by Judy Blume (who currently holds the U.S. national record for banning attempts regarding her books, yet most of her books teach about relationships, things like puberty, etc.).

I would also enforce that teachers needed to teach the approved curriculum.  If you are there to teach English, you are not there to teach math, and if you are there to teach history, you are not there to teach ecology.  That is not to say that teachers should not have some latitude in teaching their classes, but neither should a subject be entirely derailed.

This point is extremely problematic.  For example, I teach English composition and literature.  Part of doing both involves teaching a smattering of history, politics, geography, philosophy, economics, law (especially re: plagiarism and copyright), science, psychology, sometimes math, and several other things in order for students to fully appreciate, analyze, and discuss a particular piece that they've read.  Case in point, it is impossible to teach George Orwell's Animal Farm without delving into politics, history, philosophy, and economics at the very least.  If you don't do so (especially since most high school students who read the book haven't gotten past the U.S. Civil War in history), you've got a bunch of students who think the book is simply about a group of strange farm animals.

Admittedly, most of this happens because the majority of students lack knowledge of common cultural referents and basic history.  And that's my experience from teaching at two different colleges (one college, one university) with both traditional (18-22) and non-traditional students (22-60something).