Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banning Books - stifling brains

There is a very good post on banned books at the ALA website. Progress in the form of some of the challenged books NOT being banned.

Click on the banner above to read more about it.

I have to add my own two cents worth here (inflation probably has it at $200 worth now)

My mom may not have always been the most maternal mom, she was a working divorcee in a time when that was NOT the norm and we were latchkey children way before the term was coined. But we never EVER were told by her what we could or couldn't read.


She was and is full of opinions about things and life has changed many of her opinions. For instance she use to have a phrase "those gays" and now that her son is out as one of "those gays" she has done a 180 = or is it 240? Anyway, she has changed her way of thinking on that subject which is a big thing for a woman born in 1937 in a Central American country to a very very religious, judgemental family. You must remember to consider the times, and Central America at that time was probably like the U.S in the 1800 (just making my own judgement with no facts here, just a feeling) Regardless of what she used to be like or think like - she never ever censored our reading.

My father - never the typical male of the 1960's or 70's was even more permissive when it came to movies and reading material. In fact, he made all of his reading materials available to us at an early age - even his playboy magazines were never off limits to us. Some may have thought it creepy, but if we wanted to look at pictures of naked ladies and read the articles and stories, we could. He never hid the magazines. We could just go use his bathroom, or take the mags from his bedside table. It just was there. When I was 13, in an attempt to act the rebellious shocking teen, I asked him to buy me a playgirl magazine. He didn't bat an eye, just bought it for me and never said a word about it. So I was able to see all kinds of pictures.

I do admit, there were some very interesting SciFi ish short stories in the Playboy magazines. The Playgirl magazine was a bit boring to me - not as much good fiction and frankly - other than the abs and muscles I found the dangly parts a bit boring to look at.

so much for my shocking rebellious attempts.

Besides the "dirty" magazines, there were many other books at his house to read. He was never a fiction fan (until recently) but his then wife read books by Harold Robbins, and there were many James Michener books around. I read them all by the time I was 12. I also read all the Nancy Drew books by the time I was 12. I actually never heard of the C.S.Lewis novels, or even Wind in the Willows until I was an adult volunteering in the library ??

At that time - other than the Sci Fi in the Playboy magazines, I didn't have a lot of exposure to fantasy or scifi.

Which makes me that more appreciative of what's out there now for teens, middle grade children and the younger reads. Of course, that includes all the urban fantasy and SciFi that is there for me to read.

So when I hear about other parents trying to make a big deal out of what other people's children are reading it just pisses me off.

No one else has that right other than their own parents.

I can't imagine my reading materials being controlled by other parents.

Maybe reading Playboys and Playgirls might not have been the best exposure (haha, pun!) but that was in addition to whatever else we wanted to read.

And I'm very appreciative that my then judgemental mother and my father each let us read WHATEVER interested us at the time.

Anything was game, and just knowing we were able to read the Playboys and Playgirls might have made us a bit less impressionable when others might have tried to get us to do something we shouldn't have.

I also never ever told my children what they could or couldn't read.

Whatever they want to read is fine -

Now I have grandchildren.

I hope their parents give them the same respect for reading choices that my parents gave me, and I gave my children.

All those other people trying to challenge and ban books -

GET A LIFE. Concentrate on your own selves - The world isn't going to go to hell because children are reading Huckleberry Finn or Harry Potter, or even a playgirl or playboy here and there.

I don't recommend letting children read them, but why act ashamed of bodies?

the main thing though - is to let children and teens get a well rounded sense of what's out there, feel some identity to characters and get some good reading experience into their brains.

Who knows who the next amazing writer will be?

Who knows how many have been stifled from their creativity because their parents or others don't want them "contaminated"?

There are way more dangerous things to worry about.

I'd rather see teens reading vampire books than running around with a gun.

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