Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Right to Choose

"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~Potter Stewart

Pop quiz: what do the following books have in common?

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

Answer: VP candidate Sarah Palin tried to ban all of them from the Wasilla, Alaska, public library while she was mayor of that town.


This, anyway, is what one of those circulated emails that I got last night said. True? I really hope not. I mean, I heard that she tried to get "a book" banned...but all of these? Some of which are recommended reading for most of the high school students I know? (C'mon...Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird?)

Anyone heard about this? 'Cause censorship is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Once you start restricting access to words/thoughts, you take away people's ability to decide for themselves what should be read, what's important and what's immoral and what should be kept from the eyes of children (your children, anyway). And shouldn't parents be having those conversations anyway? What happens when you take away a person's right to *choose* what they'll read, and what they'll allow their children to read? Doesn't enlightenment come from having discussions about difficult topics?

I've played this here before, but it's worth a repeat, because author John Green says it so well:


Liz said...

I heard about it but nothing about a list this long.
I actually have a shirt that says 'I Read Banned Books' and on the back it lists some of those very books on the back.

Liza said...

I'm proud to say I read banned books. I hadn't heard anything about this list.

Charity said...

Actually the list is a rumor, but the fact that Sarah Palin asked the librarian about banning/censoring books is true.

The source:

To my mind, it's just as disturbing. Also disturbnig is someone (as in Sarah Palin) sending out resignation letters as a "loyalty test."

Charity said...

Oh, I forgot to say, thanks for reminding me why I love John Green.

Marianne Arkins said...

Not commenting... sorry... you know how I feel about politics on blogs. But wanted to let you know I was here.

Liz said...

I don't either - just commenting on the issue not Palin

Allie Boniface said...

Just to clarify, this isn't a political discussion today in my mind, either. It was prompted by the Palin "list," true, but my thoughts have more to do with book censorship in general. Of course, I suppose some people could still construe that as a political issue (I don't). But enough said.

windycindy said...

Hello, I have heard this elsewhere, but I don't exactly know whether or not it is true. Cindi

Charity said...

Ah, I didn't mean to take it political, at all. However, I think it's important to seek out the truth when somethink like this comes up, which is why I posted a link to Anchorage Daily News.

Whether they're completely unbias at ADN, I don't know for sure. However, this is a newspaper, rather than an email or blog post from an unknown source.

My fault, completely. I apologize.

Allie Boniface said...

Charity, don't apologize!! I appreciated the link. And at the very least, if a discussion like this helps us become better informed (about a person/issue/fact/rumor) then there's no harm in that.

Not on my blog, anyway :)

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

The funniest part of the list is that it is supposidly attributed to Palin in 1996. Unfortunately for whoever put the list together, at least one of the books on the list wasn't even published until two years later. Oops. It's amazing the crap that gets circulated on the internet, huh?