Monday, 28 September 2009

Banned Book Week Begins...

Yes, this week is Banned Books Week. Luckily this doesn’t mean you are instructed to take Pilgrimage to Heresy and burn it in the backyard, although I would “fight to the death to defend your right to do so”. Instead, Banned Book Week has been celebrated (if that is quite the right word) to draw our attention to the number of books which have been banned mostly for reasons of sex, violence, profanity, religion, politics and – along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - “magic and witchcraft”. Since Priscillian was accused of “Witchcraft and Heresy” I have decided to take a break from the “Evidence for St. James” blogs this week and concentrate a little on Banned Book Week and its intentions.

Banned Book Week was launched in 1982 to respond to the increase in the number of books either challenged or outright banned in libraries, schools, and libraries. More than 1000 books have been challenged in the last 27 years alone!

While perusing the list of banned books in this century I was amused to find that almost all of them are now to be found on the high school curriculum, although that doesn’t mean we are moving forward. We have just changed what we complain about. Take The Kite Runner for example, challenged for its sexually explicit scenes (a homosexual rape) and language. And then there is the ongoing debate about Phillip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy because of its religious and political viewpoints.

Of course, there is nothing new about banning books. But it came as a surprise to me to read that in 360 B.C., Plato described in the Republic: “Our first business will be to supervise the making of fables and legends; rejecting all which are unsatisfactory….”

Supervising mythology…Carl Jung would turn in his grave!
To be continued all this week

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