Shall We Start Burning Books Again? (This is a rant…read if you like)

 

BOSTON (AP) — “Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery,…”

https://www.aol.com/entertainment/6-books-nix-books-dr-113208458-145015765.html

Ok, people things have gotten ridiculous.  It needs to stop.

YES, we can look at books, movies, advertising, tv shows, songs, etc. from the past and see the racism, sexism, ageism, and all the other isms!  We can see the flagrant homophobia.

BUT, I’m sorry we cannot erase history AND we shouldn’t as then we are doomed to repeat it.  Historical context is important. Where does it stop? Do we end up with a list of “approved” reading and that is it?  If we go through every book and ban/block/add to a no publish list everything that is offensive to someone in some way there would be no books left!

We can learn nothing by erasing history.  In fact we are doing a disservice to our society and closing a door to communication, conversations and understanding.  We should endeavor to learn from both the right and wrong things that humanity has produced.  History should be examined…and maybe people can learn compassion and understanding about people/cultures/ideas that are different to their own.

In the end it is like denying our past, sanitizing things and WHO does that serve?

And it doesn’t stop with stuff from the past by the way.  Actually all of these things are still going on. What if they start censoring music, blogs, social media…  How many songs would be on a no play list if everything that is racist, sexist, etc was examined?  Think of all the idiotist, hateful things some people (not mentioning anyone in particular) tweeted… even though I happy some are blocked, on the other hand isn’t it better we know these things?  Can’t we make more informed decisions when we have more information as opposed to a cleanup version of “truth”?

Believe me there are books, movies, companies, songs, etc, etc. that infuriate me but that doesn’t mean I think they should be banned.

Who decides what ideas are ok to share and who has access to them?

And by the way… banning mentions of horrible things doesn’t mean they never happened.  Tearing down monuments and changing logos doesn’t either.

I know this is long and ramblely so I’ll stop here. But this is NOT ok.

~Melanie Thomason

3/3/2021

 

20 Comments

Filed under Rants

20 responses to “Shall We Start Burning Books Again? (This is a rant…read if you like)

  1. Nan

    Melanie, I tried to “reblog” this, but nothing happens when I click on the reblog option … ?? So, if it’s OK, I’d like to just reprint your first couple of paragraphs and then provide a link to your blog so people can read the rest of it … which, BTW, I thought was spot-on!

    I’ll be watching for and awaiting your (positive) response. 😊

  2. Pingback: Censorship | Nan's Notebook

  3. We should not attempt to erase history. Banning books is a step closer to burning books or simply not allowing what we don’t like to be printed. You expressed this very well. The attempts to erase the ugly past or stifle the truth is disturbing, we must journal history truthfully lest we repeat it. Of course there are those who would like nothing better.

  4. I used to think we should censor many things, but, in the last ten years or so, have decided that sort of power could be severely mismanaged. I mean, should newspaper reporters be banned from some conferences? Some people not allowed to speak? … Like what you pointed out, thinking about banning books based on PAST insensitivity steps over a more dangerous line.

  5. It’s all an authoritarian power grab disguised as empathy and compassion.

  6. Came over from Nan’s Place.

    I think this is part of the same (rather scary) purity policing trend in the “Left”. If more and more groups identify as “victims”, why not everyone? Every historical (or modern) figure is examined with a microscope and determined to be worthy of our attention. How is this really different than the medieval policing of “sin” or the Saudi Protection of Virtue police (not saying they are exactly the same, but….

  7. One further comment: I think some elements of The Left are a little too blithe about “cancel culture”. And this post sums the problem up pretty well.

  8. It is madness. As I understand it, the books are being withdrawn because they contain mildly racist imagery, especially of Asians. But we need to remember history as it actually was, and that includes having available the products of earlier times, even those which reflect unpleasant realities.

    My own library includes a translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It is as full of anti-Semitic, hateful, and German-supremacist material as you’d expect. It’s unquestionably an evil book. But it and its author and his ideas are part of the reality of history. It’s a valuable document for understanding the mentality of one of the most evil men who ever lived. This is all the more important because some people today try to minimize Hitler’s evil or even claim that the Holocaust didn’t happen. We need more evidence of what the past was really like, not less.

    More generally, if we remove all writings that offend anybody, we’ll have nothing left to read but — well, actually I can hardly think of anything that wouldn’t offend somebody.

    It’s crazy. We need a society of robust minds unafraid to confront ideas, not tremulous pearl-clutchers rushing for their fainting couches.

  9. They banned HARRY POTTER! HARRY POTTER. I must say that I think the statues should be taken down. I’m really behind that 100%, Every book will not be liked by someone. They don’t have to read it. I can’t believe that they took Mr. away from Mr. Potato head. Is Mr. now unacceptable? Who gets to decide these insane things? The companies do and so do the religious right wing…hence Harry Potter and all the rest of the children’s books. Too bad they don’t work to stop CHILD ABUSE AND HUNGER INSTEAD.

  10. I think they should leave the books alone. We don’t ban or ‘unpublish” adult books like Gone with the Wind, or the Terry Goodkind ones, we don’t get all bent out of shape by misogyny (sp) from Science Fiction writers or Robert Parker, why should we suddenly be all in a lather about books written 50 or 60 years ago? I suspect perhaps the comments were deliberate, to get people to buy the things as collectors items.

    It did appear many people did just that. I treasure my copy of Mulberry Street, and refuse to give it up for anything.

    mark twain can easily be explained as not racist, but reflective of the times he lived in. So can Dr. Seuss.

    Surely there are more important things to get one’s panties in a twist than children’s books.

    Oh dear. Santa is next. I just know it, And the Society for the Protection of Elven Labor…

  11. Erasing history is never a good idea, however I challenge anyone to Google the status of organized religion, occultists, and civic unrest. There will always be a third option. “Censored” material could be taken off the market and then held in public libraries. They could not be removed from the curriculum or for shortened periods of time. I would simply urge that individuals do not have to own these books but use them with which to educate their youth about racism or whatever is being censored. Similarly monuments to Southern Confederate leaders should be preserved in at least a singular federal park. It also could include a statute of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, along with other Civil Rights leaders as well as victims to racism, like Rodney King, Michael McDonald, and George Floyd. This park could be in Mississippi and make a centuries-long U.S. “Auschwitz Concentration Camp”.

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