Placing Good Books at Risk

If you censor books for using words we would rather not hear, we’ll end up with a Pandora’s box of ‘bad’ words holding even greater power.   I believe it is far better to expose ‘bad words” to the light of day, because shining a light on the bad ideas that are invariably behind the bad words diminishes their power.

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone stamp from the Royal MailOnce upon a time my child’s elementary school wrestled with the issue of whether they ought to ban a book called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”     Which is why I went out and bought a copy.   And then the rest of the series.   Movies.   Even going so far as to send away for the UK’s Royal Mail Harry Potter stamps…

Sometimes censorship is the most potent form of advertising.

cover art for Laurie Halse Anderson's book "Speak"

An ongoing Twitter campaign called “Speak Loudly” attempts to raise awareness and prevent Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel “Speak” from being banned by people with good intentions.

If you censor books because of the ideas within, there is no way to challenge the idea.   Instead of taking the opportunity to disprove it, or learn from it, or educate about it, you give the idea additional mystique.

The only way to guarantee free speech is to protect all speech.
Even speech we might not agree with.

The American Library Association lobbies against banning books.

The moment you start to ban bad books,

you place good books at risk.

But for one minute, let’s put all of that aside…. why on earth would any sane rational being even consider allowing any retail business to dictate our morality?

I learned about “Speak Loudly” from @Ren_Thompson and the Amazon Issue from @GeneDoucette

further reading:

Gene Doucette: In defense of Amazon

American Library Association: Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Speak Loudly: Fine lines and the futility of drawing them

Stephanie Perkins: Speak Loudly

Speak Loudly


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