Banned Books Week--Why Bother?
Like many of you, my first thought upon seeing the announcements for Banned Books Week was this: what the hell is a book? But unlike you, I could not remain in front of the newest Jersey Shore episode, seated in a beanbag chair and cradling a bowl of cool ranch Doritos in my lap. I am a journalist and with that respected title comes a certain amount of responsibility. I had to do some research. So after an exhausting minute and a half combing the search results of Ask Jeeves, I have discovered an answer. A book is apparently some kind of ancient television show. But instead of moving images accompanied by sound, a book just has a bunch of words on a piece of paper (like Us Weekly, but longer). Sounds stupid, right?
But apparently Banned Books Week has quite the following. And for a time, I supported it too. That time, specifically, was from the point I determined the definition of “book” until the point I found out that Banned Books Week was not in fact, a campaign trying to ban books. Rather, Banned Books Week attempts to show that banning books is somehow wrong (maybe pick a better title next time). The American Library Association (ALA), an Illuminati-like society bent on cramming its goals of universal literacy down the collective throat of an unwilling public, has this to say on its website: “Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.” To the folks at the ALA: you might reconsider the abbreviation BBW. While it does yield a very large field of search results on Google, very few of them refer to Banned Books Week.
But the ALA has other problems. Its website goes on to say: “intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.” An admirable ideal, but wholly misguided. The information and ideas aren’t unpopular; the medium is. Books are, simply put, awful. Sure, they worked fine back in the stone age when most people didn’t have televisions and those who did only got one channel (look, we all love “I Dream of Jeannie,” but not all the time).
I simply cannot fathom why the American Library Association believes we need to protect books from being banned. What’s next? A society for the protection of the abacus? An astrolabe defense league? Banned Books Week is nothing but another attempt by the elite intelligentsia to pay attention to their precious written word. They act like there’s an uproar every time an author writes some salacious new novel. For a book to offend someone, that person has to read it first, and let’s face it: that’s not going to happen.
Kids aren’t running to the library to read anti-religious or sex-filled books. If you told a 21st Century child about Lolita or Tropic of Cancer, he would shrug his shoulders and say, “You know about the internet, right?” Books don’t need to be banned by some malicious outsider; books contain the seeds for their own destruction. If the ALA wants us to get back to the stage where people care about books enough to ban them, it needs to convince us to read a book, any book. I would highly recommend Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s “A Shore Thing.”