Print Story banned books
Diary
By Merekat (Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 06:22:20 AM EST) (all tags)
Browsing idly through a list of once banned books, now on special promotion, I am struck by how many were banned for filth and obscenity.


Had nobody noticed that existence is both filthy and obscene?

A man on the tram was reading a leaflet today which indicated that capitalism is not, in fact, collapsing, as capitalism contains within itself the means to punish failure and would therefore self-correct. In theory, this is correct. In practice, capitalism appears to have thrown the baby over the wall and legged it in preparation to return later and pick up where it left off, with no movers and shakers punished, Socialism, in contrast is not really taking advantage of this properly (hey congress, whatcha gonna get for laying out all that money? In the past, kings were always properly held to ransom by parliaments in these circumstances) and will, as usual, fail, keeping capitalism as the golden boy.

It is crisply cold and I long to go out walking, but my sinuses hurt too much. Soon it will be cold enough for ZHuSi fondue. Paging Breaker - remember it is only a short trip south from your habitual haunt in Chermany.

Our house buyers have allegedly almost sorted their unexpected mess. Assuming the bank still has any money left to give them, I would really like to see this done by Christmas. Since their schedule said September, I think that is a generous enough leeway for further fuckups.

I think I shall spend the evening watching Robin of Sherwood (proper ITV one, not that modern BBC rubbish) and eating a large bowl of pasta and pesto.
< Le Weekend | She got into a mess on the NHS >
banned books | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Strange List of Books by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 06:49:39 AM EST
A number of them weren't banned at all, just controversial, and they got the publication date for Naked Lunch wrong. They gave the Big Table date instead which contained a fairly different manuscript of only some parts of the book. Weird.

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Not really by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 06:59:20 AM EST
The purpose of the list isn't to educate or inform. It is to advertise.


[ Parent ]
Well, sure. But why go out of your way by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:05:18 AM EST
to include incorrect information, I wonder. You'd have to put effort into getting NL's publication date wrong. Trying to convince me that The Color Purple was a banned book (or even remotely controversial) just makes me not want to look at their website anymore.

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[ Parent ]
Uh. It was by R343L (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:03:28 AM EST
I've not read the book, but of course saw the movie. It's frequently subject to challenges in local libraries (to remove it for sexual content). The ALA in fact lists it in the top ten of books most frequently challenged in 2007 (in the US of course). It's apparently been in the top twenty or so since 1990 at least.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
Must be an American thing, I guess by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:57:50 AM EST
I seriously can't even think of the last book I ever heard of being challenged in Canada. It makes us myopic, I suppose. We must have some.

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[ Parent ]
We had some... by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:04:41 AM EST
Would it be outrageous of me to suggest by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:07:47 AM EST
that our case is in a completely different league than that of publicly bought library books that get made into big budget movies which make your parents tear up? The sentiment might be the same, but the content is significantly different.

I do remember the controversy over that, though. LOL at before the internet made the thing pointless.

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[ Parent ]
No I don't think that's outrageous by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:18:23 AM EST
I was wondering if communist literature was ever banned here, but doing a few lazy google searches hasn't yet turned up anything.

Otherwise, we probably just ban white supremacist stuff that the US might allow.

[ Parent ]
That's right: we're biggots, but for the Left by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:28:31 AM EST


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[ Parent ]
I believe it has a rape scene in it. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 12:56:16 AM EST
Remember, kids have delicate sensibilities.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
But, it's not a kids book. I'm sure there are tons by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #29 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:40:46 AM EST
of books that could qualify as worse. God, I read the Anti-Christ by Fred N. when I was a kid just because it sounded badass. Turns out it wasn't. You'd think that the mentality of someone who'd go after the Color Purple would at least go after the Anti-Christ first, right?

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[ Parent ]
Did you read R343L's linked story? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:27:01 AM EST
The ALA list of challenged books is compiled from libraries and schools.
This presumably includes schools that kids attend. American kids are being tasked with reading that book.

UPDATE: Apparently, it also includes TEH GAYZ, so it'll continue to be challenged well into this century here.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Yes, I read it. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:38:19 AM EST
I linked to it, to actually.

I didn't realize it was including school libraries though. That seems really fascist.

On the other hand, i read Bukowski and Burroughs in my school library. CBB made them order Ham on Rye for us so we didn't have to buy it. God, I keep forgetting what school in the US was like.

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[ Parent ]
YMMV by lm (4.00 / 2) #32 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 06:30:20 AM EST
I read a fair number of the titles on that list by checking them out from my Catholic grade school library. After 2 years of Catholic high school and 2 years of public high school (1 of which was in Kentucky) every Steinbeck title on the list had been required reading for at least one class.

This points to one of the largest problems with the US style of education. The degree of local control is so insanely high that there is no good way to compare the experience across different communities. This is starting to be less the case with the new emphasis on standardized testing, but the disparities with regards to curricula is tremendous.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
How odd. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #36 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:42:41 PM EST
Is it the left, the right the west or the east that is making up the majority of these strange prudes? Or, is this survey involving very small numbers and only conducted to fulfill an agenda?

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[ Parent ]
my best guess by lm (2.00 / 0) #37 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:51:33 PM EST
All over, especially rural areas.

Most schools in the US are controlled by local school boards. These boards are usually elected. In some cases the school district is a single rural township. In other cases the school district is a high density urban county. I suspect that most (but certainly not all) of the `bans' happened in rural districts where the board is heavily controlled by a single interest group.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Right, and the US is still fairly rural overall by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:59:37 PM EST
Hey, I live in  myopic country. What can I say? Every city here is bigger than most US cities because we all congregate to big cities.

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[ Parent ]
It was just in the past couple of years ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #39 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 04:34:00 PM EST
... that the US had more people living in cities than living in rural areas. I suspect now that we've passed the 50% mark, though, that the writing is on the wall for the rural areas.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I think you people see some by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 05:04:11 PM EST
seceding.

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[ Parent ]
My school library carried Burroughs too. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 12:20:58 PM EST
I really enjoyed Chessmen of Mars.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
I meant the cool one. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #35 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 03:40:58 PM EST
Not the one into telling tales of near-naked men flying through the jungle in total dominance to women who didn't like a good romp in the bed with their Moroccan man-whore! You know, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Oh, wait. That sounded thoroughly gay....

Now I'm confused.

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[ Parent ]
Of those works by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 06:58:03 AM EST
I have read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (which I read at school), and Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.  I have also seen a TV adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence.

Which makes me sound quite well read! :P

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

I've seen the movies of almost all of them. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:06:03 AM EST
I'm totally well-watched.

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[ Parent ]
To join the pointless listing by R343L (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:57:37 AM EST
American Psycho, Wild Swans, Brave New World, Lady Chatterly's Lover, Common Sense (well parts of it in school), Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, Flowers in the Attic (kind of embarassing truthfully), Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind, Slaughterhouse Five, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

I'm actually kind of amazed I've read so many books on a list like this. Almost always when a "list of books important for reason X" is posted somewhere, I look at the list and sometimes don't even recognize a minority of the books, much less have read them. There were only nine on there I didn't really recognize. Maybe I am a little, uh, cultured! Except the part where I haven't read Catch-22, Catcher in the Rye and Lolita. Now that's embarassing.

(Yummy yogurt culture)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Oh noes! by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:01:52 AM EST
You *have* to read Catch-22! It's the funniest thing ever.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
It's even funnier when you replace Milo by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:14:51 AM EST
Minderbinder with Halliburton.


[ Parent ]
Catcher in the Rye and Lolita by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:10:10 AM EST
Not really that exciting. Or good.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Catcher in the Rye. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:19:27 AM EST
Is actually like being inside the brain of a 17 year old.

[ Parent ]
Yes by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:29:02 AM EST
It truly is that horrifying.

I enjoyed "Lolita", though.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Heh by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 08:06:48 AM EST
I once saw an "adaptation" of Lady Chatterley's Lover that certainly wasn't from TV, and was exceedingly light on any actual dialog from the book.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
lol by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 11:11:01 AM EST
 and double-lol

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
[ Parent ]
True story by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 11:18:20 AM EST
This was in the early eighties when I was 16 and cable scrambling wasn't very good. You got clear sound no matter what, and if you twiddled with the knob just so, you could sometimes get a clear picture of the action on the Playboy channel.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
twiddled with the knob by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #27 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 12:06:19 PM EST
 oh yeah, i bet 

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
[ Parent ]
I have to admit by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:10:15 AM EST
I'm mildly impressed that enough people were able to tell what the hell was going on in Slaughterhouse Five, that it was ever banned anywhere.


the attempt to impose morality by bans by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:38:08 AM EST
It never surprises me when books are banned due to `obscenity' or `filth.' Although at some times and places it can seem absurd that certain books were banned for such.

I'm more surprised about how many books were banned for ideological reasons.


As far as capitalism goes, if one is a Marxist the revolution can't happen until capitalism reaches its final stage where there are only two classes: the capitalists and the workers. Capitalism has never reached that stage in any nation on this earth. The really bad news for most Marxists is it seems to me that any socialist policies will only serve to retard the advance of capitalism to its end stage. Agitation for workers rights and what not, according to Marx's theory but not his propaganda, will slow the advent of the revolution. But to be fair, Marx himself was inconsistent on this point.

Personally, I agree with the leaflettier that capitalism is self correcting after a certain fashion. That said, I don't think that the amount of pain involved is a fair tradeoff for allowing the markets to have their way. A mixed economy can avoid the worst of the misery that a pure market would impose while avoiding the perils of an economy that is entirely centrally planned.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Can someone explain what possibly could make by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:05:07 AM EST
Of Mice and Men the most consistently challenged book in the US for 2 decades running and probably more? I can't remember even a remotely offensive thing about that book? Is it because the big slow guy kills the blond?

WTF?

As per R343L's linky.


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Some guesses by R343L (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:16:12 AM EST
  1. It's by Steinbeck. Bit of a socialist and we hate socialists here (you know, red scare, etc.)
  2. Contains profanity and racial slurs. We don't hold with that here.
But I never actually read it -- just what I heard from teachers, other students, etc. (Note that by "we" I mean the subset of people that find reasons to try to ban books.)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
Read it in school by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:22:21 AM EST
Kinda kills the concept of the American Dream and jumps up and down on the still twitching corpse.


[ Parent ]
I suppose, but he's got plenty of books by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:31:09 AM EST
I honestly cannot possibly think why anyone would disagree with it. Maybe I should re-read it or something. Steinbeck always seems like such a gentle, lit-lite kind of guy to me. Maybe he's just too thoroughly American to be widely appreciated or something.

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[ Parent ]
I liked the list by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Sep 24, 2008 at 10:28:03 AM EST
It's good, a lot of good books in there; a couple I was happy to be reminded of that I haven't read yet. Thanks!

*twinkle*twinkle*


banned books | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback