Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't Read This!

Instead, today no matter how busy your life is, make it a point to get thee to a library.

For those who filter  everything through a computer monitor or smart phone screen, the library is a brick and mortar space in the not-virtual world. In a school, it should be at the hub of the building or campus and in a town, about the size of mine, the city should look to it as the fingers on the hand look to the thumb. And why? Because this is Banned Books Week.

Banned Books sounds so McCarthy era somehow, doesn't it? Yeah, I know. You're thinking the intellectual totalitarianism of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot and the kind of strictures and structures or suppression and repression that precipitated so much of the Arab Spring. And you'd be right but you'd also be wrong. But you wouldn't be alone in being concerned about it.

Right here in River Cities big and small all across these States United and not-so-much-so, we have Pool which starts with P and that rhymes with B and that stands for Banned Books Week, this annual observance going on thirty years now, though the practice of banning books more probably started about an hour after Gutenberg used his movable type press to bang out a Bible.

Actually we've been banning books for only a fraction of the time we've been killing people for thinking out loud differently than we do and while I share the hope of many high-minded idealists for a day when that stops, it will happen when the last two people left on earth end one another's lives probably while every other life form applauds.

Don't have a library card? Bring a piece of mail with your address on it as well as a picture ID. A library card is in all likelihood free and if we're going to stay that way, despite dire predictions to the contrary by knuckleheads on both sides of the political aisle on the consequences of the November election, you need to exercise. While hitting the gym is great and I love your six-pack, the library will help give that big muscle in your skull a workout.

Not sure what to read after you get that shiny new card? Start with this list of challenged books. Scroll down and get a real eyeful of what is in one form or another "banned" and don't waste your breath on wondering why. No sense makes sense.

The Diary of Anne Frank. Seriously? Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. At least a fascist somewhere has a sense of irony, but Chaucer's Canterbury Tales? You can find many of the works on the list on-line so if you suffer from bibliophobia (you could look that up in the reference section or not), no worries.

When we start selecting what one another can read, we start to corral those vistas of thoughtful exploration that help define our presence on this planet. The freedom to read what you choose is a vital component to critical thinking, a constant in our continuous and continuing evolution as a species. And little should be more offensive to every sentient human being than limiting what you can think and be.  
 -bill kenny

1 comment:

Dane on FB said...

Bill I Agree, and to add to that all Religious Books need to be Included, we should be free to read what ever we want to...