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Protecting The Right To Read

Banned Books Week 2004

Banned Books Week - Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

As Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, in Texas v. Johnson, said most eloquently: “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

If we are to continue to protect our First Amendment, we would do well to keep in mind these words of Noam Chomsky: “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”

Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom...

1,607 were challenges to "sexually explicit" material
1,427 to material considered to use "offensive language"
1,256 to material considered "unsuited to age group"
842 to material with an "occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,"
737 to material considered to be "violent"
Other reasons for challenges included "homosexual theme or promoting homosexuality" (515 challenges), "promoting a religious viewpoint" (419 challenges), "nudity" (317 challenges), "racism" (267 challenges), "sex education" (224 challenges) and "anti-family" (202 challenges).

Here's a list of the 100 most frequently banned books from 1990-2000...



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 28th, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for the shout out in your journal. You're still the Vixen!
Sep. 28th, 2004 10:11 am (UTC)
I find it amusing that many of the cherished books from mine or my friends' childhoods were deemed inappropriate enough to warrant banning.

Although, could someone please explain to me how Where's Waldo? poses a moral challenge? Some of the others I could see, for either violence or sexual references, but were there some scandalous pictures inserted in the Waldo crowds that I never noticed in my young innocence?
Sep. 28th, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC)
Kaffir Boy was excellent!
Of Mice and Men? To Kill a Mockingbird? A Light in the Attic?!

Oh man. That's awfully depressing.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


romance, flower
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