“Banned Books Week” Needs More Than Celebration This Year

23 09 2007


“Free People Read Freely!”


Last year Snook the Blog sprang into being just in time for the silver anniversary observance of Banned Books Week.

At my house we love banned books, read them and champion them every chance we get. I’m not just talking Harry Potter and stuff that sets conservative churchfolks’ hair on fire. I mean book language that liberal pc-speak tries to censor by just changing a few words here and there too, in Mary Poppins and Huck Finn, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. (Wonder if that was supposed to be ironic?)

Considering what’s afoot in the real world as this year’s Banned Books Week approaches, for 2008 maybe we should worry about all public repression of expression — and invading privacy in its service — throughout schools and whole communities, in the news and on the campaign trail, not just in libraries and Bowdlerized textbooks.

Stage and screen, Don Imus on radio, Dan Rather and Swiftboat veterans on TV, the school play canceled just for having a vaguely offensive name like “Urinetown.”

“Playing to the Puritans” by Marc Acito
. . .three members of a local church objected to the high school’s fall production of the musical “Grease,” even though one of them hadn’t even seen it. In a response that would have made Joe McCarthy proud, Mark Enderle, the school superintendent, then proceeded to overturn the choice of “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s indictment of McCarthyism, as the spring play.

Instead, the students in Fulton [Missouri] just finished performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” that wholesome frolic about youthful rebellion, pagan magic and bestiality. As Dr. Enderle told Wendy DeVore, the drama teacher, her actors “shouldn’t do anything on stage that would get a kid in trouble if he did it in a classroom.” Read the rest of this entry »