Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Banned Books Week!

I'm only going to talk about books I'm familiar with, but you can find an excellent list of banned books here. Most of the list-toppers are books aimed at teenagers and childrends, since we have moral guardians worried about our poor little souls. Huh. Maybe if they worried more about their own poor little souls, we wouldn't have a porn industry.
This first book shouldn't surprise anyone.
1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In 2010, it was banned for being 'sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violent'. By 2011, it somehow became 'anti-ethnic, anti-ethnic, insensitive, offensive language, occult/satanic, violence'.
 I'm not exactly sure how a dystopian society that hasn't heard of religion can know what satanic means.
Anti ethnic? What, because all the black characters died? So do all the white character. And the rich characters, and the poor characters, and the male characters, and the female characters and the old characters, and the young characters, and the smart characters, and the stupid characters...basically, if you're human, don't expect to survive the book.
And then they all died except for the cat.
The End!
Seriously, Buttercup was drowned in a barrel, infested with worms, survived two bombings, tossed in a sack like a hunk of meat, and treked who knows how many miles through the wilderness. If tributes had that many lives, the Hunger Games wouldn't be a problem.

2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

2009 reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2010 reasons: religious viewpoint and violence
Religious viewpoint topped the list in both years. I live in Utah, so I can't help but find this hilarious. A few years back, Deseret Book, a chain of church owned bookstores, stopped carrying it. For just about every reason except religious viewpoint.
Mormons: "Don't read this book! It sensual! It's sexy! That makes it anti-Mormon!"
Rest of the World: "Don't read this book! Bella's a virgin! That makes it Mormon propaganda!"
Poor Bella. She's got enemies on both sides. I think I know the real reason people want this banned, but I don't see 'sparkle' on the list anywhere.

3. Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher

Made the top ten for the first time in 2012. Reasons: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.
I know, right? When I first picked up this book, I thought, "I bet Hannah commits suicide because she's sick of living a life of sunshine and rainbows! And I bet everyone she left behind is happy because of it! And the moral of this story will be Suicide Makes the World Go Round. Tra-la-la-la-la."
So, not the kind of book you read as you skip off to Candyland. But it is the kind of book that can pull you back from the brink of suicide because-news flash-it doesn't actually make your life better.

4. Scary Stories series by Alvin Shwartz

Oh, it's banned now? Could you tell that to my third grade teacher? I think she traumatized us all for life. It's a completely harmless book if you read it in broad daylight. But no, she had to shut off the lights and peer at the pages through a weak flashlight. And she had to do it in her special chair with the creaky footrest. When she reached the end, she'd let out a bloodcurdling scream. One time I covered my ears because I knew what was coming. She watched me until I took them away.
It hasn't made the list since 2006 (hey, my third grade year) when it was charged with "insensitivy, occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, and violence."
I agree. These books are insensitive towards amputees. All the disembodied heads are portrayed as villains. Do you know how many good people have been decapitated in the course of human history? And what did the author have against cannibalism? Pick any powerful ancient empire. Cannibals, all of them.
That age group's probably sixty year old women.

5. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Banned in multiple years for occult/Satanism. Okay, people, I've tried those spells. They don't work. And the wizarding world? Either they're very good at hiding from muggles, or Rowling made the whole thing up. I had to write my OWN Hogwarts letter. And look what happens if you try to board the train.


So for your own health and safety, it's probably best to avoid taking these books too seriously. Looks for storylines instead of political and religious bias. Unless you're a zombie, wizard, vampire, or cat. In that case, you can do whatever you want. I'm powerless to stop you.

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