Banned Books discussion

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Banned versus Burned

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message 1: by William F. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

William F. DeVault | 4 comments We should also make sure to make a distinction between those books that have been "banned" by a religious or governmental entity and those that have been "burned", sometimes merely by unreasoning mobs (although sometimes with the tacit blessings of a church or political group).

About 20-25 years ago there was a purge on "secular humanism" in the US and several protests broke out into supposedly spontaneous burnings of literature associated with that label, often in front of a school or library.

In one of the more famous incidents, individuals were seen tossing copies of, amongst other works, "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" into a bonfire in Colorado, as the titles suggested to the protestor(s) that these books supported witchcraft.

I'll have to do a little research...I think it was during the Reagan years...


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Well then, you'll want to include Torah scrolls, Talmud, and Jewish prayerbooks.

Christians HATED the Jewish books for a long time. Burn, baby, burn. Guess they didn't like the fact that they couldn't read Hebrew.


message 3: by William F. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new)

William F. DeVault | 4 comments Charlee...Absolutely. As a huge admirer of Lewis' works, particularly his "Screwtape Letters", I was saddened by the irony of his books being burned. Of course, for real irony, just look to see how many times "Fahrenheit 451" has been burned.

Brendan...Agreed. Ignorance breeds intolerance. Intolerance drives people to destroy anything "not like us", that includes the inaccessible to us, through language, cultural or education barriers. Sad. So much history, philosophy, theology lost to animal ignorance and arrogance.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 23 comments Surely it's an interesting cultural distinction, but I feel like the effect is the same. A group, out of fear and ignorance, targets a work of literature that touches upon topics that might be considered controversial. Whether they're a mob with a torch or a school board with the power to limit curricula and library content, the reasoning and the end result are generally similar. "They're corrupting our children and our society! At least, we think they are, though we're too afraid of the effect it might have on us to actually try to read the book."


message 5: by Sean (new)

Sean Broderick | 4 comments Actually, you are dead right. Christendom had a strong fear of Judaism and "Jewishness" due to the isolationism that Jewish communities of the time preferred. The common tradition of speaking a form of Yiddish, or in some cases, Hebrew caused a huge amount of mistrust against them. The often illiterate masses rarely could even recognize a Hebrew letter, and likely saw them as Satanic for being so different looking.


message 6: by Pandora (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments Just wanted to add I remember seeing a picture of a "Christian" group standing around a bonfire burning Harry Potter. I don't know what they thought they were accomplishing because looking at the pictue all I could tbink of was Nazis.

In Berlin there is plaza with one square you could see through. Under that square is a set of empty bookshelves representing all the books that had been burned by the Nazis. There is also the quote That those who burn books rarely stop there. The quote is in German. This is why to me book burners are even scarier than book banners. I am also realizing there are more reasonable people who choose not to read something but, don't try to ban it. Although with all the horrible examples through history any closing of the mind is a dangerous thing.


message 7: by Julie (new)

Julie S. I remember hearing the quote "What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books."


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

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message 9: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
I wonder who said that? I like it. Duckie, did you mean to say something?


message 10: by ~Sara~ (new)

~Sara~ | 2 comments I think it was Freud.


message 11: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 474 comments The author on whom I did my PhD dissertation, Paul Zech (although a rather unknown German author), was one of the first to have his books publicly burned by the Nazis. Book burning sucks, and anyone who promotes or participates in such a practice is a Fascist.


message 12: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (maybedog) | 623 comments Mod
I agree.


message 13: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa With the rise in e-books will the nazis just stand round deleting stuff? How will they stay warm on their rallies? Expect sales in gloves and woolen hats to rise in intolerant areas.


message 14: by Javier (last edited Sep 16, 2010 07:54AM) (new)

Javier There's a chilling quote by Heinrich Heine which ironically foreshadows Germany's Nazi Era (since he was jewish)

"Wherever they burn books, they will end up burning people"


message 15: by M. (new)

M. Clifford (mcliffordauthor) >14. SO interesting, Old-Barbarossa, that you would bring the discussion around to deleting rather than burning. That is EXACTLY what my novel, The Book, is about. I believe this sort of thing will happen in the future. Maybe it will be intolerant groups, or maybe it will be a corrupt "Big Brother"-like government. Either way, it will be scary.


message 16: by Emily (new)

Emily | 1 comments You can burn books, but you can't burn ideas! Censoring or burning or banning a book will only increase the intrigue it holds.


message 17: by Julie (new)

Julie S. Javier, I think that Nostradamus also said something similiar about burning books and acting violently towards people.


message 18: by M. (new)

M. Clifford (mcliffordauthor) Yes Emily, but what about when all books are digital? It's probably not that far off (maybe in the next generation or two). Who will control the digital information? The government? The Publishing Houses? If information can be silently censored, how long before no one remembers that there was a different version originally?


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The Book (other topics)

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Paul Zech (other topics)