Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My New Hero (maybe)

Maybe you've heard about the kid who is keeping a lending library of banned books in an appropriated private school locker, so that he can freely distribute them to interested classmates? As reported by BoingBoing here last week, I would love to believe that there really is a high-school student passionate enough about reading to put himself trouble's way for the benefit of others, but I fear that this may be another one of those internet hoaxes...

Still, it raises interesting points. Like, can you believe that school libraries are still worried enough about a four letter word from the pen of canonized authors corrupting the minds of kids who can freely access pornography with a Google search and the click of a mouse? But even if this was a hoax, we still need to realize that artists of every discipline are in danger of having their voices silenced, stifled or at the very least, changed - even today.

Try finding the best-selling new album from Green Day (which sprung to #1 on the charts in 14 countries upon its release last month) at WalMart. Seems that they won't carry anything with a parental warning sticker on it, and Green Day refused to change some of their 'objectionable language' to suit the suits' tastes. Sorry folks - if WalMart is your community's only music retailer, then you're are out of luck with this one. Read more on this travesty in Howie Klein's piece in The Huffington Post.

Where does this leave us now? Well, the locker may well be a fanciful notion, but the threat to our freedom of speach (or our freedom to read or to listen or to watch) is still a very real and present danger.

So how about we take a small moment here and celebrate our favorite banned things, and then join the EFF. My favorite banned book would have to be Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, if only for the hysterical irony of banning a book about the dangers of book banning. How about you?

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