How’s this for obvious? Banning books makes them popular.

Seems this comes as news to some Missouri librarians, though. According to a news article on the website:

Since Webb City, Mo.‘s school library banned three books in the award-winning Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, patrons can’t find them on the public library’s shelves either.

That’s because the decision to ban the books, which deal with an adolescent girl’s development, only made them popular with readers in this southwest Missouri town.

“It’s been on the hold list since the challenge,” said Sue Oliveira, the public librarian. “The surest way to get everyone to read a book is to ban it.”

Which really does pretty much sum up why I think most folks who want to control what we read are idiots. They think that by calling for a ban on a particular book they’re doing a good thing and protecting their community from a lurking evil in their libraries when all they’re really doing is calling attention to something that most folks probably wouldn’t know about anyway and wouldn’t bother to pick up if the idiots weren’t screaming about it. The best way to ensure that something becomes popular is to try and ban it. I wouldn’t be surprised if some authors even secretly hope their books will be challenged with a possible ban as it’s sure to help pump up sales and interest.

It doesn’t help my opinion that a lot of these book challenges are instigated by overly religious Christians who have rarely, if ever, actually read even a small part of the book(s) they’re trying to ban. If they had at least read the book they’d have some small measure of integrity in my eyes, but most haven’t and are going off of the wild claims of some other overly religious Christian out to force their worldview on the rest of us.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series headed the list. A grandmother from Springfield attempted to have the Potter books banned in school libraries there because she felt they taught witchcraft.

If you’ve read any of the books you know for a fact that there isn’t a single set of instructions in there on how to cast a single spell. Unless you count the passage where Hermione offers advice to Ron on how to properly cast the object levitation spell they’re trying to learn. If you know anyone who is able to take that small bit of advice and successfully learn how to cast the spell for real then please contact me as I have a great idea for a new business lifting heavy objects for people.

Anyway, this is another reason why I support efforts like the Banned Book Project and the Banned Book Week, which is organized by the American Library Association.

Folks like Thomas Jefferson would as well: ”[If a book were] very innocent, and one which might be confided to the reason of any man; not likely to be much read if let alone, but if persecuted, it will be generally read. Every man in the United States will think it a duty to buy a copy, in vindication of his right to buy and to read what he pleases.”—Thomas Jefferson to N. G. Dufief, 1814. ME 14:128

11 thoughts on “How’s this for obvious? Banning books makes them popular.

  1. Unless you count the passage where Hermione offers advice to Ron on how to properly cast the object levitation spell they’re trying to learn.

    And even if JK Rowling’s pages were filled from top to bottom with the particulars of spells, what would the difference be? Witchcraft, like the bible, is a fiction. There is no difference between the two. If you want to ban a book because it deals in the “occult” (which wiccans would argue is a religion) than you need to ban all other cult books (again, like the bible).

  2. I agree with you about banning books. They are idiots wink And I guarantee that none of them have ever tried to read all of the books that they are banning from cover to cover. Instead they just tell people they can’t. It is a bunch of shit.

  3. Yeah! I agree with you 100%! I haven’t actually experienced a book banning problem at my school just yet but still… These people need to LEARN and READ the books, not just read the summaries and say,“Oh, let’s ban this book!” I guess they never heard of the classic saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

  4. If people must attack a book based upon it’s ‘obscene” or distasteful content,I have a target for them.
    There is a book,widespread in our country,that contains references to homosexuality and rape.This book involves murder,genocide,and killing of family members and brutal massacre of entire cities.
    This book also contains a torrent of information about the Devil and his wiles,and is in fact the foundation for almost all Stanic cults.
    Through the years,this book also has caused people to murder indiscriminately,to torture and execute those who didn’t follow the book’s lessons,and to mount campaigns of genocide in which millions were slaughtered.

    This is the Holy Bible.

    ……….need I say more?  You tell me.

  5. This sort of thing always make me chuckle. I put it in the category of christian insecurity again, after all if the bible is such a wonderful and convincing book then why would you need to ban books that have a different message? On the same note if christianity were such a wonderful and convincing faith then why do they feel the need to continually attack those who believe differently?

    In fact they should welcome different views and books, because they should only serve to highlight how right they are and how wrong everything else is. They go on and on about god given free will, and then use the Henry Ford approach. ( Henry Fords classic ‘Any colour as long as it’s black…’ ) To my mind that’s religious insecurity.

  6. Wow you all have very strong idea about christians. However i think you are unfairly lumping them all together. I myself am a very strong believer in my faith and that is christanity. (actually Lutheran, but its a form of christanity) I am currently writing a paper on why i disagree with the practice of banning books. I think its atrocious how people can ban books because they feel they are unfit to read. I myself have read alot of books that have either been challenged or banned and found them to be some of the best forms of literature. So i myself agree with all of you that books should not be banned however i dont always think its the christians that protest these books.

    if you disagree with me thats fine but thanks for letting me state my opinion.

  7. It may not always be christians trying to ban books, but I would argue since it’s almost always attempted on a moral or religious basis, then it usually is. If not christians then another religious sect.

    And that doesn’t imply that ALL christians or ALL religions support the banning of any book in question. But I don’t see alot of atheist or freethinkers trying to ban anything.

    I find it absurd that anyone would feel justified in trying to ban a book. How do they live with themselves? To want to ban it, you have to have read it. So you’re essentially saying “WOW, after reading this book, I find it an afront to my sensibilities. Luckily MY superior faith/morals will come out unscathed, but I now must protect all of those out there who are weaker in constitution than I, lest they be dragged into the depths of ___ “

    Superiority complex at it worst.

  8. I have an upcoming debate on this subject and I was wondering if you could give me a few helpful comments on how to “attack” the opposing team, I am grateful for any thoughts or facts that you would like to share.


  9. I can bring up a few suggestions, lemme tell a little story which nearly got me banned from the Christian school I attended in my sophomore year. Almost, becasue they couldn’t argue about me being right.

    We were in Bible class when the teacher brought up the subject of Dungeons and Dragons, and how they it was an evil game created to teach people about the devil. Hehe…

    Well, the four of us that sat at my table usually used this useless period to design our campaign setting, we used propped up books to block her view. I stood up, as did they, and we held up our Player;‘s Handbooks and Dungeon Master’s Guides, and proceeded to fill in the facts for her. Such as how she was spouting nothing but garbage, that the game had been created by two teenagers in thier garages some 30 years back, oh, and how the basis was chess and Risk, not satanic manuals.

    We took questions from the class and explained the game, they were very interested in the Paladin and Cleric classes, being Holy Warriors and all that.

    The trick is to let the people for banning the books spout lies first. Then, simply turn them over with facts, this topples thier argument and completely annihilates thier opinion when they are flatly seen as liars.

    Book burners provide the fire with which you can burn them. Just wait for it.

  10. Oh yes, and I should add to my previous comment, all four of us at that table passed the Bible class with 90-100 averages. smile

  11. And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing.

    John Milton, Areopagitica, 1664

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