Guest Post: Book Banning and Censorship, by Mikaela Nadeau
If there is one thing that has been prevalent in the news of recent times is the topic of book banning. With the heightened attention of books like Gender Queer in school libraries, we seem to have entered into a time where outrage has split across multiple parties of specific books in school libraries. In addition to these particular conversations, another author has been the subject of a much less well-known proliferation of censorship by those who find offence at the terminology and words of an author who has touched many of our lives in childhood. Yet the news coverage never truly sparked the outrage that Gender Queer has. You might ask yourself why, and find that its because rather than ban the original works of Road Dahl - we instead are given edited versions of what the author wrote for generations.
I want to also highlight the fact that removing sexually explicit graphic novels from school libraries, is not book banning. It’s the removal of inappropriate material from school libraries. These books are not banned, they are removed only from one source that should not be purchasing such books for children - yes including high-schoolers. If sexting is considered illegal, and the possession of such pornography in school is considered against code, than I find it hypocritical that novels depicting such things are also found in school. Arguments that Gender Queer are being banned is false, as the novel is itself still available at public libraries, book stores, and for purchase through online reading devices. As such a ban is not appropriate in how it is being painted - instead the removal of sexually explicit material from a school is mostly due diligence in adhering to the codes of the school itself.
So how does Gender Queer get as much media attention as it does, and yet the Roald Dahl controversy does not? I would argue that one is much more akin to shuttering an artist as opposed to the other. Recently publishers decided to change what they deemed offensive terminology in many classic Roald Dahl novels, and some of the verbiage used has made it no less offensive than the original text itself. Yet the fact remains that others are deciding what is offensive versus allowing the reader and the parents to judge it for themselves.
If a publishing company finds the necessary action to highlight their personal opinions and personal feelings regarding a novel in their companies holdings, than I would argue it is far more appropriate to put a publisher’s note upon the beginning of the novel versus the rearranging and changing of an author or artists work.
It seems to me that the basis for such changes is to appeal to the few versus the many, it is a decision made to benefit the ‘greater good’ without acknowledging that they themselves do not get to determine what is for the ‘greater good’, and in addition a blatant disrespect to an author and artists original work. Regardless of how problematic an author or artist is, how can certain small shareholders, and powers determine what should be done versus not be done regarding the original thoughts of an individual.
There are plenty of ways people can choose to not support artists and authors they find problematic, and it is to not support them financially. If you do not like Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Mark Twain, or others, simply do not buy the novels, support the movies, or depictions based upon them. To erase an authors or artists original work may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is akin to erasing the history of many peoples in society.
*This is a guest post by Mikaela Nadeau. The views expressed are those of Mikaela Nadeau, and not endorsed by the New Gloucester GOP. The New Gloucester GOP supports the right of individuals to submit guest blog posts freely, and without censorship. If you are interested in sharing an article, or post please send all submissions to email@example.com