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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Banned Books Week - HOGWASH!

An old read, but a good read nonetheless..and extremely relevant to today.

Book Banning is Happening Now!! That is what the sign said in the midst of a big display in the bookstore window. As it turned out, book banning was not happening. Hogwash was happening.

The books in the display were not banned. You can get them at bookstores from sea to shining sea. The government itself buys some of them. Many of these books are circulating in the tens of thousands, and some in the millions.

A poster in the display proclaimed [the week of October 3, 1994] to be "Banned Books Week."

The kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of "censorship" or "book banning" has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own.


No one calls it censorship when the old McGuffey's Readers are no longer purchased by the public schools (though they are still available and are actually being used in some private schools). No one calls it censorship if the collected works of Rush Limbaugh are not put into libraries and schools in every town, hamlet and middlesex village.

It is only when the books approved by the elite intelligentsia are objected to by others that it is called censorship. Apparently we are not to talk back to our betters.

All this is just one more skirmish in the cultural wars of our time. In war, someone pointed out long ago, truth is the first casualty. Those who are spreading hysteria about book banning and censorship know that they are in a war, but too many of those who thoughtlessly repeat their rhetoric do not.

It is not enough to see through fraudulent rhetoric in a particular case if you continue to listen gullibly to those who have used such rhetoric to muddy the waters.

There should have been a sign in that bookstore window saying "Hogwash is happening."

That's what really rates two exclamation point--and perhaps a National Hogwash Week.

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