Political Correctness and Censorship / Banning Books

by TerryWalstrom 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom


    Let’s say you live in a land where the Rule is: You can’t offend anyone.
    Okay, fair enough. Let’s take a look at what follows (implicit in this rule).

    If you are speaking to 10 people, is it okay to offend 1 in 10? 1 in a 100?
    1 in a 1000?

    If you say anything Important about something vital you’re guaranteed to offend at least 1 person. It is a given.

    What would this mean?

    You’re not going to be able to say anything important ever because the rule will stop you.

    Which--if you’re honest--is the same as saying 1 offended person’s feelings are way more important than the other 999 people who want to hear vital things spoken (and written) about important topics.

    Yes--this HAS HAPPENED before and it will happen again!

    If you scoff--why not take a look at the surprising books BANNED by offended authorities in schools and libraries.

    1. TARZAN of the APES (Edgar Rice Burroughs)
    Why? Obviously, Tarzan and Jane were living in sin! Duh.

    2. Where the Wild Things Are ( Maurice Sendak)
    Why? Because the character, Max, was punished by being sent to bed without dinner.

    3. The Diary of a Young Girl, ( Anne Frank )
    Why? “It’s a real downer,” said Alabama State Textbook Committee

    4. American Heritage Dictionary
    In 1987, for example, the Anchorage Alaska School Board banned this dictionary for its "objectionable" entries — particularly slang words, including "bed," "knocker," and "balls."

    5. The Lorax, ( Dr. Seuss )

    Why? The logging industry was offended by the anti-deforesting plot line.

    6. Little Red Riding Hood, ( Trina Schart Hyman )

    Why? Culver City, California school board objected to the cover illustration "Showing the grandmother who has consumed half a bottle of wine with a red nose is not a lesson we want to teach,"

    7. Hansel and Gretel, ( The Brothers Grimm )

    Why? In 1992, two self-proclaimed witches claimed: “It gives witches a bad name.”

    8. Where's Waldo?, ( Martin Hanford )

    Why? The book was banned in Michigan and New York because of a sunbathing woman suffering a wardrobe malfunction the size of a pinhead in a corner of one of Martin Hanford's drawings.

    9. Twelfth Night, ( William Shakespeare )

    Why? School authorities in Merrimack, New Hampshire objected: jolly cross-dressing and fake-same-sex romance were deemed in violation of the district's "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction," and copies of the play were pulled from schools.

    10. James and the Giant Peach, ( Roald Dahl )

    Why? In Wisconsin in 1999, the book was banned because of concerns the spider licking its lips could be interpreted as sexual.

    11. Charlotte's Web, ( E.B. White )

    Why? A parents group in Kansas decided that any book featuring two talking animals must be the work of the devil, and so had E.B. White's 1952 work barred from classrooms. “ Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God." (What about the talking serpent in Eden? Hmm.)

    12. Harry Potter series, ( J.K. Rowling )

    Why? The pastor of St. Joseph School in Wakefield, Massachusetts, deemed their sorcery-heavy storylines inappropriate for a Catholic school.

    13. The Grapes of Wrath, ( John Steinbeck )

    Why? “Communist values.”

    14. Animal Farm, (George Orwell)

    Why? Anti-Stalin themes. *(Yes, the murderer of 100 million people was once an ally during WWII).

    15. Catcher in the Rye, (J. D. Salinger)

    Why? “Sexual references.”

    I could go on and on--but the point is made, I think.

    If our rule becomes: You Can’t Offend Anyone, you’re not going to be able to say anything important, create something novel and surprising ever because THE RULE will stop you.

    Just 1 overly sensitive soul who objects will prevent the 999 others from reading Charlotte's Web or looking for Waldo.

    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS means well--but the unintended consequences are TOO DIRE.

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  • JeffT

    Here in Seattle a few years ago a Native-American woman (who admitted she had not read the book) tried to have "Brave New World" banned because of references to "Savages." I can't remember if she was successful. The best comment I heard was "if she read the book she'd know the 'Savages' are the good guys."

  • LoveUniHateExams

    You're quite right in the points you make, Terry.

    No book should be banned.

    Unless it says 'Dear reader, kill the [group of people] ...'

    14. Animal Farm, (George Orwell)

    Why? Anti-Stalin themes. *(Yes, the murderer of 100 million people was once an ally during WWII) - WTF, who wanted Animal Farm to be banned?!

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Also, going by the rule 'you cant' offend anyone' or even 'let's please certain people by pushing their agenda' stifles creativity because this is elevated above making a decent film with a cohesive plot and well-written characters.

    Result: creativity suffers.

    There are plenty of classic films of the 70s and 80s that wouldn't get made today because someone, somewhere, would find it 'problematic' (Jesus, I hate that word).

    Take Star Wars, original trilogy. People have a point when they criticise the OT for lack of women and minorities among the cast. Disney's Star Wars films are much better in this regard.

    But the Disney films are guff ... the original films are much, much better by any objective measurement.

    (I only switch to talking about films because I know them better than books, but it's the same principle.)

  • Ultimate Axiom
    Ultimate Axiom

    Let’s say you live in a land where the Rule is: You can’t offend anyone.

    Yes you’re right, this is an impossibility. It reminds me of that old joke where a kid disagrees that God can do anything. “OK, name something He can’t do”, asks his teacher, “He can’t please everyone”.

    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS means well--but the unintended consequences are TOO DIRE.

    Only if PC is taken too far – we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Banning those books by the PC brigade is absurd, it seems to me that some people want to go to ridiculous extremes to boast the liberal values. On the other hand, there are those who seem to think that because they have the right to offend people, that means that they have a duty to do so. And I see no merit it offending people for the sake of it.

    When I was at school we read Ballantyne’s Coral Island, and I thought it was so exciting. A few years ago I found a copy in a B&B I was staying at and thought I would read it again. I was struck by the fact that the author seemed to think that all natives of Pacific Islands were savage black people with curly hair whose greatest pleasure was eating people, he even had some ‘savages’ debating which races produced the tastiest meat. And even when he gets help from some of these natives, he still refers to them as ‘friendly savages’. While I would not ban that book, I’m sure it has value as a product of its time, but I certainly would not recommend it to children today.

  • em1913

    In 1952, the city of Boston banned the comic book "Panic" -- a knockoff of "Mad" -- because it published a satire of "The Night Before Christmas." "Political correctness," so called, goes way way back in America. I'm pretty sure there were banned books when I was attending school, long long ago, but that never stopped me from reading anything I wanted to read, whenever I wanted to read it.

  • Hairtrigger

    Question: Why are Enid Blyton’s books banned in the US?

  • zeb

    The National library in Canberra Australia banned 'Noddy' (Enid Blyton) as it was seen as 'cretinous'.

    This comment came from the head librarian.. the little stories of Noddy were above her thinking level ..

    I was not a where of the others but if one bans something then others of their ilk will go for a ban something.

  • WTWizard

    Political correctness is a form of communism, plain and simple. The truth offends anyone that lives by a lie, and if that is a crime, the truth becomes a crime. We are still on an earth that is the center of the universe, shaped like a record album, and anyone that ventures too close to the edge falls into oblivion (though fluids such as air and water, and animals, cannot). Anyone that presents proof that this is a lie (it is, made up by the cat lick church to stifle innovation) is guilty of offending those who depend on this lie to control the masses.

    And, it depends on that everyone is exactly equal in all ways. Again, this serves to hold back society because everyone in all groups has to sacrifice their cultures to not offend someone. People get put in work they cannot do, live in incompatible communities, and push their absurdity on the whole community (this is common with religious integration). If it is a sin in one religion to expose a pixel of nude skin (in areas such as the face), then it is the law that one must not do so. If one religion (common in all the Judeo-Christian and Islam religions at the core) wishes to repress an idea, then even saying a word about it is "swearing". If people in a country take a nickname and just one of them is offended by it, that word (even in its original context) becomes a taboo.

    And, it has done significant damage already. It is most blatant in listening to radio. Anyone remember the 1950s through the 1980s? Music back then was lively. Sometime in the 1990s, and especially more recently, some individuals or small groups got "offended" by certain words, and now music coming out today is so watered down and lame that most teenagers today prefer classics such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Michael Jackson instead of the "music(??)" found on the radio today.

    Worse, it happens in science. In music, it blah-ifies people's lives. In science, it prevents real problems from being solved. It is why three-minute trips to Pluto or Sedna can't happen. It is why we cannot visit stars within a reasonable time (say, visit the Belt of Orion in around 90 minutes). It is why diseases are "incurable". It is why we have an "energy crisis" that never seems to end, and why the environment is being threatened (yet, it is politically incorrect to mention chemtrails that poison the land, obscure your view of the sun and stars, and waste colossal amounts of energy). And, it is politically incorrect to mention that debt-based fiat currency is the road to your enslavement.

    You might claim that you have the right to not be offended. But where's MY right to see the stars in the Belt of Orion during the early winter? Where's MY right to know that, if I should get a disease, there's a cure that isn't going to drain my bank account and cause me worse suffering than the disease itself? Where's MY right to being able to live longer than 120 years, which is the absolute limit joke-hova imposed on the human race? Where's MY right to enjoy my culture, without infringing on other cultures or being infringed on by other cultures because of forced integration? Where's MY right to not have widespread crime and violence imposed by this forced integration? Where's MY right to not have peer pressure to do a lousy job in my education or to take harmful drugs? Oh, that's right--the reptilians and joke-hova's right to not be offended is more important.

  • smiddy3

    I would hate to see anything the WT/JW prints or says being banned as that is the best "witness" against them.

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