If you want to read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, now is the perfect time to start. Last week was National Banned Books Week, designated to promote these and other books once or currently banned from libraries around the country.
Sounds like a good idea, right? Oh, and others on the list include Hang-ups, Hook-ups, and Holding Out: Stuff You Need to Know about Your Body, Sex, and Dating, Sex for Busy People: The Art of the Quickie for Lovers on the Go, and other publications of questionable literary merit but attention-grabbing content.
Still, all things considered, celebrating freedom of speech with Banned Books Week seems like a no-brainer to this journalist and English major. A week to celebrate works of great literature rejected by the uncultured masses who don't understand them? Sign me up. And if, as one Christian philosopher once wrote, "All truth is God's truth," we have nothing to fear. Once the dust settles from the resulting collision of ideas, the truth will still be standing.
But amid the hullabaloo about John Steinbeck and Harper Lee, maybe we're missing something. It's easy to support a week celebrating banned high school books; it's a little harder to put your money where your mouth is when safety and sanctity are on the line.
The Danish cartoon fiasco is one example. The cartoons caricaturing Muhammad created an uproar four years ago when artists received death threats for creating them. Last month, Yale University Press omitted the cartoons from an upcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World (H/T to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway at GetReligion for pointing that out).
Yale's reason for cutting the cartoon—"There ...1
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