“Banned Books Week” is here. But “banned books” are mostly a media hoax.
According to this year’s honorary chair of Banned Books Week, LaVar Burton, who is best known for his marquis roles in Roots and Star Trek (and also fondly remembered for the PBS series Reading Rainbow, which many millennials, myself included, enjoyed as children), “The ability to read and access books is a fundamental right and a necessity for lifelong success.”
Burton is quite right, of course. And his statement, combined with the week’s most prevalent imagery—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten holding up a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird—might lead one to believe that today’s conservatives are out to ban literature on the order of Harper Lee’s classic 1960 novel.
Yes, there are people out there who would like to do just that, and excise from school curricula and public libraries all literature that makes any mention of sex or race. Yes, I’ve even met some of them.
But the truth is that these reactionary outliers have virtually nothing to do with the media creation that is “banned books week.” Because Banned Books Week is not a reaction to GOP-imposed limits on “people’s ability to read and access books.”
With a few regrettable and misunderstood exceptions, the attempt to excise certain books from schools is a reaction to bipartisan, parent-imposed limits on children’s ability to read and access ideologically motivated, gender-fluid pornography. In their school libraries. Under the guise of educational content.
Honest progressives—ones who’ve actually looked at the poorly written, lurid trash in question (which most haven’t) and who have the barest acquaintance with the needs and psyches of young children (which many don’t)—admit as much.
Moreover, to the extent that anyone today is attempting to ban real books, the opponents of literary access come from the Left, not the Right.
Only, unlike the conservative straw men of “Banned Books Week” fame, leftist censors do not attempt to ban books that sane people of all political persuasions would near-universally agree are inappropriate for all children. Instead, they attempt to eliminate and/or sanitize literature that only elite progressives schooled in the intricacies of perpetual victimhood and self-righteous fragility find “triggering.”
Books, that is, like To Kill a Mockingbird, which was banned by racists in the 1960s because of its depiction of 1930s Southern racism and is often banned (or sanitized) once again—only by so-called anti-racists—today.
“Banned Books Week” would be more aptly named “pretend that bipartisan attempts to remove pornography from school libraries are actually conservative attempts to ban acclaimed literature that progressives are responsible for censoring” week.
The people promoting “Banned Books Week” must enjoy science fiction. Because Banned Books Week is based on little else.