This week’s book links have not been banned

wereadtoknowwearenotaloneI’ve been relatively quiet during Banned Books Week, but here are a few cool literary bits and pieces I’ve found for you guys.

Stephen King argues that books—by which he means paper codicesare going to be around for a long time, and I agree with him.

Script Shadow asks: What makes a good story idea? Also, what makes a bad idea? And, can you make a bad idea good?

The movement to make scientific publishing more open to the public is on! But, can it work, realistically? Let’s hope so.

Now, if you want to know why I’m no fan of Banned Books Week, keep reading.

Are you sure?

Alright, then…

_

I didn’t want to go overboard with my negative view of Banned Books Week, because I know people are reeeeeeeally into it, but I will state my position for the sake of transparency. I agree that many banned books have merit as literature, and of course book bans are terrible things done by awful people, but to promote reading lists of books simply because they were prohibited by someone at some point is not in the interest of literary merit.

It would be like a white person dating black people as a protest against past segregation—not because they think black guys/girls are hot (a totally legit aesthetic preference) or because they like someone who just happens to be black—but merely because there were Jim Crow laws against miscegenation at one point in history. “I date black people because someone said I couldn’t!” is asinine and offensive reasoning. The only point being proved is an infatuation with stunt politics and misguided gestures.

Plus, there’s something a little creepy about it, don’t you think? Imagine you asked your partner the perennial lover’s question, “Why do you love me?” and the answer was: “Because at one point someone said I couldn’t.” Would that make you feel good about yourself, or feel like a token object in someone’s curio shelf of good deeds?

If someone ever told me that they had read a book of mine because it was on a banned list, I would not be flattered. I mean, fine and thanks for reading, but what did you think of the book on its own merits? Would I be expected to be grateful for being picked out of a No-No naughty list so the reader could pat themselves on the back? Honestly, I would probably be more flattered that I got banned in the first place.

This sort of thing does not honor the individual (book or person) that it claims to honor, and it does not honor the merit of content, neither the content of the book’s story nor the content of the person’s character. It simply repeats a merit-less negative error with a merit-less positive error. It’s like: “Avoiding X in your diet doesn’t make you healthy, so taking a lot of X must make you healthy!”

No. Just… No.

Instead of celebrating banned books, how about we celebrate the freedom to read what we want by reading what we want, rather than slavishly following some anti-canonical schedule handed down to us from on high by literati who simply wrote down a list of books some idiot didn’t like?

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