My Belief on Censorship

In my first blog of the year, I posted a very weak, straddle-the-line opinion where I believed banning books was wrong but some form of censorship is okay. Although that opinion is valid in its own way, I believe that censorship is any way is wrong, and that we shouldn’t censor or ban anything. My main influence for this is a certain author named Ray Bradbury, but also because of the importance I place on history.

When Ray Bradbury wrote the book Fahrenheit 451, he did so thinking that the version everyone would read would be his words, his writing. He had no idea that what would be published in mass and read by most was a censored version of his writing. He was infuriated by this, and said this in response, “All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees, hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch, I run the bases. At sunset, I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m up again, giving it the old try.”(Bradbury) This quote really opened my eyes to the opinion of a writer. I thought about it from their perspective. If I wrote a novel, and found out people had changed my writing, it would lose its meaning. I would be infuriated too. Censorship isn’t just changing words, it’s changing thoughts. My writing was meant to portray a certain message, and I want that message to be the one to get across, not some other editor’s message.

Lastly, I think many books, whether fiction or non-fiction, can tell us so much about a society at the time that we can’t afford to ban it. Books such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Always Running, and Mein Kampf are good examples of this. In Perks, the story has two young gay lovers who are very marginalized. We as a society could look at this tale and think that just maybe marginalizing gay people, who are just like everyone else, is wrong. Instead, our minds stop at the word gay and immediately want to torch the book because it isn’t “normal.” In Always Running, we could read the story and discuss how bad gang life is and do our part to clean up ghettos and get kids off the streets and into schools. Instead, we stop at the word gang and want to torch the book because if our children read this they will want to be gangsters. Funny, because after I read the book in middle school I wanted nothing more than to stay in school forever. Finally, a book like Mein Kampf lets us stop from having history repeat itself. I have no doubt that in a few hundred years some idiot will have the idea of purging the world of humans who don’t follow him and his beliefs. It is inevitable. However, if we keep Mein Kampf around, a good historian can say to this guy “hey wait, someone already did this and it was a terrible idea. You should stop.” However, we want to torch this book because it defiles the memories of lost lives. The lives are already gone, a book you chose to read or not to read will not defile their memories. That’s like Kim Kardashian saying homosexual marriages ruin the sanctity of marriage. It’s just stupid.

In conclusion, I believe that censorship is a terrible idea. Even a book about how to become a molester has its values. I haven’t read any such book, but there is no such thing as a useless idea. Everything has its own value, has its own worth, and it’s up to us to actually read the whole thing and figure out what it is worth. It could be that the author has his own message that shouldn’t be changed. It could be that the author liked a story about witches and vampires, which have been around for centuries. It could be that the book has historical value, or significant societal impact. Whatever the case is, censoring and banning the book is wrong.

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The Perks of Doing this Presentation

First of all, I learned a lot in this class. I learned a lot about the different merits of book banning, what’s okay to ban, what’s not okay to ban, and how to go about the subject in general. I’ve also learned more about our society, and what we as a collective group take as okay, and what isn’t okay. It kind of surprised me, but I was also pretty disappointed.

While doing this project, though, I learned a lot about how homophobic our society really is. The gay portion of the book is pretty small and marginalized, just like how it is in real life, and yet still we can’t handle it as a society and want to ban the book over this. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very good book, one that encourages students to read and gives them relatable stories to read, and yet we can’t get past the controversial themes, themes that don’t seem to even affect the students. It’s pretty disappointing what parents will do, but it’s not unexpected.

The best part of this project was the easiness in which research was done. Thanks to the Chapman library database, researching for print resources was incredibly easy. Rather than paging through magazine after magazine, I was able to, from the comfort of my bed, research magazines and books that talked about Perks. After I discovered this, I volunteered to be the group researcher because it was such an easy job I felt confident I could get it done quickly. Our group had other things to do as well, and we used our strengths well to get the job done.

Lastly, while 20 minutes seemed daunting at first, when split up between four people, and including time for questions and videos, it wasn’t bad at all. It didn’t seem like we were up there for a very long time and that we were able to get all the information out in a concise manner, but still enough information that we filled up the twenty minutes we needed. The presentation aspect, at first what seemed to be the hardest part, ended up being far easier than expected.