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.