I read a column this morning about book banning in certain schools and states in the US and I must admit it brought the same feeling of righteous indignation that I got when they were stranded in the library in the movie 2012 and burning the books for warmth. I wanted to get up and shout “For the love of all that is good and holy, don’t you people know about body heat?”
I can understand the ideology behind banning some books, but in our day and age this is just like adding fuel to the fire, especially when you consider the age groups in which these books are being banned (which is pretty much what the columnist said). Have you ever tried telling a teenager that they are not allowed to do something? You are guaranteed to get the opposite reaction. And then there was Google. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING you cannot Google. If you can’t find the particular item on Google itself, you can find someone that can tell you how, where and when to get it or you are just doing it wrong.
The parent’s attempts to filter information before it gets to their kids is admirable, but what I don’t understand is why not let the kids have the information and trust that you have taught them well enough to stick with their moral compass.
My mom is an avid reader. Given the choice between a sandwich or a book, she’s likely to take the book. Growing up I was surrounded by books and her love for them. None of the books on the shelf was out of bounds, if I wanted to read it I was allowed to. I remember the first time I read Griet skryf ‘n Sprokie, by Marita van der Vyver, which is a very explicit book. I blushed furiously and confess I was so naïve that I didn’t know what most of the things she was describing were.
My point I am trying to make is just because I read it in a book I didn’t go out and do it. I knew that some of the things I had read did not coincide with my moral compass. I took what I wanted from the book. That it was ridiculously funny and honest. I enjoyed it. I didn’t want to go out and emulate anything that I had read. It was a book, not real life.
I wonder….maybe that is where we seem to have lost the plot? Could it be because we life in an age for self-help and self-enlightment books, that books have become the compass that we steer our lives by?