To mock a book-banner

Erna Paris, the Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, wrote an eloquent article about some recent Canadian examples of book challenges:

In Canada, more than a hundred books have been challenged over the past two decades alone, in schools, in the courts, in libraries and in bookstores, but although they have been removed from classrooms and shelves, they have rarely been banned outright. Today, the stated reasons are usually perceived racism, inappropriate sexual content and, occasionally, political reasons, including one claim that a children’s book misrepresented the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Margaret Atwood’s dystopic The Handmaid’s Tale is a frequent source of inspiration to the censorious class.

Yes, it is all quite depressing, but there is a happy side: Banned books are always so very enticing. We itch to read them , and we usually do, sooner or later. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hid a book my parents disapproved of under the covers to read surreptitiously with a flashlight.

This article also includes some examples of historical censorship:

Long before books were replicated in multiple copies, banning was effected in other ways. In the marketplaces of medieval Spain, political parody and satire were vocalized in verse, to the delight of the townsfolk , leading one beleaguered king to publish an ordinance forbidding “the singing of songs.

Read ‘To mock a book-banner’ in the Globe and Mail

Posted in freedom of information Tagged: canada, censorship, challenges, historical censorship

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