We take our freedom seriously here in the United States
So when someone tries to say, “what’s good for me is good for you”…there’s likely to be problems…
The United States Constitution, and specifically the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights, guarantees our individual freedoms and civil rights…
First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The vocabulary of book banning A challenge to a book is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon objections of a person or group.
The vocabulary of book banning The banning of a book is the removal of those materials.
The vocabulary of book banning Censorship is the control of what people may say or hear, write or read, see or do. In most cases, this kind of control comes from a government or from various types of private groups. Censorship can affect books, newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television programs and speeches. It may also influence painting, sculpture and other arts" World Book Encyclopedia.
There are different types of censorship: Moral censorship based on obscenity laws Political censorship used by governments that fear free expression Religious censorship where the government is close to one religion or where religious feelings run high
Who challenges or bans books? Individuals Governments Churches Religious groups Military Social entities
Historical perspective on censorship From the earliest of time to present day, censorship and book banning has been going on.
Historical perspective on censorship In 585 BC, the fabulist Aesop, was thrown from a cliff by priests of Delphi, considered to be “an execution for sacrilege” stemming from his fables.
Historical perspective on censorship CENSOR (from Lat. censere, assess, estimate; in Gr. rtunr,~s). I. In ancient Rome, the title of the two Roman officials who presided over the census, the registration of individual citizens for the purpose of determining the duties which they owed ‘to, the community.
Historical perspective on censorship Over time, these “censors” took on more responsibility for overseeing activities of a “moral” nature rather than strictly the registration of citizens….
The playwright Euripides (480 -406 BC) defended the true liberty of freeborn men; the right to speak freely, and he added diplomatically: "Who neither can nor will may hold his peace. What can be more just in a State than this?".
In 398 BC, at the height of the Peloponnesian War, Aristophanes introduced his satire, Lysistrata. In it, Athenian women, fed up with the war, barricade themselves in the Acropolis and go on a sex strike to force their husbands to vote for peace with Sparta…
The Athenian ruler Cleophon called for Aristophanes’ deportation as an alien for writing morally offensive material. The manner in which Aristophanes satirized Cleophon may have been a deciding factor…(quote?)
Censorship was a not an unusual feature of ancient societies. Rome possessed sumptuary laws, and laws dealing with moral offences, which it was the duty of other magistrates to enforce.
Besides book banning, Romans, like the Greeks before them, also practiced book burning. Tiberius enacted a policy of burning books which was criticized by the Elder Seneca. Tiberius not only burned books but had authors executed.
Ovid’s "Ars Amatoria" (The Art of Love) c. 1 B.C. is a treatise on the art of seduction and intrigue. The message was subversive of the official program of moral reforms then being fostered by Emperor Augustus. It also included a number of references in their contexts both flippant and tactless to symbols of Augustus's personal prestige.
A.D. 8 Rome : The Emperor Augustus banished Ovid for writing "Ars Amatoria" and for an “unknown act of folly.” Some scholars feel Ovid insinuated that Augustus’ wife, Julia, was having an adulterous affair with D. Silanus, and that this is really what caused the book to be banned. Ovid was sent to the Greek town of Tomi, near the mouth of the Danube, where he died in exile eight years later.
In 1235, the Inquisition was established by Pope Gregory IX to patrol and enforce the orthodoxy of the Catholic faith.
The Inquisition, over the next four hundred years, practiced an extremely direct form of censorship involving the examination of published works, their judgment of heretical content or otherwise, and the seeking out and examination of the authors.
If an idea did not fit in with established church law, it could not be circulated. Writers such as Giordono Bruno, in 1600, and Lucilio Vanini, 1619, were burned along with their works.
1613 – Galileo struggles with Inquisition censors regarding his works on the Copernican theory.
From 1559 to 1964, the Vatican published an index listing books that Roman Catholics were forbidden to read, entirely or in part.
In their zeal to Christianize the New World, missionaries destroyed almost all of the Indians' books. This codex, now in the British Library, is one of the few survivors.
Martin Luther's disagreement with the Pope led to the Protestant Reformation and the banning of all his writings.
Renowned as leaders of the Renaissance in Northern Europe, Erasmus, Collet, and More were Christian Humanists. Although Erasmus and More both defended the Roman Church, their works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books.
Evolutionists really seemed to hit a chord with public disapproval as illustrated in this caricature of Charles Darwin, published in The Hornet in 1871.
In 1885, at the Public Library in Concord Massachusetts (hometown of Henry David Thoreau), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned as “trash and suitable only for the slums.”
On June 1, 1981, police officers and government supporters of Sri Lanka set fire to the Jaffna Library. “In many people’s minds, the fire ignited the ethnic hatred that had been brewing for decades between this island’s Buddhist Sinhalese majority and thr Hindu Tamil minority.”
In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini put a death sentence on author Salmon Rushdie for his novel, Satanic Verses, which was thought to be an insult to Islam and is banned in Islamic countries. At least Rushdie didn’t get thrown off a rock like Aesop!
Among the library’s collection were: 97,000 medical texts written on ole, or palm leaves The only existing copies of Tamil religious books and works of Tamil philosophers Vast collection of Tamil newspapers and periodicals
An hour after sundown on August 25, 1992, Serbian militia in the hills surrounding Sarajevo, began firing shells at the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an effort to erase Bosnia’s multiethnic cultural heritage
. 10 % of the library’s collection was lost: 1.5 million volumes 4,000 rare books 478 bound manuscripts 100 years of Bosnian newspapers and journals 2 centuries worth of of photographs depicting the country’s cultural and political life Posters Musical scores
Why are books banned? According to the The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and Year, the top three reasons, in order, for challenging material are the material is considered to be “sexually explicit” contain “offensive language,” and be “unsuited to age group.” The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and YearThe 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and Year
Basically, banning is motivated by either politics, concerns regarding obscenity or religion.
Politics “Western censorship” is said to have begun with the censor and death of Socrates.
Political Censorship Socrates forthrightness as a teacher and a philosopher exposed him to punishments of the state. He just wasn’t politically correct!
Political Censorship Accused first of denying the gods recognized by the state and introducing new divinities, and then of “corrupting the youth,” Socrates was found guilty and condemned to death by the state.
In 1735 American colonist John Peter Zenger was on trial for libel. As the publisher of the New-York Weekly Journal, he had criticized the British government.
Political Censorship In 1792, Thomas Paine’s writings were the subject of bitter controversy in America, where he supported the cause of the colonies, and in England, where his attack on English institutions in his Rights of Man led to his indictment for treason and his flight to France.
And then we have some particularly dark days on book censorship tied into the whole Nazi era.
Political Censorship One way the Nazis cleansed the country of "un-German" thoughts was through censorship. A "brown shirt" (member of the SA) throws some more fuel--"un-German" books-- into a roaring fire on the Opernplatz in Berlin. May 10, 1933.
in 1933 on Goettingen's Albani Platz, by burning ideology-inconsistent books.
Political Censorship In 1971, the U.S. government tried to stop the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing parts of a secret study of the war entitled The Pentagon Papers. In 1971, the U.S. government tried to stop the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing parts of a secret study of the war entitled The Pentagon Papers.
Moral Censorship Obescenity : “The quality or state of being morally abhorrent or socially taboo, esp. as a result of referring to or depicting sexual or excretory functions.” Black’s Law Dictionary
Moral Censorship In 1818, a member of the English Society for the Suppression of Vice was one Thomas Bowdler, who in this year published The Bowdler Family Shakespere, excised of all 'words and expressions... which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family'.
Bowdlerizing a book! Bowlderize: to expurgate (a play, novel or other written work) by removing or changing passages one considers “vulgar” or “objectionable.” Vulgar: “lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste: COARSE; morally crude, undeveloped or unregenerate :GROSS” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
Bowdlerizing In what is considered to be the first example of book censorship, Homer’s The Odyssey (387BC), seemed to have ruffled a few feathers. Plato suggesting cleaning up or “bowdlerizing” Homer’s work for “younger readers.”
Moral Censorship In 1873 the 'Comstock Act' is passed by Congress, criminalizing the depositing of “obscene, lewd or lascivious book or other publication of indecent character' in the US mail.” This act was officially known as the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act. Lewd: “sexually unchaste or licentious; OBSCENE OR VULGAR Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
Moral Censorship The bill was lobbied for by Anthony Comstock, founder and secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
Moral Censorship Comstock campaigned tirelessly for censorship laws not only to stamp out erotic subject matter in art or literature, but to suppress information about sexuality, reproduction, and birth control.
Moral Censorship In 1915, Margaret Sanger's husband was jailed for distributing her Family Limitation, which described and advocated various methods of contraception. Sanger herself had fled the country to avoid prosecution, but would return in 1916 to start the American Birth Control League, which eventually merged with other groups to form Planned Parenthood. Margaret SangerFamily LimitationMargaret SangerFamily Limitation
Moral Censorship While unenforced these days, these laws are still on the books and have been referenced by…..
Moral Censorship The Telecommunications Act of 1996 which applies some of these Comstock laws to computer networks among other things…!
Moral Censorship Books banned from the U. S. mails under the Comstock Law included many of the greatest classics: Aristophanes Lysistrata, Rabelais's Gargantua, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Boccaccio's Decameron The Arabian Nights.
Moral Censorship Modern authors censored under the Comstock Law include: Honore de Balzac Victor Hugo Oscar Wilde Ernst Hemingway Eugene O' Neil James Joyce D.H. Lawrence John Steinbeck William Faulkner F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Moral Censorship The U.S. Senate commences an inquiry, and brings to court Entertaining Comics, for producing titles such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. The trial was incited by publication of Dr Fredric Wertham's book, The Seduction of the Innocents: The Influence of Comic Books on Today's Youth.
Religious Censorship “In the history of censorship, the oldest and most frequently recurring controls have been those designed to prevent the expression of unorthodox religious ideas.” Anne Haight, Banned Books.
Religious Censorship The most notable example was the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of Prohibited Books)which was intended to regulate the reading of the world’s Catholic population. This index dates back to Apostolic times when the Ephesian converts of St. Paul made a bonfire of hundreds of volumes which they thought were based on superstition.
Religious Censorship Then we had the boys of the Inquisition.. Inquisition: “3a. a former Roman Catholic tribunal for the discovery and punishment of heresy; 3b: an investigation conducted with little regard for individual rights…” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
The use of torture was authorized in 1252 by Pope Innocent IV. The purpose of torture was to exact confessions. Since some people questioned whether confessions received under torture were valid, the accused would be asked to verify what they had admitted under torture several hours later. If they refused to validate their confession, they would be subject to more torture! Popular methods of torture included flogging, burning, the rack, and the roasting of feet over burning coals.
The following books were the most frequently challenged in 2003: most frequently challenged in 2003most frequently challenged in 2003 Harry Potter series, for its focus on wizardry and magic. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, for using offensive language. "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" by Michael A. Bellesiles, for inaccuracy. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers, for racism, sexual content, offensive language, drugs and violence. "Go Ask Alice" by Anonymous, for drugs. "We All Fall Down" by Robert Cormier, for offensive language and sexual content. "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson, for offensive language and occult/satanism.
American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom Statistics Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (see The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books): The 100 Most Frequently Challenged BooksThe 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999); 1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999) 1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999)
American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom Statistics 842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999) 737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999) 515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999)and 419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)
Seventy-one percent of the challenges were to material in schools or school libraries. Another twenty-four percent were to material in public libraries (down two percent since 1999). Sixty percent of the challenges were brought by parents, fifteen percent by patrons, and nine percent by administrators, both down one percent since 1999).
Examples of literature suppressed on political grounds: Animal Farm, Dr. Zhivago, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Slaughterhouse-Five
Examples of literature suppressed on religious grounds: The Bible The Koran The Talmud The Last Temptation of Christ Oliver Twist
Examples of literature suppressed on sexual grounds: The Bluest Eye Lolita Madame Bovary Lady Chatterley's Lover Ulysses
Examples of literature suppressed on social grounds: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Canterbury Tales The Bell Jar Black Like Me Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury’s work describes the impact of censorship and forced conformity on a group of people living in a future society where books are forbidden and burned.
The novel was written during the 1950’s: McCarthy era Cold War and the “golden time” for television
Bradbury’s classic on book burning was on the reading list for several English classes in Foxworth, Mississippi. A parent complained to the superintendent about the use of the phrase “God damn” in the book and the book was removed from the required reading list.