Tuesday, October 02, 2007

San Jose Spartan Daily

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Do you know which books are banned?

Day to day, we probably don't think much about our reading choices. Students have plenty of assigned reading, and professors must read a lot to stay current. We might feel we have little choice in our reading because we have so much assigned reading.

Aside from time constraints, are there any forces limiting our reading choices? Does your local bookstore carry books from a wide variety of publishers, or just a few? How are selection decisions made? Could the person responsible for buying books for your local bookstore or library avoid books on topics they don't agree with? Have any titles been removed from school libraries or school curriculum due to parent or teacher disapproval of the subject matter?

These are important questions to think about periodically....

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Ted Rudow III,MA 10/02/07 "War is important for consuming the products of human labour; if this work were being used to increase the standard of living, the control of the party over the people would decrease. War is the economic basis of a hierarchical society.", "1984"
The prophetic novel, about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs, was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism.
In "1984," the state remained perpetually at war against a vague and ever-changing enemy. The war took place largely in the abstract, but it served as a convenient vehicle to fuel hatred, nurture fear and justify the regime's autocratic practices
Banned Books Week has been observed since 1982, with the purpose of reminding people of their freedom to read whatever they want. Sounds just like some governments today, and like many politicians. Fear is the devil's favorite weapon, and it works as well with governments as it does with individual people. Currently it's a day of fear -- of "terror." Nations and people are terrified of terrorism, and many are quite willing to give up all sorts of freedoms -- many of the very freedoms we are supposedly "fighting for" -- to avoid it.
Sound familiar? Sometimes fiction is just as strange as truth.
Ted Rudow III,MA
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