Friday, September 5, 2008

Banning books in this day and age?

I am as surprised as I think you will be to find politics making its way onto my book blog but events in the US presidential elections are heating up and the antics of Republican VP hopeful Sarah Palin during her tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska have got my blood boiling....

TIME magazine is running an article on Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, describing how she tried to fire librarian Mary Ellen Baker for not removing a list of "questionable books" from the shelves of the Wasilla library.

Apparently, Palin went to the library and made inquiries about the procedure for banning certain books, claiming that some voters thought they had "inappropriate language" in them.

"The librarian was aghast," claims the article. The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Allegedly the list included:
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  • The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Confession, by Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
  • Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
  • Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
  • Little Red Riding Hood, by the Grimm Brothers
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Lysistrata, by Aristophanes
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
  • The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  • Pigman, by Paul Zindel


Anything by Stephen King, everything by J.K. Rowling, just about everything by Roald Dahl, both of Mark Twain's major works, most of Judy Blume, most of William Shakespeare, and Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff


Mrs Palin makes a mockery of a nation that is supposedly free, democratic and tolerant. New Zealand might not even register on her radar but we down here at the bottom of the world are certainly watching, and I hope fearful, of what the earth could be like if this woman and her ilk take charge of the most powerful nation on the planet.

And don't get me started on her abstinence only policy on sex education. Did you teach that to your 17 year old pregnant-out-of-wedlock daughter Mrs Palin? I've got nothing against Bristol Palin - I feel sorry for her that her pregnancy is fodder for the world media, (and that her baby's daddy is a self confessed "redneck" - so classy). It's her mum and her short sighted, untenable policies that rile me up.


Makes our elections here in NZ later this year and the troubles with Winston seem pretty tame in comparison huh?


sarah said...

holy hell that makes me angry, especially when the list of books mentioned are total classics, and many of them are taught in the English curriculum (at least here) in high school.

Doesn't trying to ban books go again their freaking constitution? You know, the "Free speech/freedom of thought" thing??! Nice move for a politician whos entire JOB is to uphold the constitution and its ideals.

Matt B said...

Sorry Kelly, but we are on top of the world. Sarah Palin, a mockery of democracy