This week, September 21-27, was Banned Books Week.
I love the idea that people attempt to ban books. Why? Because people wanting to ban a book means that it was provocative, that it touched a nerve. I’m all for entertainment, and some of my favorite books are just entertaining, with no other “value.” I don’t think that art needs to have value other than entertainment, but I like it when art provokes and inspires. Art at its best should have an effect on the reader or viewer or listener. It should touch some chord within, even if it’s not in a positive way.
Art is a reflection of life, sometimes a truer reflection of life than an actual reflection. One of my favorite quotes is:
“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.”
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
Life isn’t always pretty. It’s not always neat. Sometimes it’s ugly and difficult. Sometimes it disgusts. Which is why art should be provocative.
Don’t get me wrong; I have been personally offended by art. I sympathize with people who want certain books banned. But there’s only one type of censorship I favor: the ability to choose. That’s right, if something personally offends me, I can choose not to view it or read it or listen to it. I think parents should always have the right to choose what their children are exposed to, but that doesn’t mean that a certain group of parents should be able to choose for all.
Personally, when I see a list of banned books, I want to read all the ones on the list. I’m not easily offended, and I always find it interesting to see what offends others. I’ve read The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Gray, but those are the only ones on the list.
Here’s a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2013.