Tuesday, October 03, 2006

'Fahrenheit 451' is requested to be banned during banned book week

A religious father in Conroe, Texas complained that their 15-year old girl would be harmed by exposure to the book he called "all kinds of filth." Evidently it would expose her to depictions of violence, drunkenness, smoking cigarettes, using the Lord's name in vain, "dirty talk," and people quoting and memorizing the Bible. He admits he hadn't read the book but was just hunting for objectionable material after his daughter complained about it.

"Fahrenheit 451" depicts a society that has banned books and is the story of a fireman whose job it is to burn books and houses of those possessing books. The fireman revolts against this conformity of thought and living in a society of big screen TV's and Bozos like this kid's father. "Fahrenheit 451" is one of the most popular books in high school literature classes and has been used for over 20 years.

The request for removal came during "banned books week" where libraries encourage people to try books that have been banned. "The week celebrates the freedom to choose or express one's opinion, even if it might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

I admit I can't remember any "dirty talk" in the book but will reread it soon to find it. It does encourage people to think for themselves. I don't recall any sex but I recall the fireman beginning an affair. Other religions or atheists might object to the quotes from the Bible.

Students in most area school districts can request alternative reading material if they object to the assigned reading and even be removed from the classroom when those liberty and freedom loving conformists discuss "Fahrenheit 451." She and one other student were given "Ella Minnow Pea" as alternative reading. If the father's real objection was against exposure to the ideas expressed in the book he failed. "Ella Minnow Pea" is a simpler but effective allegory of totalitarianism and fundamentalism and the ways religions, societies, and governments can attempt to limit thought and communication even in originally advanced and civilized places.

Link sent by Jim, opinions my own. Jim also points out that for your safety and convenience don't speak foreign languages on cell phones near public transportation.

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