what should be banned,censored,frowned upon by society,ect.?

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what should be banned,censored,frowned upon by society,ect.?

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Abr 2, 2008, 4:59pm

basically it's exactly what it says.
What should be banned.

Abr 2, 2008, 5:02pm

...nothing? (presuming we're talking about the written word...)

Abr 2, 2008, 5:07pm

ditto to #2

Abr 2, 2008, 5:10pm

And another ditto to #2

Abr 2, 2008, 5:12pm

it was just a question.
maybe I should rephrase that.
what wouldn't you read under any circumstances.

Abr 2, 2008, 5:28pm

Now that's a completely different question.

I won't read Danielle Steel under any circumstances, nor Judith Krantz. I also won't read Michael Crichton, because I think he's a bad (dishonest) scientist, I won't read Ann Coulter because I just don't like her politics, and I wouldn't read, for example, the work of a Holocaust denier because I wouldn't want to give financial support to someone with such beliefs.

What should be banned is a *very* different question from what a person, individually, will refuse to read.

Abr 2, 2008, 5:30pm

That is a completely different question. Just because there is something I won't read doesn't mean I think others should be prevented from reading it.

Editado: Abr 2, 2008, 5:35pm

I read a book once that was given to me 'as a good read'. I don't rmember the title but the author was Sven Hassel. It was about a group of 'gung-ho' prisoners who had been released from jail to be put into an 'elite' band. what a load of tosh. It was'nt so much the story, but the way it gloried war; everything seemed to be a joke. I found it obscene, and feel that that should be banned.

Abr 2, 2008, 5:36pm

>8 bsquared46:
Good thing you're not in charge.

Editado: Abr 2, 2008, 7:40pm

Now, now! Let's not hop all over Goodwitch.

Lord knows I want to be the Benevolent Dictator of the Universe in which "Desperate Housewives," movies starring Warren Beatty, books by Anne LaMott, and the entire Mitford series do not exist.

Highever, I also recognize that if we only let people do, read and watch what is good and improving, they cease to have free will and will not be able to learn or discern anything.

I learned all that in a book--Robert Graves' "Claudius the God." The aged Emperor Claudius realizes that his government is utterly corrupt and decides to simply let the corruption mount up, "let it all hatch out," as he says, because unless it does, people will neither have the knowledge nor the will to overthrow it.

And so I put up with people around the office who keep leaving "Traveling Mercies" on my desk because "I just know you'll click with this author." The only reason I can think of why people associate me with Anne LaMott is because we both use the f-word a lot.

Some day they will be ashamed for thinking I would like such an author. And I will be magnanimous in my forgiveness of their gaffe because they will have learned literary taste.

Edited for grammar

Abr 2, 2008, 8:07pm

Ban, censor nothing.

Frown upon what you like, but don't tell me what to frown upon, or not.

What wouldn't I read? Lots of stuff. That doesn't have anything to do with what others may or may not want to read.

Abr 2, 2008, 8:18pm

What should be banned? As has been said before, nothing.

What woudl I adamantly refuse to read, period? Romance novels for one, blech. Anne Lamott, as has been said before, for her politics. Any book written by a televangelist, because I disagree strongly with their theological views and find them to be hateful supremacist jerks. There's probably more, but I can't think of anything at the moment.

Abr 2, 2008, 8:24pm

Actually I DO have the right to tell you what you should frown upon, Atomicmutant. Strenously, haughtily, annoyingly, and ceaselessly.

Critics do it every day. It's called "fair comment" under the law.

I simply can't physically prevent you from following my advice, nor would I support a law that did.

Abr 2, 2008, 8:32pm

This thread made me think of Lolita, which I recently read and enjoyed greatly (although it did make me feel uncomfortable).

It's a book about a pedophile who becomes infatuated with a 12-year-old girl and pretty much makes her his sex slave, from the pedophile's perspective. It's definitely not the sort of activity that I condone, but to ban books like Lolita would miss the point entirely, because the book was a brilliant character study rather than a sex book, or even a book that condoned or attacked pedophilia. Banning all books "about" certain frowned-on or downright horrible things is far too broad and should never, ever be done.

Abr 2, 2008, 8:40pm

#13, lol, I didn't say you couldn't, I asked you not to! :D

Pretty please?

And double pretty please, don't legislate your "advice". :D

I recommended Lolita to my book club, I'm the only non-retired one in the bunch. I loved the book, they didn't. We also read Reading Lolita in Tehran which they liked quite a bit more, and helps to put a reading in Lolita in context.

There may be reprehensible things in Lolita, but the really reprehensible thing is to deny access to thoughts, ideas, art, discovery, etc.

Abr 2, 2008, 8:42pm

Weener, see, now Lolita is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated, obtuse and pointless works of Western fiction.

And I could argue about who makes whom the sex slave. Or how much of what Humbert says is even real.

But the wonderful thing about freedom of expression is that we can argue about this because nobody is standing in our way of reading it. Though why people continue to read it and rave about it (positively) is beyond me.

Abr 23, 2008, 1:21am

Lolita is wonderfully layered. At its core, it's a devastating tragedy, but it's got all these layers over it. The reason Lolita is a tragedy is because we don't KNOW Lolita herself. We only know Humbert's mental version of Lolita, only what Humbert makes Lolita into. Your insinuation that Lolita makes Humbert her sex slave is, to my mind, ridiculous. I'm not sure what you mean by "real," but if you mean that Humbert is insane, I quite agree. Overrated? Perhaps. But, just as you say, it's great that we have the freedom to read and discuss it.

Anyway. What should be banned? Nothing. And I'll tell you why. If you disagree with someone who's speaking to you, plugging your ears and saying "lalalalalala, I am not listening" is NOT an effective way to refute their arguments. Listening carefully to them (i.e., actually reading the books that disturb you, which so few people who go around trying to ban them do), thinking carefully, and then making reasonable and informed arguments against them is the proper way to refute them. None of this can be done if you ban their books in the first place. People who ban books are cowards. They are afraid of someone's mind being changed--or their own. The epitome of this kind of nonsense is the whole Harry Potter controversy. Anyone who's read the books, especially the most recent, and has a basic understanding of Christian theology will tell you that Harry is a Christ symbol and that Voldemort is an approximation of Satan/the Antichrist. (Of course, to reduce Harry Potter to *only* that would be to do him an injustice, but the religious undercurrents are definitely there.) The point is, a little Christian child reading about Harry learns about Good triumphing over Evil, and the meaning and importance of Love (see: Harry's mother died for him and that protects him from evil. see also: Harry kicks Voldemort out of his mind by feeling *compassion* for him because he will never know love), all those feel-good Christian values and solid morals that the people trying to ban the books value so deeply and are trying to protect. all they see is witchcraft and evil spells and they have this Neanderthal-ian knee-jerk reaction to ban them. argh. x( of all the cases of banning books in recent times, this stands out to me as one of the most ridiculous.

Ago 19, 2009, 1:14am

Definitely the 'Qur'an' by Mohammad. This book has caused more 'Holy' wars than it is worth.

Editado: Ago 30, 2009, 12:38pm

Well, Jim, per similar comments in another thread:


You have to include it's companion book, The Bible.

***edited to attempt unsuccessfully, to remove the touchstone for The Cake Bible. I don't believe that tome caused too many wars!

Ago 30, 2009, 3:15pm

Didn't Marie Antoinette have militant issues with cake? ;-)

Set 2, 2009, 7:08am

I don't think we should stop people frowning. For some it's the only exercise they take ...

Editado: Set 2, 2009, 2:46pm

Jim, that is so misguided in so many documented ways...

To all, I say nothing or else everything.

I say perhaps all writing and music should be banned for one year to give us a rest as a world, and then reinstated. Perhaps we would all appreciate these creative and analytic gifts more afterward!

Editado: Set 2, 2009, 4:18pm

No book should be banned unless it could be proved that it directly caused its readers to commit felonies. E. g., the real Necronomicon (beheading people or feeding them to Cthulhu is rude).

Set 2, 2009, 4:19pm

By the way, what's up with this bug?

"Bug Collectors

Description: This is a completely and utterly unofficial list of things that are known (or believed) to be bugs or broken in LibraryThing. It's not a wishlist for features, nor a list of things that could be better - or could be different. If it doesn't do what it says it does; if it's clearly obviously wrong; if it generates an error message then perhaps it belongs here.

Created: Sep 22, 2006 by CupCakeMonster; Language: English
Group Talk
This group has been deleted."

So how does one report that all groups have been deleted if there is no Bug Collectors group to report it to?

Set 2, 2009, 4:22pm

24 > this is a bug that Tim just introduced we are hoping to have it back and fixed shortly.

Set 2, 2009, 7:01pm

#25: Yes, it's fixed. I was just savoring the irony of not being able to post it to the Bug Collectors group, which appeared to be deleted.

I guess we can get back to talking about banning books, no?

Jan 5, 2010, 6:00pm

Ban? NO! NO! NO! NEVER! Not Read? How-the-hell do I know--until I read?

Jan 5, 2010, 7:08pm

I may not like some literature, and I may not like some ideologies, but I will never truly know about them unless I study them, which requires reading books I may not necessarily enjoy. The outcome is that it is likely that I will learn something I did not know before, or see a viewpoint from another perspective. This I consider a positive result.

Ban nothing in art, music, or literature. I'll even suffer through Rap and Hip Hop.

Jan 5, 2010, 9:24pm

Are all things written given equal value? That is, while clearly most of us are against banning books, art, etc, what about websites? How do folks feel about internet/search engine censorship in China? What about comments on newsarticles/blogs/etc? What about hate-writings or more mild flaming? Or just plain rudeness, stupidity, or irrelevance in a group topic such as this one? Have folks clicked on the 'flag abuse' links on LT? Does that count as 'banning', and if so, are you against having it, or feel more comfortable with some mechanisms for social control and word ownership?

Jan 6, 2010, 12:35am

# 20, MerryMary
Didn't Marie Antoinette have militant issues with cake? ;-)

Poor Marie, she's been so maligned. Blame her mother.

Personally, I won't touch those gooey, sappy "I survived (Insert horrible thing) and you can too!" books. As a cancer survivor, I'll work on hotlines, talk in chatrooms, volunteer at hospices, but I will NOT read THOSE books.
But, hey, if people want that mush, go for it. I won't even wince if I see you reading one, much less try to ban them.

Jan 6, 2010, 7:04am

29> The words social control have always concerned me, so I would steer clear of such a mechanism. Personal responsibility is a wonderful substitute, and seldom considered by some, so perhaps we could suggest the broader application of this fundamental, instead? Yes, I dream...

Jan 6, 2010, 9:16am

Didn't Marie Antoinette have militant issues with cake?

No, in fact she endorsed it! ;-)

On the issue of this thread: frown all you like, but don't limit other people's possibilities to read anything they want.

Editado: Jan 21, 2010, 4:34am

>18 JimThomson: : I don't think the Quran has a worse track record than the Bible for inspiring religious fanatics. But unfortunately there will always be fanatics, and they'll always find something to "inspire" them.

Jan 20, 2010, 8:06pm

>33 Nicole_VanK:, BarkingMatt

You are beginning to sound like a Heretic and Enemy of God to me! Beware the Wrath of God! There are those who Plot against God and his Works. But God is also Plotting, and God is the Best of Plotters. The Faithful are always ready to do the Will of God, and We are confident that he has given us True Guidance.


Blade of the Most Merciful, His Chosen Children

Jan 21, 2010, 4:36am

Since I've never been a Christian (or a Muslim for that matter), I don't think I qualify as a heretic. :-)

Jan 21, 2010, 12:58pm

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Jan 21, 2010, 1:29pm

Msg 29: bfertig

In response to your question, no I don't think all things written should be given equal value. I have no qualms about removing statements that amount to "You disagree with me, and I'm out of good arguments, so you are clearly stupid, so there!" from a blog or site via the reporting tool as I don't feel that is banning as much as trimming the cruft.

I don't recall banning anyone on LT yet though....

Now, just because something is written on a website that I don't like, I don't consider that an abuse necessarily.

The Censorship in China is definitely a form of banning. They block any site they know of that suggests alternates to the governments way of thinking.

Hate writings (longer ramblings of an individual that hates something e.g. Mein Kampf) are hard to tolerate, but should be refuted in kind, rather than banned.

Jan 22, 2010, 7:34am

>37 droupou:

"Hate writings (longer ramblings of an individual that hates something e.g. Mein Kampf) are hard to tolerate, but should be refuted in kind, rather than banned."

Hey, hang on a minute - surely you're not saying we actually have to read stuff before we 're allowed to condemn it? Prejudice, rumour and innuendo were good enough for my ole granpappy, and they're sure as hellfire good enough for me.

Fev 2, 2010, 1:42pm

Unfortunately that seems to remain the norm CliffordDorset.... *sigh*

Fev 5, 2010, 1:00pm

I agree with you ^;^

Fev 5, 2010, 1:13pm

hahahaha did anyone ever think to band the BIBLE from society as a whole? it's the most mind twisting, poverted, and manipulating book ever written ^;^

Editado: Mar 23, 2010, 7:16pm

Oppose Book Worship” Mao Tse-tung, the Librarian

If you owned the only copy of this work, what would you do with it?

"Do you not know that you are Eve? The judgment of God upon this sex lives on in this age; therefore, necessarily the guilt should live on also. You are the gateway of the devil; you are the one who unseals the curse of that tree, and you are the first one to turn your back on the divine law; you are the one who persuaded him whom the devil was not capable of corrupting; you easily destroyed the image of God, Adam. Because of what you deserve, that is, death, even the Son of God had to die.”
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus 'De Cultu Feminarum,' section I.I, part 2 (trans. C.W. Marx)

I found this quotation while looking for information on "Ass Worship Among North African Christians". It's no wonder that this man's church could boast of sending the majority of female martyrs into the Roman arenas, while he made jokes about the popular preception that Africa's first Christians worshiped "an ithophallic ass with a biblos (book) in his hand". Someone should ask if those virgin girls, whose donkey rapes seemed so laugh-out-loud funny to him that he wrote about it twice, weren't being sacrificed to Seth's church instead of Jesus'.


Mar 26, 2010, 1:44am

Fantastic episode of South Park tonight that is about banned books and their (possible) impacts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Scrotie_McBoogerballs

Editado: Abr 19, 2010, 2:19am

Perhaps this question should be more specific. Which books do we want to avoid making available to children in public libraries? Should we make 'The Story of O' available to any adolescent who wants it, or 'The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty', or 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'? You are probably not going to see these in a children's book shop.
The real question is of Access, to whom, where and when.
I was amused years ago when I learned that new students at one college were required to read and review a book from from a list of Banned Books which had been banned by various organizations, before showing up for their first class. This was a stroke of Genius in the English Department, since what else could better capture the attention than the prospect of erotic titillation, and the pleasure of getting away with something that others would like to prohibit?
Someone once said that "The World is divided into the Righteous and the Non-Righteous, and it's the Righteous who do the Dividing". It seems to me that this whole question is fomented by over-protective Holier-Than-Thou mothers who wish to keep their children, including adolescents, ignorant of all the vices and foolishness of wicked people. This despite the widespread vice and abuse of Everything by a great many people who never read Anything!
I personally do not believe that reading anything will corrupt anyone, except perhaps works on Communism or militant Islam, but there are always fools who fall for this stuff.
This reminds me of a well educated woman who was habitually promiscuous in her youth (and she of the 'No Hippocrocy' generation) who stated that she didn't want her son to start Dating until he was at least twenty-one years of age. Whatever was she concerned about, AIDS? History always repeats itself. People don't change. "Do as I Say, not as I Do" is the eternal adage. Perhaps the old saying "We can resist anything but Temptation" is the truest statement of all.
In any case, this is essentially a Non-Issue. We are immersed in what would historically would be called a Liberal Culture, unlike Muslim culture which demands a reactionary culture, regardless of circumstances.
Perhaps we need another Protestant denomination, dedicated to hiding thoughts of evil and wickedness from their young. After all, the devout Religious have a tendency to prohibit the reading of everything except religious works. Is this what we want?
I recall many years ago that libraries would not loan books about hypnotism to children because of a few sad tragedies that have occurred in the past. I equate this with with the law requiring discarded refrigerators to have the door removed. This is not censorship but mere conscientious prudence.
When I say that "reading will not corrupt anyone", I am actually speaking about mature adults with a moral sense and a concern for ordinary people. I recall hearing many years ago that someone said that the purpose of a Liberal education is so that after years of struggle and study of enlightened humanity, that "you will know when a man is talking Rot".

Abr 3, 2010, 11:27pm

I protected my 7 year old daughter from a book of graphic depictions of torture and dismemberment. Am I holier-than-thou? Doesn't feel like it. Feels like she wasn't ready for that yet.

Abr 5, 2010, 8:17am

#44 I personally do not believe that reading anything will corrupt anyone, except perhaps works on Communism or militant Islam,

Frankly I would expand this to say works on any fanatical cult can be corrupting, including any religion and capitalism. Reading them should be encouraged once people have some powers of analytical thinking and can see how ridicules they are. Please notice the “once people have some powers of analytical thinking”


When someone guides their own child it is parenting, when that person tries to impose their will on my children it is censorship. I think we all agree censorship is wrong but should people be allowed to refuse to have science taught to their children?

Abr 5, 2010, 8:47am

Well said JimThomson and TLCrawford!!!!

Abr 5, 2010, 11:29am

46> When someone guides their own child it is parenting, when that person tries to impose their will on my children it is censorship. I think we all agree censorship is wrong but should people be allowed to refuse to have science taught to their children?

I agree with the first sentence. As children, my sibs and I were not prevented from reading anything, except my mother's romance novels, when I was eight. I smuggled a few to my room, anyway, and found them terribly boring, which sent me back to stories of sword-carrying Frenchmen, and Scots.

Regarding your question: I would say that some things should be taught to all children, for they will need this information in their lives. If the parents want to teach another 'science' then they should do so on their own. To do less would mean sending their children into a very competitive world, unarmed with necessary information that is known by their peers.

Abr 5, 2010, 11:32am

42> “Oppose Book Worship” Mao Tse-tung, the Librarian

If you owned the only copy of this work, what would you do with it?

Preserve it. It is a book, after all, and whether or not I agree with it, it still deserves the same consideration as any other book of which only one exists.

Jul 13, 2012, 3:09pm

There's a category of banned books that many in the USA are not aware of -- books that the Customs and Immigration Service do not allow to enter the USA. Historic examples include the post-WW2 photography of radiation damage to human beings in the vicinity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when those jurisdictions were bombed in August 1945, as well as the Iranian books from 1980 forward that contained pieced-together shredded U.S. cables containing details of the U.S. assistance to the Iranian Shah's secret police force. These books were all best-sellers in those countries and in other countries.

My suggestion is that at least the list of those titles be made available for public review in the USA, perhaps by GovDocs librarians or the ALA itself.

Editado: Jul 18, 2012, 7:34am

Right, we have one example of that here in Holland too. Hitler's "Mein Kampf" isn't totally prohibited here. But you can't legally sell new copies of it.

As far as I know it's something of an abnormality - the only book that's somewhat actively prohibited in my country. You can legally sell pre-1945 copies, but you can't - legally at least - sell or import modern copies.

Not that, personally, I mind very much - ravings of some maniac. But I do, even in this case, object to banning books.

Jul 18, 2012, 5:29am

I find it very hard to think of circumstances justifying banning a book - no, not even a book arguing for the banning of (other) books.
I guess there should be a reference to Areopagitica by John Milton here, the classic plea for the liberty of unlicensed printing, arguing that "That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental whiteness".

Jul 18, 2012, 9:25am

Or, to paraphrase John Stuart Mill from On Liberty, even stupid ideas need to be heard or else we would never know how stupid they are.

Jul 30, 2012, 7:16pm

Librarything seems to have some issue with people having free access to the works of Black Athena author Martin Bernal. See Touchstone link which takes you to Mary Lefkowitz’ hatchet job on him. This error has remained uncorrected for years now.

Editado: Jul 31, 2012, 2:37am

That's not a case of banning, denying free access, or anything like that. It's just touchstones being wonky, and there's a fix for it.

You can force touchstones by also including the worknumber followed by :: followed by your book title in the touchstone brackets. So, in this case: "12865207::Black Athena" makes Black Athena.

Ago 12, 2012, 8:12am

>53 TLCrawford:

The inverse also holds: if a book is banned an intelligent person is naturally led to wonder whether it's worth reading. You don't have to be too paranoid to wonder what is being swept under the carpet, and you most certainly don't have to be antisemitic or anticapitalist to get value from reading 'Mein Kampf'.

Editado: Ago 12, 2012, 8:33am

you most certainly don't have to be antisemitic or anticapitalist to get value from reading 'Mein Kampf'.

Possibly, but I did read some of his speeches and such, and the thought of having to wade through an entire volume of such drivel sickens me - as does the author. Life's too short anyway, and I happen to be more interested in art history and ancient history.

But even for this, I disagree with the partial book ban in my country. Freedom of the press has existed since the 1600's here - at least in practice -, and I think it's a mistake to make exceptions. I understand the c. 1945 knee-jerk reaction that caused it, but people should be allowed and enabled to make up their own minds.

Ago 24, 2012, 8:49am


Ago 24, 2012, 9:12am

I know that we are discussing the written word here but earlier this week I heard a story on NPR accusing Egypt's new government of censorship after they took measures to quiet people calling for violence against the new president. At least on was a broadcaster who is back on the air after promising to tone down the rhetoric.


I feel that calling for violence against anyone should fall under the "yelling FIRE in a movie theater" exemption to free speech and that this is not an example of censorship. Any thoughts?

Ago 24, 2012, 9:47am

Ah yes. How far can one tolerate the intolerant before the latter get the upper hand and silence you for good?