Updated: Jul 13
Note: Only a moldy book was harmed in the making of this header image.
Welcome to The Open Book Café. In light of upcoming Banned Books Week, (September 22-28, 2019), I present a plethora of quotes about censorship and freedom of speech, in Chapter 4: The Witch Hunt On Words.
'The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . .' — Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril
Fear not, gentle reader, for it was an old, moldy book that made great kindling for this story's fire.
To quote (and loosely paraphrase) Bruce Springsteen: 'You can't start a fire without a spark'*
This writer's for hire, even if you're just reading a Kindle in the dark.
'There is more than one way to burn a book. The world is full of people running about with lit matches.' — Ray Bradbury
On the other hand,
'There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.' — Joseph Brodsky
The Pulse of Freedom
From papyrus to the printing press. From Big Brother to the infobahn and onto the thought police, freedom of expression at its normal pulse, has had a lifeline of great contrast and drama...
Lest a wisp
Of a lash
Fall to the floor
And sweeping motions
detect your thoughts
From the smoking gun
The fire ablaze
in energy waves
Outside the norm
And trigger fear in
That stirred in some and
Consciousness is born
Yes, the movie Gattaca was also haunting my thoughts.
Books that are banned due to fear of promoting new age, witchcraft or satanism...
They are simply banned because they hint toward the true power that every conscious soul contains: The fact that you do not need to look outside yourself for the answers. 'Know Thyself' and strengthen that connection to your Source self (instead of 'higher self' and ego). And it has nothing to do with the religions mentioned above. Alas, there is a little bit of truth in all religions. But true knowledge cannot be imprisoned forever by any gate-keeper.
'If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable - what then?' — George Orwell, 1984
'A word to the unwise. Torch every book. Char every page. Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. And therein lies your real fear.' — Ellen Hopkins
'Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.' — Harry S. Truman
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
Censorship: according to Oxford Dictionary
Noun The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
But who decides?
'Patterning your life around other’s opinions is nothing more than slavery.' — Lawana Blackwell
'Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.' — Henry Louis Gates
'Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.' —Salman Rushdie
'Censorship is the child if fear and the father of ignorance.' — Laurie Halse Anderson
Indeed, there is a time and place for everything. In regards to adult books in elementary or middle school, I agree with Steven Spielberg's quote below.
There is a fine line between censorship and good taste and moral responsibility.' — Steven Spielberg
'The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.' — Henry Steele Commager
'We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.' — Voltaire
'If Men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most seriousand alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind; reason is of no use to us — the freedom of Speech may be taken away — and, dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.' — George Washington
Slavery cannot tolerate free speech. — Frederick Douglass
'Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.' — Voltaire
'Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.' — Benjamin Franklin
'Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of 'The Giver': the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.' — Lois Lowry
'The first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.' — George Bernard Shaw
'Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you've got to fight it.' — Judy Blume
'Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.' — Stephen Chbosky
The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.' — Tommy Smothers
What are your ideas and thoughts on the subject?
What are the titles and authors of your favourite banned book(s)?
Thanks for stopping by The Open Book Café.
See you next Sunday!
About the author
Susan Leitch is a multimedia artist and curator of art. One of her writer pseudonyms is Hannah Ellie.
Her creations can be found at MultiMediaSusan.com
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