Sure enough, on the ALA website, they admit that none of the books on their list actually were "banned," only challenged -- and then they go on to say that if not for Banned Books Week, the challenges might have succeeded (as Muncy points out, very few of these challenges ever succeed). I might have a problem with the substance of a parent's complaint about which this or that book ought not be on the bookshelves in the local school or public library, but surely it is wrong for the ALA to act as if parents have no legitimate right to have their objections heard, and taken seriously.

Three points:

1. Dreher and the individual he quotes make a typical conservative mistake, assuming that the only threat to expression can come through the government. If there's no prior restraint, there's no issue. Wonder if, on that definition, he'd consider the Index a form of censorship? After all, it wasn't done by a government...

2. He also seems to be assuming a world in which people have readily disposable income for books. The problem isn't for the upper middle class families who can get a banned book through a number of other means--it's for those who rely on (shock!) libraries to get their books, or expect high school curricula to include some work of literary merit. Additionally, Dreher seems unaware of the symbolic import of removing books because they have been challenged.

3. On his first point in the quote, it's very odd that he doesn't recognize that the week serves an informational purpose--it's to prevent the bad thing from coming to pass, not to protest that it has already occurred.

Back to applications.

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