Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Last Dance

Today, I gave my swan song presentation at work today. For banned books week, I gave a half-hour presentation on the power dynamics of book censorship. We discussed the cycle of banning ideas we are afraid of, in order to avoid discussing the issues. I also suggested the 5 books that "The Man" doesn't want you to read. They were:

1) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
2) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
3) Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
4) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
5) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

At the end of the presentation, I played this video, which is a collage of post-WWII images set to a portion of "Howl."

When the presentation was over, one of my students came to me and said that he felt bad that we were discriminating against the books. This made me miss teaching, just a little bit.


Jo said...

Coming from England I find the whole idea of banned books quite fantastical.......and very scary. Yours was a good swan song.

Jessica said...

It's totally strange to me as well.

We have a long and ridiculous history of banning books over here. Some of it comes from our Puritan roots, and a lot of it originally was social conservatives trying to maintain the "moral good" for our country. But a lot if it, lately, is liberal banning too. A banned book, whether it offends the left or the right, is wrong.

There's my rant for the morning, and I haven't even had caffiene yet. :)

Paul said...

Banning books is not unique to the USA. The practice has been around for a long time in Europe and other places and these books are readily available now. Some writers have even stated that having their books banned peeked readers' interests and boosted sales !