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Web Letter

"The culprits, whether public officials, private interests or 'decency' groups, employ a variety of techniques to control free expression. Our best defense against these censors is the vigilance and activism of people concerned with protecting free expression."

The last time a book was censored in the USA was many decades ago. What with the Internet, banning is now nearly impossible anyway. Of Banned Book Week, Thomas Sowell observed that "the kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of 'censorship' or 'book banning' has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own."

Another of Sowell's remarks is relevant to this current propaganda piece in The Nation: "Those who are spreading hysteria about book banning and censorship know that they are in a war, but too many of those who thoughtlessly repeat their rhetoric do not."

Even a former ALA councilor wrote that "the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much" is that "the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."

"Totally different." Kind of sheds new light on the claim that the "culprits, whether public officials, private interests or 'decency' groups" are "censors"--or that Governor Palin is one of "those who bully and abuse power."

Dan Kleinman

Chatham, NJ

Sep 18 2008 - 3:20pm

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