Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Books and Censorship

on January 8, 2022

“Censorship — The Assassination of an Idea.” ~Bookmans Entertainment Exchange~

What’s in the raging flame
of banned books burning?
Knowledge, truth, learning,
courage, freedom, yearning.
~Terri Guillemets~

Banned Books Week will be held from September 18 – 24, 2022. But censorship is an everyday concern, especially for writers, poets, artists, journalists, and other creative people. We’re seeing too much of it right now in the current political climate.

We’ve seen authors mobbed on Amazon and other sites and deliberately given poor ratings simply because the content of a book did not conform to the narrative of the people mobbing the book. This is using censorship and harassment (bullying) to create a politically correct environment where creativity is essentially dead. Show me one writer/artist worth his salt who is politically correct! Only sell-outs conform to the mob.

(Berlin book burning, 1933)

The Nazis confiscated and burned any book that they deemed “un-German.” What does that even mean? No more French porn? No Italian cookbooks? No English poetry? Who decided what was “un-German?” And it wasn’t just books that were condemned. Music, architecture, inventions, paintings, sculptures, and even dress fashions had to conform to a certain German aesthetic. Who wants to live like that? Who wants the government deciding what you can eat, read, think, create?

The Bolsheviks did the same thing after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Anything reminiscent of the previous regime was confiscated, suppressed, burned, destroyed, and labeled “too bourgeois.” The great Russian composer, Rachmaninoff, emigrated to America because his music was condemned by the Communist authorities. The great Russian writer, Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, was censored and suppressed. If his novel had not been smuggled out of Russia, a great piece of literature would have been lost to the world. Doctor Zhivago describes this shameful period in world history.

Chairman Mao did the same thing in China. The Chinese Communist Party is STILL suppressing free speech and writers who speak out against oppression. The CCP STILL controls access to information and the content of that information. American companies like Twitter and Facebook help the CCP censor and control information in China. That’s how they are allowed to do business there.

In the United States, the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment GUARANTEE every American citizen the right of free speech and peaceable assembly to express that free speech. Free speech makes some people uncomfortable. It causes some people to feel threatened. It makes some people close their minds to new ideas. It opens the minds of others. It is divisive, combative, uniting, liberating, threatening, and compromising — all at the same time. Free speech is the basis of CREATIVITY. Free speech is the foundation of FREEDOM. Taking it one step further, FREEDOM is the bedrock on which FREE SPEECH and CREATIVITY stand. If we lose our freedom and submit to totalitarianism, we may as well start looking for another universe to inhabit, because the freedom to CREATE and EXPRESS OURSELVES will be as extinct as the dinosaurs.

(NOTE: violence is not an expression of free speech and is NOT protected by the U.S. Constitution. Devolving into burning, looting, shooting, destroying private and public property, tearing down statues, committing assault and battery, killing police, and threatening people, is just criminal behavior committed by people who have no respect for law and order. These people belong in jail. Furthermore, there is a big difference between exercising free speech and engaging in a two-way debate and just being rude, ill-mannered, and stupid. There was a time when our society valued good manners and intelligent debate.)

(NOTE: Some famous writers banned or partially banned in Nazi Germany: Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, C.S. Lewis, Jack London, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, and Oscar Wilde.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Dawn Pisturino

January 7, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


19 responses to “Books and Censorship

  1. Americaoncoffee says:

    The first I had ever heard of the burning books was by the Nazi regime. Censorship today shares the same path of evil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, and we are already headed down that path. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Americaoncoffee says:

        Burning books that a person has in his or her possession will never happen in the USA. Although the enemy may destroy bookstores and libraries. But as for the internet censorships, they are so temporary by the big wheelers and collaborators of power. Soon they will all be shocked to lose their grip when the UN takes total control over the internet. And, many on-line social networking jobs will be lost.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. utahan15 says:

    the banning of any book is an obscenity

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Michele Lee says:

    Excellent post! I remember my first brush with censorship… my elementary library banned Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. I was outraged. I started a petition to bring the book back. That memory makes me laugh, but censorship is no laughing matter.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I recently made this shocking discovery when I came across this list; there can be no doubt fascism is on the rise!

    Banned books
    Another interesting thing to look at is how many books out of the top 100 classic volumes have been challenged or banned. Here is a list. If you would like to know the reasons, please visit the ALA website
    The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
    The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Ulysses, by James Joyce
    Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
    1984, by George Orwell
    Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
    Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Animal Farm, by George Orwell
    The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
    As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
    A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
    Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
    Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
    Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
    Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
    Native Son, by Richard Wright
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
    Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
    For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
    The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
    Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
    All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
    The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
    Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
    A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burges
    The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
    In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
    Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
    Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
    Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
    Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
    A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
    Naked Lunch, by William S. Burrough
    Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
    Women in Love, by DH Lawrence
    The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
    Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
    An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
    Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

    Liked by 3 people

  5. balladeer says:

    Great post on a great topic!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sadly, it was not only totalitarian regimes that had long lists of banned books. Ireland kept it going until relatively recently 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think the Libertarian approach is best, not everyone may agree on any one topic/idea/philosophy/etc., hence everyone should be left alone to live by their heart/folkways rather than be converted/proselytized by the religious, media, education, political, etc. apparatus.

    Liked by 2 people

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