Once again the forces of good and decency that exist to protect the rest of us from the nightmare of totalitarianism have taken up their cudgels against the forces of badness. That's right, there's another "banned" book controversy that has brought out all sorts of silly drivel from various library types.
You might have heard the story of some kid's book called the Golden Compass written by some guy who claims his books kill God or something like that, as if God is in any danger from some kiddie writer. My opinion is, if God can't handle some kiddie fantasy writer, then he doesn't deserve to exist. A Catholic School Board in Canada is reviewing a complaint about the book to decide whether to remove it from their school libraries. Keep this in mind. Catholic schools. Canada. Reviewing the book. That seemed to be the start of it, but no subject is too remote to bring out the high minded drivel of the "banned" books folks.
The Glorious President of ALA of course had something to say, though I'm not sure why anyone in Canada would care what she says. Most people in this country don't even care what she has to say. Nevertheless, she made sure to tell us about how bad "censorship" is, not that any censorship is going on here, of course, since the Golden Compass seems to be widely available. I understand there's even a movie now, which will probably make the book more popular than ever. Unless it goes out of print soon, which is unlikely, it should be around for anyone who wants to read it. If the thought police come to your door to take your copy, please leave a comment on the blog so I can revise my story.
Of course she also mentioned that this same insidious "censorship" is occurring in America, since some Catholic hillbillies in Kentucky have also removed the book from the open stacks of their Catholic schools. Oooh, how frightening. Some Catholic school kids in Kentucky won't be able to check out this book from their school library. They might have to go to their public library for the book. Horror of horrors!
You might have noticed a theme here. Some Catholic schools in Canada and the United States have questioned the appropriateness of this book for their own school systems. The book is widely available in public libraries and bookstores. Nothing has been banned. Nothing has been censored. Some Catholics have decided it's not appropriate for their Catholic students. How is this of any concern to the ALA?
By far the silliest response to this has been by the blogger at Library Juice. His response was to give us a self-righteous paragraph about how we're all free to criticize religion and if anyone was aware that it was illegal to criticize Catholicism would they please let him know, because if it is he'll have to change his plans to emigrate there someday. Yep, emigrate to Canada, we're dealing with one of those. This is the silliest response because it's by far the most irrelevant. What does this pseudo-controversy have to do with citizens of either the US or Canada publicly criticizing religion? A totally ridiculous response.
Since when can't private, Catholic schools decide what is appropriate for their libraries or curricula? This has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of speech or censorship or anything else. These are private and Catholic school systems. Besides the book not really being banned or censored, since you can get it anywhere, I just don't see how this concerns anyone at all but the parents and students of these schools. How about taking a poll to see if any parents sending their children to these Catholic schools want this book on the shelves? Whatever their answer, it'll certainly be more relevant than the drivel about free speech and censorship coming from librarians in America.