Thursday, November 13, 2008

Take the Banned Books Quiz

We've often enthused about librarians here, including this recent post. We think they're among the top unsung heroes of the culture (not the idiot culture; the real one). So to belatedly honor their trade group, the American Library Association, we bring you the group's Banned Book quiz, courtesy of Britain's Guardian newspaper. Let us know how you did.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

I did poorly, I'm afraid. On the other hand, I'm not a publishing news junkie, I'm a reader, so the ones I got right were from books I'd actually read. I don't follow the censorship news or history closely enough for some, I gather. I have to say, some of those questions were rather obscure, too; you'd really have to be a publishing insider to get them.

The quiz was rather insulting about it, afterwards, too, which seemed unnecessary. This strikes as one of those things created by someone who likes to demean others so that they themselves can feel superior. It had that tone to it.

I am strongly anti-banning and anti-censorship, but frankly who can remember all those books who have been banned? The list is huge, because the blue-nosed busybodies have never slacked off.

Or I'm just making excuses for my poor performance on a rather arbitrary quiz. You decide.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I doubt I'll get more than one right when I do take it, and that perhaps might be more by guessing than knowing. That's no big deal--it's just good to support librarians and all they do for turning people on to the appreciation of reading. If they challenge some book-banners in the process, all the better.

To me, their bigger contribution, and the one that made them even more heroic in my view, was their staunch resistance as a profession to the outrageous "Patriots" Act, which tried to deputize them as police by forcing them to turn over citizens' reading lists to the feds. They simply refused to comply with this flatly unconstitutional & un-American provision, and the feds had to forget about that part of the law. The big bad superpower federal government was defeated by a bunch of resolute librarians. Somebody should make a movie about that chapter of history.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

That episode spoke to me as well. What a terrific model of civil disobedience in the face of tyranny and proto-fascism. It was simply brilliant.

Do I have to say that some of my best friends are librarians? Would I be believed, at this point, if I did? :)

At 8:24 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Civil disobedience is the phrase I meant to use. It's one of the coolest examples of it: librarians standing up against the might of the federal government, armed only with their moral authority. It's not unlike the single Chinese guy standing in the way of the line of tanks. Only in this case, the guy won, rather than the tanks.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jeanne said...

Censor is such a dirty word, I remember well attending Catholic schools and being given a list of authors we were forbidden to read, they were at the "Index"

Reading Zola made me feel very defiant but unfortunately I was too young to understand it and it was not till later when studying Germinal that I saw that the Churh was politically trying to contain socialism and worker's power against the bourgeoisie.

I took the test and did not do that well but then I am not testing for "A" levels.


At 9:20 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

In most contexts, trying to ban any book only makes it that much more interesting and alluring to readers. It's kind of like bringing your kid to the refrigerator and pointing out some banned foods they should stay away from. It only makes it more likely they'll eat it.


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