Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 29 April 2005

Mad book banning proposals in Alabama

Even for the religious right in America this latest proposal from Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen is pretty deplorable:

"I don't look at it as censorship," CBS News reports State Representative Gerald Allen as saying.

“I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children... It's not healthy for America; it doesn't fit what we stand for."

- referring to his proposal "that would stop public school libraries from buying new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters". As is pointed out in this RainbowNetwork article the law, if passed, would mean that books by Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal would have to be banned as well as Alice Walker's novel, The Color Purple, which has lesbian characters. Now I don't think the world would be a great deal worse off if every work by Gore Vidal disappeared forever as it's mostly pretentious nonsense (just a personal view, you understand), but if people want to read his books they should be allowed to. As for Tennessee Williams, well he's one of the greatest American authors of all time, whatever his sexuality.

For just how mad this proposal is, though, note that Shakespeare was initially going to be on the list until, generously, an exception was made for the 'classics'. Incredible! (Of course, Alabama was the home state of Governor George Wallace forty or so years ago, so perhaps the whole proposal isn't so surprising after all.)

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