Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sieg heil!

I caught this on a perusal of Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
Regional revival tackles community standards Pornography, Harry Potter books burned at monthly meeting

About 30 people gathered for a regional revival Friday night that included a book burning as a statement to reach out to local residents.

"It is allowed for Harry Potter to be taught in our schools, but not the Bible," International House of Prayer pastor James Crawford said during the Shreveport Regional Unity of Faith Revival.

There's probably a good reason for that, Mr. IHOP. Kids will actually read Harry Potter.

That is one reason pastors from several denominations and races ripped pages from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Those and pages from a pornographic magazine were put into a burn pit and set afire as praises bellowed from the congregation.

"As I tore the pages, I felt a generational curse of immorality and perversion breaking off my family," Adriane Banks said. "I felt it."

The book burning was a statement to reach out to people in Shreveport-Bossier City against sin, Crawford said.

"This is powerful. God looks down and sees humble hearts. That is the reality of what we're doing."

Crawford said recent natural disasters are a wake-up call.

It blows my mind that they actually think that natural disasters are Harry Potter's fault. He never actually graduated from Hogwart's for chrissake! He dropped out in the last year to look for Voldemort. If he could influence weather, I'm sure it'd be a senior level course. Or require some post-grad work.

that's enough of the cheap shots. There are many. IHOP, for instance. Harry Potter. Biblical inerrancy. Whatever.

I want to talk about book burning. It doesn't fucking work.

Some of my favourite books have been burned. A few I own simply because they were banned. For instance, I've never been actually able to finish Mien Kampf (not only is it crazy, it's pretty badly written), but I own it. Just because some people say I shouldn't be able to. I finished The Communist Manifesto, and while I agree with some of it, its main appeal is the fact that it's been burned. Same with Das Kapital. Book of Mormon. I already had the His Dark Materials books, but I reread them when I found out that they pissed people off.

I vehemently disagree with people who tell me what I can and can't read, can or can't listen to, and can or can't watch. I'll go out and arm myself with these texts, simply out of spite. And there are a lot of people like me, people who value their right to self-censor, or to not, but who abhor the idea of censoring someone else. And as a father, that's a bold fucking statement.

I expect to have some heated discussions with my wife, and some difficult discussions with my daughter (and any other kids that might come along), about what they see, read or listen to. Granted, there'll be few horror movies (and I don't think she'll be watching porn for a while, either) for Mickie until she's older, and no snuff films, and absolutely no Billy Idol, but other than that, I can't imagine why I'd want to shield her from stuff that's difficult, but often beautiful.

Here's a short list of some of my favourite books, bands and movies that have been challenged:
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • Johnny Got His Gun
  • Roots
  • The Gulag Archipelago
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • The Adventures of Huck Finn
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Howl
  • On The Road Again
  • Vernon God Little
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Giver
  • The Bluest Eye
  • The Color Purple
  • The Wars
  • Dance Me Outside
  • His Dark Materials
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • The Beatles
  • N.W.A
  • Public Enemy
  • Beastie Boys
  • KISS
  • Guns N' Roses
  • Sublime
  • Elvis Presley
  • Prince
  • Marilyn Manson
  • American Psycho
  • Friday the 13th
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • The Notorious Bettie Page
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Bowling for Columbine
There are longer lists on the tubes. My list is hardly comprehensive, and I own more that have been challenged. Some of the reasons are dumb, others are interesting. They're all well-intentioned, and they're all wrong.

The cool thing about transmittable culture in text, image or sound, is that people will exchange ideas, and many of the ideas will challenge preconceived notions.

That's good.

There is no growth as a society or as a person unless our ideas, assumptions, faith, or basis of comparison is challenged. Why change, if there's no outside pressure?

And that's the problem here. These idiots don't fear Harry Potter. They are afraid that their kids might read the stupid books and figure out that, first of all, witches aren't real, and second, that they're not always evil. And if they figure out that their parents lied to them about that, then what's next?


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