Banned Books Make My Blood Boil

I know this publication is primarily oriented toward TV, movies, music, food and drink and other types of ?fun?stuff, but bloggers depend on the written word, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that they also read. And, like most internet enthusiasts, I would suggest that they are passionate about free speech.

So, if it’s been a few minutes since you’ve worked up a snootful of righteous indignation against the self-righteous, please visit your local public library. You’ll find dangerous authors like award-winning children’s book author/illustrator Maurice Sendak, Satanist J.K. Rowling, and?my personal favorite?Mark Twain.

We can’t have kids reading about runaway Huck and his fellow escapee, Nigger Jim. The N-word is inappropriate, you see. Even though the entire point of the story is that this little kid is ready to go against his entire society, and, in his own mind, risk his soul to eternal damnation, because he refuses to betray his friend Jim. This one kid, doing the right thing, following his conscience, against all of the prevailing wisdom?ie., institutionalized racism–of his time, is somehow an inappropriate tale because it uses the N-word. Hang on; I need a blood pressure pill.

Books, Part Two

I don’t think they have been banned (yet), but the two most important books I’ve read in the last two years are the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, both by Jared Diamond. Don’t be led astray by my use of the word ?important;? it isn’t code for ?boring? or ?difficult to read.?

Have you ever heard someone say, ?I have the answer, but I don’t know the question??

Diamond’s background is in wildlife biology, specifically birds (he’s also a UCLA geography professor). He has spent a lot of time in New Guinea, because of the wide diversity in bird species there. When a New Guinea tribesman asked him one day why the white man had so much compared to the tribesmen, Jared tried to explain the expansion of Europeans into the new world, and their domination of the peoples they encountered because they had guns, germs and steel.

Later, Diamond asked himself, ?Why was the civilization in Europe the first one to develop guns and steel, and why did their germs kill native tribes instead of native germs killing them?? To answer that question, he goes back 13,000 years, to the beginning of domestic agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. It is a long book, but he has six basic answers to the question, having to do with food, domestication of large mammals, diffusion of technology and more, and he manages to keep everything very clear.

Diamond’s sequel, Collapse, is a survey of several different civilizations and how they reacted to environmental threats to their society. It has examples of those who made successful decisions, and those that didn’t, as well as things that we?you and I?can do today to make a difference.

I talked about us oysterites being mostly about fun; but it’s?now–a Northwest blog by God, so we should fit a little personal responsibility towards the planet in there betwixt the micros and movies.

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