"Couldn't that child simply not believe it?"
"Their minds are impressionable," the man responded.
"So, let parents make a decent first impression," I explained.
The librarian offered a new solution. Instead of banning all information, perhaps we could create a book filtering program where we might be able to search for books that are appropriate for children. After all, in this wild information age, we need an authority figure who can decipher what is best for children.
* * *
So, we get our list two weeks later from the Book Banning Committee. "You want to ban Tolstoy?" I ask the representative.
"He's offensive. And Anna Karenina has some lewd material in it."
"What about our one American classic, The Scarlet Letter?"
"The protagonist is an adulterer and I hate to be a spoiler but the man who caused the problems is a minister."
"No Mark Twain?"
"Can you trust the guy? He won't even use his real name. That man is shifty, I tell you."
He hands me the codes they use for the books: occultism, nudity, violence, sexual situations, homosexuality (got Whitman right there), anti-family, unsuitable to age group, suicide.
"I have a book that has all of these characteristics. In fact, that main character tells people to abandon their family, is brutally murdered and then his friend commits suicide. Oh yeah, and he is friends with hookers. Should we ban it?"
"Sure, what's the title."
"Oh, it's the Bible."
* * *
Oddly enough, one of the lessons he could have learned from my suggested banned book is that banning something only makes someone want it more. I stole that argument from Paul in Romans (the dead guy and not Paul the Pre-industrial Poet).
Some day kids will quit reading The Scarlet Letter, not because it is so boring (which it is) but because it will be mandatory school reading. If the Book Banning Committee really wants to prevent kids from reading inappropriate texts, they should suggest them as required reading.