Monday ate my lunch. I don’t wish to speak of it. I will, however, tell you that the latest Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks is as good as the anything he has done, and almost as good as the Parks themselves. I’m really enjoying it, and feeling like a trip into the mountains for rest might be what I need.
This story is for my librarian pals out there, and also for Mr. Floyd, who pointed out that the week is Banned Books Week, which is the inspiration for the story accompanying…
“Welcome to “Write Back,” the show dedicated to writing and to books. Today, we have very special guests J. K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series, and Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose memoir “Now It’s My Turn” describes her life as a lesbian in the home of the Vice President.” Thank you for joining us today, ladies. Our topic, is banned books. Why are books banned? What can a writer or reader do about this problem? Ms. Rowling, your books have sometimes been banned due to concern that they promoted witchcraft and paganism. What advice do you have?”
“Well, certainly, I didn’t have any idea that people would have the notion that my books were promoting any sort of dangerous notion. After all, when it comes right down to it, the most powerful force in my books was the power of love. Certainly, that’s not usually a controversial topic.”
“Ms. Cheney, thoughts on this topic?”
“Actually, I’d love some advice on how you go about getting a book banned. I think it would really help my sales. Any advice would be very helpful.”
“Uh. Well, I think that is not really our focus today…”
“It really should be. I thought I had a good chance of being banned, because anytime the word “gay” comes up, or is even hinted at, parents try to ban it. Like that book “And Tango Makes Three,” about the two male penguins that hatch and raise a baby penguin? Yeah. most challenged book of this year. And, that’s just an example.”
“Well, you know, Dumbledore’s gay…”
“Like you need to increase book sales, Ms. ‘I’m-so-rich-the-queen-is-jealous!’ Shut-up. That doesn’t count. Announcing after the series is over that he’s gay hardly counts as having “gay” themes, and don’t tell me that Hedwig is gay, or that you meant her to be some sort of warped tralatitious reference to, shall we say, a certain musical! It totally doesn’t count!”
“Really? Did you ever think *your* little memoir didn’t sell because NO ONE wanted to read it? I really don’t think a banning’s going to do it any good.”
“Ladies, please. This is NOT “The View.” Let’s get back to the topic. Perhaps a caller. Yes, Jill, you’re on…”
“Yes, thanks for taking my call. I’m a librarian, and it seems to me that Ms. Cheney has a point. No one raises a fuss about books unless someone tries to ban them. Then, everyone wants to check them out, to see what all the controversy’s about. I think those people who ban books are dumb if they think banning does any good at keeping “dangerous” books out of kids’ hands, since it seems to have the opposite effect. They’d probably do better to not even mention them, or, here’s a novel idea, maybe they should read them and talk about them with their kids, and discuss the parts that concern them. I’d be much more interested in seeing *crappy* books banned. Any one have ideas on how we can stop really bad books from being printed?”
“Thanks, Jill for opening up that keg of worms. I think that’s all the time we have for today. As always, we’ll be “Write Back” at the same time tomorrow. I’d like to thank my guests, J.K. Rowling and Mary Cheney. Good night, and good writing.”
This was harder to write than I thought it would be. Oh well. It’s written now.
tralatitious /tra – la – TISH – us/ metaphorical.