Something is on my mind that has only a passing relation to automation, but in the light of the Snowden revelations and the resulting attention to government surveillance, I think it’s important to touch on this.

Banned Books Week 2013

Today marks the start of Banned Books Week, an event to call attention to the banning of books in the United States.

Yes, book banning.

Why? Because apparently Fahrenheit 451 (a banned book) scares people more as a book than as a scenario. Because 1984 (a banned book) apparently is too violent, rather than scary as a view of a total surveillance state (NSA surveillance, anyone?). Because Ender’s Game (a banned book) contains sex, something that doesn’t happen in our world (wait - didn’t it also contain a fair amount of violence? Oh right… banning books on the ground of violence would be weird, but banning them on the grounds of sex is perfectly reasonable).

I learned about Banned Books Week yesterday in our library, when my daughter asked why there was caution tape around a table with books. I was stunned to find books like A Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, The Great Gatsby and many, many more classics on the banned books list.

Although it’s everyone’s right to question books, I feel no one should have the ability to prevent others from reading certain books. Please support your local library and the ALA in the Banned Books Week.