Thursday, September 29, 2011

Uncensored Voices

OK, the Banned Book event Tuesday evening was not what I was expecting. It was an uncomfortable evening all around, and I understand why my Lit teacher is giving extra credit for attending.

There was music playing when we came in to the theater. It was unusual, and I enjoyed it. I later found out it was from Listen to the Banned, a collection of banned or censored music from around the world.

Nevada Repertory Dance Theater started out the event with an eye-opening dance, performed to the words of a poem between two lovers. As the dance progressed, more and more clothing came off more and more of the dancers. There was never anything inappropriate, but... the dancing was suggestive.


At the end of the (really lovely, but blush-making) dance, a voice called out from the audience "Yep! That should have been censored!" Wow.

Here is the lineup of readers and what they read:
Maile Chapman: Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Senator Joe Neal: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Kris Saknussemm: Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
Jeanne Goodrich: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Andrew Kiraly: Naked Lunch, by William S Burroughs
Jane Heenan: Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Bob Brown: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Radbury
Dr. Laura Henkel: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Steve Sebelius: Areopagitica, by John Milton

I enjoyed most of the books. But I don't think I'd ever read Tropic of Cancer. Kris Saknussemm read a passage that included most of the words that my Mom would never allow in the house, including one word that she strictly forbad me EVER to say anywhere.

Some of the readings were kind of boring. Some of them really bothered me, like Tropic of Cancer. But I left the event really thinking about banned and censored items.
If I go to library school, I'm going to have to think a lot more about the topic of Banned and Censored. Is it OK to ban or censor stuff just because you don't like it? When is it OK? Should the 8 year old sitting next to me have been there at all? And what did he think about the books? (He got very bored, very fast, and fell asleep on his Mom's lap pretty quickly.)

It was an uncomfortable night. I'm glad I went.

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