It seems when some sanctimonious religious d/bag gets on his /her high horse they want to ban this book or that….books like “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “Lolita”, “Tropic of Cancer”, and many more ….even beloved Dr. Seuss is not immune.
As a history nerd I got to thinking of what was the first book banned here in the America of old?
I have the answer I was searching for…..
There’s no more potent evidence of the power of the written word than the fact people have historically looked to ban them. Not even Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) has been exempt: “The Lorax” (1971) was ostracized as political commentary. Most recently, author Brad Meltzer expressed disappointment that his 2014 children’s book “I Am Rosa Parks” — a primer on the civil rights advocate — had been prohibited in the Central York School District in York, Pennsylvania, along with other purportedly racially-conscious material. (The district has cited “parental concerns” as the reason for the ban but quickly walked it back after protests.)
Cultural norms, politics, personal beliefs, school policy, and other factors can all conspire to deem a book too incendiary to circulate in America. But just how far back does this policy of thinly-veiled thought control go?
As is often the case when you look back into history, there’s more than one possible answer. But one of the leading contenders has a fairly predictable culprit: the Puritans.
In 1637, a man named Thomas Morton published a book titled “New English Canaan.” It was a searing indictment of conservative Puritan life, which Morton had brushed up against after moving to Massachusetts in 1624. Compared to the entrenched and reserved culture of the area, Morton was a hedonist who liked to party. (As much as one could party in 1624, anyway. Dancing around a pole for May Day was considered risqué.) He also was friendly to Native Americans, which Puritans strongly disagreed with. He was eventually ostracized from the area and later sued over the forced relocation.
Personally I think the whole banning books things is just as asinine as stupidity of the anti-vax movement….no one should be able to tell a person what they can read…for any reason.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”