Why Libraries Banning 50 Shades Of Grey Isn't Funny
Last week, Floridaís Brevard County Public Library made the decision to yank the controversial mommy porn book Fifty Shades Of Grey off its shelves. Nineteen copies were ordered, but after a perusal of online reviews, all were placed in a permanent holding pattern, denying scores of women and even a few men the right to take in its racy content. Some local citizens have objected, while others have praised the censoring. A spokesman for the library itself released a statement saying the organization isnít in the business of collecting porn.
Now, in almost all ways I can think of, this decision has no implication on my life. Iím not a mommy. Iíll never be a mommy, and I know plenty of better places to get porn. I donít live in Brevard County. I donít know anyone who lives in Brevard County, and I canít even envision a scenario in which Iíd find myself a) in that part of Florida and b) frequenting the local library. Malaysia could ban Almond Joys, a candy bar I despise, and it would probably affect my day-to-day activities more, but that doesnít mean Iím not madder than hell.
When I first heard about this story, reported in a Jacksonville Paper, I assumed almost everyone would share my sentiment. After all, most of us saw Field Of Dreams and smiled as Amy Madigan tore that book burner a new one, but as it turns out, people only seem to get hot-and-bothered when so-called high art is banned. Whenever The Catcher In The Rye gets axed by a school board, a strong contingent of people jump up and down and cry foul, but if itís mommy porn, itís apparently funny or not worth taking seriously. Well, thatís hypocritical, wrong and ultimately counterintuitive to our collective best interest.
50 Shades Of Grey has every right to exist on public library shelves because itís a book people want to read. It doesnít matter if those people tend to be fifty-year-old women with kids. Their rights are worth protecting just as much as anyone elseís. Itís because we willingly look the other way and allow censorship like this that library systems have the balls to ban other, more critically acclaimed books.
Allow me to quote from the American Library Assocationís ďFreedom To Read StatementĒÖ
There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
That wisdom should apply to everything, no matter who the intended audience is, and thereís no excuse for forgetting that. I will never read Fifty Shades Of Grey, but if you want to, be my guest. Go for it. Walk into your local library and check out a copy. If they tell you itís been pulled for your own good, write a letter to your local paper and cry foul. Iíll gladly stand behind you, and any other sensible person should too.