The recent saga over the removed titles from N*B reveals a fair bit on the quality of arguments that people are capable of. There are better ones, supported with evidence (links) and statistics (links again), documented systematically to lead readers from point to point. There are also lousy ones that resorted to name calling. The first thing – I feel – before engaging in any argument or debate, is to ask yourself – how qualified are you to comment on the subject. Speaking of which, this is the reason why I am talking about this on my personal blog as a personal view, and not as a comment under the articles.
First and foremost, I have not even read the books! So on what basis am I to comment? And how many of the people (who commented passionately and righteously) have actually read the books?
Even if I were to take a broad assumption that all of them had read the books, how can anyone take one singular personal view, as a representation of society’s view? Some of them cited “many of us” in an attempt to borrow support from the masses and the question in my head is just one word “who”. “Who” specifically is the “many”?
For those who use religion as a reason, did they forget that we are in a country that has multiple religions? As far as I can remember (not that I am that old), we practise religious tolerance and we respect the differences in views and practices. So how is it possible to use (any) religion as a reason to impose a view on others?
Morality is one of the big issues associated with this saga. But what exactly is morality? I have just checked the word in dictionary.com and the few lines of definitions point mainly to “right conduct”. So I ask again, what would be considered as a right conduct? Is there a standard answer that can withstand disputes from all directions? One definition of morality cannot represent anything more than that particular individual’s idea of morality.
It is highly possible that a person’s thinking and ideas can be affected by the books he or she reads, but isn’t learning part of life? Do we learn by reading all the “right” stuff or do we learn by reading everything and then differentiating the “right” and “wrong”? I am not a parent so I cannot comment on parenting style but I do wonder if sweeping reality under the carpet is a good strategy. During my time, talks concerning making out was a taboo and so curiosity got into some young heads. I think that was one reason that contributed to a number of abortions at that time. What I see today is that parents appear more open to talk about it and in doing so; they have the first hand opportunity to caution their children about the risks (damages) involved.
I agree that young minds should not be exposed to matured material but do those books blatantly promote values that are contradictory to family values? If they do, they will not be in the children’s section of the public libraries in the first place. If they don’t, what can children deduce from those printed words and colourful pictures? In their young innocence, how possible it is for them to understand these texts at a deeper level and grasp implicit (imposed) meanings that underlie the texts? I would like to borrow an old article (old picture, rather) as a further explanation. (http://www.frenblog.com/illusion/dolphin-illusion/)
As for my stand on whether or not those titles should be removed, I am not too concerned. There are still many titles available for loan, and there are even more titles out there in the world available for rental or purchase. Is there a real need to debate until faces turn red? Furthermore, I feel that the x number of copies that are to be destroyed should rest in peace, seeing that the titles themselves have gained much attention in just a few days. A worthy sacrifice, don’t you agree? And yes, I am really curious to read them now! A pen is mightier than a sword. Indeed.