Manifesto For The Uncensored

It was after 1984 when I read the novel of the same name, hiding under the covers, reading by the dying light of a 50-cent flashlight as Winston and Julia performed more unspeakable acts under their own sheets; Winston apprehensive of Big Brother’s all-seeing eyes, me fearful of mother coming in to ask why I was reading something so vulgar at such a young age. When asked what I thought of the book, it didn’t take a bucket of rats to make me cast Winston aside…instinct alone inspired me to decry the book as “all right, but the sex was pointless and unnecessary.” And life continued as normal, the irony of my betrayal reduced to nothing more than an uncomfortable rattle at the back of my mind that has never left me to this day.

But forbidden fruit and verboten vegetables leave an aftertaste in the back of the throat that can’t be eradicated with mouthwash. My reading habits were soon filled with illicit treasures like Jurassic Park, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Shining. I’ve never enjoyed reading as much as I did then, living in constant fear of being caught.

And now you want to tell our children that they can read whatever they want? That no book should be banned or censored? That they are free to make their own decisions?

How dare you? How dare you take away their God-given right to be told what not to do? How dare you rob our children of the unmistakable thrill of reading a book on the not-allowed list? Who gave you the right to tell children that they can choose whatever they want to read, stealing the growth that comes of discovering this for themselves? Who are you to give them no rigid boundaries to challenge, you tolerant, open-minded, wholly-accepting, nonjudging, censorless sons-of-bitches!

We will not be unsilenced any longer! Let the nation hear our cry for censorship!

These are our demands:

We demand walls around ideas and philosophies, so we can see farther when we reach the top.

We demand to be told what not to do, so we can laugh as we do it anyway.

We demand to be downtrodden, because we can’t trip you up unless we’re underfoot.

We demand to be told what to think, so we can learn the value of thinking for ourselves.

We demand that dangerous and questionable books be banned, that they may receive the credibility they deserve.

We demand to be censored, so we know when we’re saying something important.

Banned Books

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138 Responses to Manifesto For The Uncensored

  1. Pingback: 6 Better Banned Books than 50 Shades of Grey | Mindless Productivity

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  5. KN says:

    You gifted me an unexpected chuckle. Thank you.

  6. Michael says:

    A man after my own heart.

  7. Oh how you make my librarian heart quiver with delight on reading this post. We love our reading matter controversial. We love to secretly unlock the doors to the forbidden and elicit so that readers may explore the depths within. We are lost without banned books to slip furtively to our readers with a quiet warning not to get caught.

    “[Librarians] are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.” Michael Moore.

  8. eelifecoach says:

    Reblogged this on Overcoming My Ink Monster and commented:
    Love this post. Being an avid reader, I had never thought about people reading these books simply because they weren’t supposed to.

  9. doronklemer says:

    Great call to arms!! I’m working on my own Reader’s Manifesto at the moment too: in the meantime, here is what I thought about Daniel Pennac’s wonderful little book on the same subject, if you have a moment to browse…

    • Matilda says:

      It seems that there are two things that are taboo when it comes to blaming anyone or anything: guns and ‘normal’ white men (i.e. neeta-rypicol,heturosexual men in a relationship, preferably married with children, with a job and a house). Everyone and everyone else is ok to be the scapegoat. But not those two.

  10. cetracy says:

    whenever i’ve looked at lists of books people have attempted to ban, it amazes me how much of it is based off of social commentary. oh no this book deals with racism, oh no this on has gay characters, heaven forbid harry potter and his mates can do magic; people simply want books banned that either don’t go along with their belief system, or that perpetuate ideologies of the less than tasteful. if these people have learned anything, it should be that the moment someone makes a stink about censoring something, the masses will flock to it.

    anyway, i enjoyed reading your tongue-in-cheek remarks. may someone try and censor this so its truths can be validated 😉

  11. bejamin4 says:

    Great. Those demands = truth.

  12. elainecanham says:

    Were you really banned from reading Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy?? What I find most interesting about banned books is that the people who ban them have either read them, so what right have they to be proscriptive; or they haven’t, in which case they don’t know what they’re talking about. Odd. I was never banned from reading anything, although I remember my mother relieving me of a copy of Diamonds are Forever in a doctor’s waiting room when I was about ten.

    • Several books weren’t so much banned as looked on with disapproval…which in some ways was almost worse.

      If my mom had picked up Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, she would no doubt have randomly turned to a page discussing Eccentrica Gallumbits. Such was generally my luck in those days.

      • elainecanham says:

        Or possibly the triple breasted whore of Eroticon; I’d forgotten about her. Every time I get in a talking lift I think of Douglas Adams; what an amazing imagination that man had.

  13. penjedi says:

    I enjoyed and admired your post. I did leave a comment previously, but it was never approved and I am wondering if my tendency to express myself paradoxically might have given you offense. If so, I apologise! I hope to continue following you.

  14. J.E. says:

    Interesting take on censorship. Thanks for the insight!

  15. thephraser says:

    Top Dog needs Under Dog – bark bigger than you can bite and Under Dog has a feast.

  16. milambc says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! I think it’s wild as hell that there even need be a “Banned Book Week” considering I can’t think of a reason for really any book to be banned. The free flow of ideas can never be stopped, though. It’s just a matter of getting people to listen…Great post!

    • Latisha says:

      Det er blevet rigtig flot dit tæppe. Jeg har sÃ¥dan en justerbar skbÃsrÃ¥nd¥trykfod og det tog mig ogsÃ¥ et par forsøg eller tre;o) for at lære den at kende, men nu ville jeg nødig undvære den:-)Kh. Louise

  17. beautifulzorada says:

    Reblogged this on Tattoos and the TARDIS.

  18. mirrorgirl says:

    Writing about Big Brother has never been more right! thank you!

  19. dvpitman says:

    It’s the satirical edge that gives your post it’s authenticity and passion.
    I think that there would be a problem if younger generations are robbed of the experiences in their development that include rebelling against censorship…but there is something else a little off about over-censoring our literature. It is so easy to go from one extreme to the next. Hopefully most children growing up are guided by some parental censors and learn to discover these hidden gems in art and culture for themselves.

  20. Its almost tine for a goid old fashion book burning. I hate when I read and develop an original thought. What I am really upset about is the fact that I haven’t been able to get may pop up ads to work in print form.

  21. editorjulie says:

    Thought provoking! I admit I struggle with your theory. A mother recently asked me if a book I edited would be good summer reading for her 14-year-old daughter. I said, “Yeah, if you’re cool with her reading about oral sex.” That book had plenty of it! Her response? “I’m not, but she’d probably actually read that, and she hates to read!” What makes me nervous about your approach, satire aside, is that the world is full of sheep, as 1984 so beautifully illustrates. Yeah, the commenters here are good critical thinkers with healthy rebellious streaks, but I believe we’re outnumbered by the folks who say, “No, it’s not allowed, so I’m not allowed.” (Those are the folks who work at the ministries of truth, love and peace.) On the other hand, if the “right-to-read” crowd was as vociferously outraged and LOUD about 1st Amendment rights as the “right for psychotics to carry semi-automatic weapons” crowd is about 2nd Amendment rights, maybe books would sell at the same rate of volume and profitability as guns do. You’ve given me food for thought, and that’s what sustains me — I thank you.

    • I feel like someone reminiscing about playing on railroad tracks as a kid. Obviously, I don’t want to actually encourage children to endanger themselves by doing the same, but I can’t help but feel that something has been lost as a result.

      So I clothe these misshapen thoughts in satire and let them try to make their way in society as they will.

  22. holmanpatrick says:

    Reblogged this on Patrick Holman and commented:
    An exquisite narrative on the value of ideas and how to attain them. Not what I expected to read when I clicked on the blog post, but very much worth my time.

  23. Pingback: “Manifesto for the Uncesored” | Patrick Holman

  24. 2chefs1home says:

    This is a great concept. I’m 25 and the books in your photo are all ones I was made to read in school so they were nearly a punishment until I got into them. 451 and mockingbird specifically are my favorites but I would have to add the Giver to that list. I just reread it last week! ❤ I shall bring this post into consideration with my son! Entice him to read through reverse psychology.

    • Wow…I have read none of these. Except for half of The Road. I’ve been meaning to read more of Hunter S. Thompson. Have you read the graphic novel series Transmetropolitan? The main character is a gonzo journalist loosely based on Thompson, set in a slightly dystopian future. (But only slightly.)

  25. Laura Lee says:

    I love this post for two reasons. Firstly, I agree, some of my most treasured books today are ones I read when I wasn’t supposed/allowed to. Every word seems to carry massive meaning when read in secrecy. I also LOVE the photo accompanying your words. A few days earlier I took the same type of picture with the books that had that special meaning to me!

  26. Nice! Right! Because everything is so much more fun when it’s “not allowed” 🙂

  27. slaiirzone says:

    This was really a great post, I remember sneaking around reading books that were “far too inappropriate” for my age, and I must admit that it did contribute to my passion for reading.

  28. penjedi says:

    Great Post!
    I’m surprised that WordPress allowed it.
    I’m going to follow you to see what other seditious crap you come up with.
    By the way, I read 1984 in 1960 (dates me a bit?) and I can’t remember anything particularly raunchy, not like Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which had just been de-censored and which I read in the same week. You could tell LCL had a roused a certain type of schoolboy interest from the state of the penguin paperback we had circulating in the boy’s lockers. Most of the book was virginal, unexplored, and just a few (alack! way too few!) small sections so well thumbed and greased that the pages were falling apart.
    Anyway, take this as a friendly warning that any further posts of this nature will have severe consequences.

  29. Brilliant. Sometimes you come across things on the Internet that make you look at life a little differently and when you do it’s a true gem. A great read. From a fellow toucher of “don’t touch, wet paint” signs x

  30. Andron Ocean says:

    This is simply brilliant. I’ve never thought about banning books in this light, but you’re RIGHT. (As a writer, I am kind of freaked out to say that…) I had some experiences very similar to your own with books of, ahem, *questionable* age-appropriateness at night under the covers, in the back seat of the car… and I do look back on them with a wee bit of nostalgia.

    So thank you for making me remember it, and realize how much I’d enjoyed it.

  31. perfectlypricedperfumes says:

    i think you should let a child read what they would like. I remember when i was little i was reading all kinds of book and it didnt do me any harm. It widened my general knowledge about some things that go on in the world xx

  32. Micheng says:

    True! Everyone needs a limit because without limitation then there will be no curiousity and growth. So true!

  33. Nicely done. Not sure if I agree or disagree or both, but nicely done.

  34. So great. Thanks for sharing your wittiness!

  35. allthenamesaretakensothisisreallyreallylong says:

    Aren’t you really talking about the attention that controversy brings? Miley Cyrus is on the lips of many Americans due to the fact that we are conditioned rubber-neckers. Taking advantage of this base instinct doesn’t seem to drive better art. As a thought experiment, what type of content in a novel would trigger banning today? Glorification of rape, maybe, as the controversy over “Blurred LInes” would imply? Not sure.

  36. Reblogged this on sagarpatilblog and commented:

  37. Reblogged this on xortesttesttest's Blog and commented:

  38. Reblogged this on xortesttesttest's Blog and commented:

    • Lanette says:

      Really, just because Muhammad stated his was an &qo&i;Abrahamtcoquut; faith does that make it so? After all, I don't think the Muslims hold the NT, Tanak or Torah holy at all — because all of them have been superseded (in whole or in part) by the Quran and Hadeeths and are inferior to it.

  39. girlforgetful says:

    LOL! I only ever felt I was doing something wrong when I would find my parent’s dirty books and magazines hidden in their closet, and that was because I was … doing something wrong. I suppose you’re right, though. If there hadn’t been boundaries to breach, I would have found other ways to be rebellious, and probably had a few kids strapped to me at my High School graduation ceremony. Great post. Congrats on being FP’d.

  40. Harsha MP says:

    Congrats on FP’d !! Nice post

  41. Wonderful post and well deserving of being ‘Freshly Pressed’. Strange how I can’t remember the sex in Orwell’s 1984 🙂

  42. I am in the process of reading Stranger in a Strange Land, that along with Ayn Rand being my favorite author, I’ve been given a lot of ‘looks’ over the books I prefer to spend my time reading. Thank you for the insight, and a couple more books to add onto my list.

  43. montagabides says:

    Interesting post! 1984 was one of my favorites in high school. Sadly, I don’t find the time to read much these days.

  44. great article, you should check out our new online magazine

  45. roadwax says:

    You simultaneously explain so many complex points here…and with such great wisdom and good humour. Worst of all, you actually write one of the most succinct reviews ever of ‘1984’.

  46. Blake Hanson says:

    Reblogged this on The Black Sheep.

  47. cobrunstrom says:

    I think the key thing is to keep the books you want your kids to read on a shelf that is slightly too high for them to reach without getting a step of some kind. You could label the shelf “Forbidden Knowledge” or even “Forbidden Fruit” – but the strategy risks becoming slightly transparent.

  48. ~Juniper Love~ says:

    Excellent blog 🙂 I had the notion of starting my own banned books collection a while back, but that is all it was; a notion. This blog has rekindled my interest in starting up that collection once again. Thank you for helping me to find my motivation!

    • Yeah, I never exactly set out with the intention of collecting them…but they have begun to accumulate. Catch-22 and To Kill a Mockingbird are actually library books, though. I needed more for the picture…

  49. People were so stupid in the old days…

    Brave New World indeed…

  50. huge says:

    If we banned and burned all books then teenage boys might actually think it’s cool to read and literacy rates would rocket! Let’s start campaigning now. “What do we want? To burn books! When do we want it? Just as soon as we’ve finished this chapter from American Psycho…”

  51. My mother told me that as a teenager in a small Midwestern town, the local librarian refused to let her check out a copy of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, because it was to ‘racy’ for a girl her age…how times have changed.

    Great post. You made me laugh today, and I needed a laugh.

  52. This is brilliant! I totally agree with you, and you say so much so succinctly, and in such an entertaining way – thanks for a great read:-)

  53. godtisx says:

    Reblogged this on Archaic Sugar and commented:
    Inspiring Read For Writers….

  54. godtisx says:

    Very interesting work, very interesting indeed. But perhaps writers need to push to say that which isn’t freely accepted (yet), so it can be censored by the oh so open minded, giving children something to dig up again. 🙂

  55. Don Royster says:

    Wonder how I can get my book censored once I publish it.

  56. kristilazzari says:

    Loved this post! Made me smile as I remember the books I had hidden between the board games in my closet because I wasn’t sure if I would get in trouble for reading them!

  57. pezcita says:

    A clever take on the issue – and one I had fun reading!

  58. This certainly put a smile on my face. The value of verboten vegetables. Great post!!!

  59. lauraeflores says:

    I remember my father telling me that I shouldn’t be reading some books in public, because I was just a girl in my early teens (we were waiting for a flight and he was saying people were giving me strange looks, and he was getting a little bit embarrassed, but.. I didn’t put my book away), I guess I didn’t realize some books were meant to be read in the dead of night… Those were the days, when I didn’t know yet what shame was.

  60. This actually made me laugh (in a good way). I’m not sure if that was the point, but I laughed because I saw so much of myself in what I just read. I too love to read the books I’m not supposed to read in the dead of night when I’m not supposed to be up. I believe I actually read 1984 for the first time that way.

  61. Wanderlushh says:

    This is awesome! I remember the days of hiding books in my toy chest, knowing that if my mom saw the coarse language and sexual references on the pages, I’d be grounded in a second! I use to have to go through the library checkout line while she was still wandering the aisles to get away with it! And you’re right, I’ve never enjoyed reading more.

  62. Cleverly written. Great job!

  63. tdavis77 says:

    Without authority, defiance is impotent. Without defiance, we stagnate.

  64. You should write a sketch where a bunch of people demand censorship and send it to SNL.

  65. elmerfgantry says:

    Lol, this is brilliant. Not what I was expecting when I clicked it, either. Well done!

  66. chris ludke says:

    Rock on,readers ! We don’t need no stinking rules!! I like that spirit!!

  67. awax1217 says:

    We can always determine what we read and therefore nothing is really off limits. Is it in good taste is another story? One persons likes are not necessarily another persons likes. I say “live and let live” for once I decide like a tyrant what I want and force that on you can you now turn it around and become the tyrant and tell me what to read and how fast to read it?

  68. Pingback: Unwarranted Parental Feelings Toward A Blog | Mindless Productivity

  69. dabink1988 says:

    Once more, you’ve knocked it out of the park, mate! 😀

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