Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where I talk about banned books or discarded books and how bloggers should think about citations..

     The internet is one of the most expansive tools in the history of us wobble blobs of flesh but lets also be honest. It's also full of overreaction and half knowledgeable replies.
     For example, about a week ago, the fandom of one my favorite authors exaggerated a claim of censorship.  Apparently, a fan purchased a copy of one of her books from an online used book vendor. When the book arrived it was stamped "Discard."  This book was once a library book.  The fan/blogger promptly unleashed a claim of censorship without verification onto the interwebs except for saying I remember hearing it was banned. And by verification I mean, no links to news stories, no pointers to a source.
     First, this bothers me because as a blogger I hear people all the time say "Well, I'm not a news outlet or professional blogger so don't hold me to those standards." That's no excuse. Backing up your words for any writer, in any form, to any means, every writer needs to back up their views with sources or people are going to question it. And please don't get angry when someone does question your thoughts and views and you have nothing to go on. When you speak of specific events, you need to back up that information with sources, links, books, something or people are going to questions whether you are just seeking attention. And when you don't answer back to questions, you look not amateur but foolish but also you as a writer are setting yourself up to be slammed for it.
     Second, this bothers me a great deal because using the word DISCARD with censorship in the way it was used, and maybe not on purpose, was misleading. Not everything is censorship!  Let's talk spacial reasoning here, folks. A library cannot physically contain every book ever published in the history of ever.  Sometimes libraries have to remove or weed out or DISCARD older books to make room for new ones.  It's not censorship if it is part of routine weeding following a set of unbiased guidelines.  It is censorship if the book is removed for ideological reasons.
     By stating you "heard it was censored a couple of months/years ago" does not justify a claim of censorship. Again, the need for links on the subject matter need to be used in these instances.  Back up your statement before starting a rant. I rant a lot and every time I've not done this I'm gotten ripped by not strangers but friends because they know I know better.    
     As you learn in 6th grade: citations, citations, citations.
     I looked at the picture the blogger provided and did a 30 second Google search for the library. Also with a Google search I couldn't find one instance of that book being challenged. If someone find a case of 13 Little Envelopes by Maureen Johnson being banned please let me know and I'll edit this. The author herself said she didn't know if it being challenged.
     I'm also a little disappointed in this author for promoting this unverified claim of censorship.  I love her books and I love her commentary on social issues.  But throwing out an unverified claim of censorship?  Not cool. Fans jump on that stuff without thought or most of the time fans do the jumping without even researching. Just as a big following by talent can lead to a kind of bullying, that kind of following can lead to certain kinds of sightless actions.
     And you might ask why I haven't provided a link to that bloggers entry. I thought about that for a while because this happen last week. I'm not going after this person in particular because she wasn't the first or the last blogger to do this. But when you are dealing with serious issues like the banning and censorship of books you need to do your homework before posting. It will make things a whole lot simpler for you and not make you look like you're just talking out of your ass.
     So the moral of the story? Back up your story with links. It cuts down on confusion, it cuts down on people questioning your motives. It just makes everything easier whether you are working for a big news outlet or just your own personal blog.

Cool links to check out:
     Michael Wilbon is my favorite sports journalist and these are reasons why: Michael Wilbon delivers 2012 Medill Convocation address and Mike Wilbon Q&A (extended version) If you are or interested in sports journalism or journalism in general you should check these videos out.
     Like episode two. Still getting a feeling for it but continue watching. My Sisters: Problematic to Practically Perfect - Ep: 2
     Vlogbrothers Solving Your Problems!
     Very interesting. I had never heard of this before and that's why I love SciShow. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR): Energy for the Future?
     I want this shirt, I love The Flog.

Rants and screams:
     This comes up with me a lot in conversations with people. A challenge to a book is not the same as censoring a book.  A challenge is a discussion of the content of a book, debate is a healthy part of a democracy.  Censorship is the ideologically driven removal or denial of access to content.
      @warrenellis: "I'm using the Block function and pretending it's a Retroactive Abortion Button."
      Is the only thing Mitt Romney is running on- Vote For Me I'm Not Him because he wont take a stand on shit. I bet the guy has a hard time deciding on mustard or ketchup. This is a guy who has said publicly, in front of people, on camera that there is a lot of things he will not talk about because it would harm his campaign. That's not leadership folks. The 7 Major Issues Mitt Romney Won’t Take A Position On


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