31 Days of Post, Day 2: Banning and Censorship

This is Banned Books Week. Given that, I wanted to take the time to post again about the banning and censorship of books and manga. Personally, I find the whole notion of banning and censorship distasteful.

I’ve criticized the English translation of Naruto several times over its censorship.

I can understand why removing Shikamaru’s brief smoking habit happened. I agree that teens should not be encouraged to smoke. What, however, is more likely to influence youth smoking: peer influence or media? And let’s ignore the fact that the “cleaning up” leaves it pretty clear that Shikamaru is smoking but the cigarettes are just absent. Besides that, given the internet, it would not be hard for any Naruto fan to figure out what is going on.

Another bit of censorship which bugs me from Naruto is the decision to silhouette Konohamaru’s Sexy Girl on Girl and Sexy Boy on Boy techniques. Given that every other application of the basic jutsu (even the harem technique) is fully depicted (to my knowledge), why are these two censored?

Oftentimes, the instances of censorship in manga are really stupid. Take the decision to change the cross Greed is tied to to a slab from Fullmetal Alchemist. Seriously, were the editors afraid of religious complaints or something? That just seems silly.

Finally, I wonder what the translator on Fairy Tail is going to do as the series becomes more risque. Hopefully Kodansha will have more sense than Viz.

Moving on to banning books, I find it funny when individuals try to ban books that they themselves have never read.

One of my English professors told the story of a time when someone tried to ban the novel The Catcher in the Rye. He wanted the novel banned because he that it was Catch Her in the Rye! Seriously, how utterly stupid! Read the damn book first!

The Catcher in the Rye has an undeservedly bad reputation. Yes, it is a novel (maybe the novel) of teen angst. But, come on, the rumors of its dangers are greatly exaggerated.

Now, I don’t have any lists including some of the most banned or attempted banned books. But Huffington Post does have a list of the top ten from last year. Let’s take a quick look, shall we?

Of the ten, I’ve only heard of four of them. Of the ten, two are perennial favorites to be banned (To Kill a Mockingbird and Brave New World). The rest, I’m guessing are YA or children’s books. I don’t know much about the books on this list, but I have to ask: How is The Hunger Games occult or Satanic?

The danger of banning books lies in that it takes away the ability to read those books from other people. And, of course, what is to prevent banning books on more political grounds?

Banning books is never a good idea. And censorship is a slippery slope. I can see why censorship takes place on occasion, but I don’t think it ever really works. Not in this day and age anyway.

Tomorrow on Day 3: Chris Colfer’s The Wishing Spell will be reviewed.

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Posted on October 2, 2012, in Books, Manga and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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