For the past few years, I've been begging people to try to ban one of my books. It's freaking awesome publicity! It gets everybody talking about your book and allows people to think that they're standing up for free speech just by buying your book! Sadly, nobody's challenged any of my books yet.
But today the internets are ablaze with commentary about how this dude wants Laurie Halse Anderson's YA novel Speak removed from his local schools.
I have a few thoughts: One is that anybody who thinks a book about a girl recovering from rape is pornographic really needs to watch more porn so he can know what the hell he's talking about.
But also, this: everybody's speaking up for Speak today, which is fine, but Speak doesn't really need defending. It's still in print 11 years after publication, which makes it a bigger success than at least 90% of all books ever published, and people will continue to buy and read it. I imagine sales will probably spike in Missouri as a result of this guy's column. We shouldn't be arguing whether this particular book is worthy of inclusion in a public school curriculum because taking that tack is ceding the argument to the book banners.
What needs to be fought for is the freedom to read. The author of the piece attacking Speak was a speaker at a Reclaiming Missouri For Christ seminar. Which means, as near as I can tell, he's a Christian Dominionist. These are people who want the United States to be a Christian theocracy. I'm not using hyperbole here. Here's a quote from the Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ website (I know it's not the same state, but they have an identical mission statement to the Missouri folks, so I think it's safe to assume they're related.) :