So, it’s Banned Book Week, right?
This week, my students will be addressing two quotes about the banning of books; Ray Bradbury’s, “You don’t need to burn books to destroy a culture; just get people to stop reading them,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Every burned book illuminates the world.”
I gave the Bradbury quote to my Away College kids this morning. Since they’re basic writing students and don’t have a whole lot of experience with critical thinking, we did some chatting about it first. It was during that chat that one of my kids uttered this exact sentiment:
I don’t mind if they ban books; I don’t read, anyway, so it doesn’t matter to me.
How I managed to not completely lose my shit is still a mystery to me. Aside from this being a STUNNINGLY ignorant thing to say, it astonishes me that my young man has literally no concept about how vulnerable (and easily manipulated and controlled) his ignorance – and his willingness to forgo his freedom of access to information – makes him.
I think I managed to get them all to consider the idea that no one else should be making decisions for them about what they can and cannot see, hear, learn, or read. I’m not certain, though, that most of those kids feels entitled to the kind of knowledge that others might try to keep from them.
I have a lot of work to do.