Evil Books

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Evil Books

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1Body_Count
abr. 23, 2011, 11:02am

I just bought a copy of The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (Stop looking at me like that; I'm a historian) at a 2nd hand bookstore. This is the book that became the film Birth of a Nation and it is almost single-handedly responsible for the rebirth of the KKK in the 20th Century.

Anyway, while I was tagging it, I decided it deserved to be tagged "most evil book ever written". Then because I don't like unique tags, I also tagged my copy of Mein Kampf with same.

So now, it occurs to me that if all of us were to tag some books with "most evil book ever written", Library Thing would tally the votes and generate a list.

2Nicole_VanK
abr. 23, 2011, 12:22pm

Interesting idea. I would probably - very personally, I gladly admit - add both the bible and the quran.

3SimonW11
feb. 29, 2012, 12:36am

You tagged two? but there can be only one.

4Booksloth
feb. 29, 2012, 5:31am

. . . And The Shack.

5fuzzi
feb. 29, 2012, 10:02am

Why would you tag any book as 'evil'?

The people who use a book to promote evil things are at fault, not the book itself.

A television show or movie is not evil, imo, even if people justify their evil deeds by blaming them on something they say.

My 2 cents' worth.

6SimonW11
març 3, 2012, 2:38am

can ideas be evil?

7fuzzi
març 3, 2012, 11:52am

What is the definition of 'evil'?

8SimonW11
març 3, 2012, 12:05pm

i thought you knew?

9lquilter
març 3, 2012, 1:52pm

Protocols of the elders of zion would certainly be a candidate.

A book can't be evil, pet se, because the book is not sentient ... But that seems like semantics. A book written for and used for evil purposes seems reasonably "evil" in the way a weapon or poison or any other tool could be evil.

... But isn't this exactly the sort of thing that lists are for?

10fuzzi
març 3, 2012, 5:00pm

Not to be argumentative, but a book, like other things, can be intended for evil but used for good, and vice versa.

If someone takes a so-called "good book" but twists it for evil, does that make the book evil? Can people read an "evil book" yet not be affected or act upon it in an evil way?

What example of an "evil book" could you offer?

(interesting thread, btw)

11bookmonk8888
Editat: març 3, 2012, 8:42pm

Mein Kampf was required reading for a history course I took. Tagging books as evil--as opposed to ideas--is dangerous IMHO. I'm sure Uncle Tom's Cabin would have been tagged 'evil' by a lot of people in the antebellum years. I could muster up many other titles if I had time. Many books have been banned in the past that are now regarded as works of literature e.g. Ulysses by James Joyce or Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence.

12prosfilaes
març 4, 2012, 8:29pm

#11: Tagging books as evil--as opposed to ideas--is dangerous IMHO.

How is it dangerous? Seriously, what dangers could it cause?

I'm sure Uncle Tom's Cabin would have been tagged 'evil' by a lot of people in the antebellum years.

Yes. Your point? That's derived from the fact that they tagged the ideas contained therein as evil.

13madpoet
març 5, 2012, 12:26am

It would be hard to choose just one Ayn Rand book...

14SimonW11
març 5, 2012, 1:07am

I do not see tagging a book as evil is any different from labelling a stool sample as a biohazard, I might be wrong about both the book and the sample. but it is wise to take precautions, to approach some things with care.

15madpoet
març 5, 2012, 3:57am

As long as you are just tagging books in your own collection, that's your business, nobody else's.

If you are doing it in a public library, then it's an issue.

If you are preventing others from reading books because you consider them 'evil', then you have definitely gone too far, in my opinion.

16gilroy
març 5, 2012, 7:44am

I wonder how many of these "evil" books were in the Occupy Movement's library?

17prosfilaes
Editat: març 5, 2012, 7:51am

#16: We have OChiLibrary (Occupy Chicago), OccupyDCLibrary, AtoZlibrary (Occupy Boston) and OccupyMadisonLibrary as members. (I seem to recall Occupy New York, but searching for Occupy didn't bring it up.) Take a look.

18fuzzi
març 5, 2012, 7:48am

(11) bookmonk8888, I agree with your assessment. Any book containing ideas that people use for evil could be labeled "evil", but it's the person who uses the ideas for evil that's the problem, not necessarily the book or the ideas.

(13) madpoet, I've not read any Ayn Rand, why would you consider any of her works "evil"? Not arguing, just curious.

19madpoet
març 5, 2012, 8:13am

>18 fuzzi: I don't really consider Ayn Rand's works 'evil', just repulsive in their ideology. I started reading The Fountainhead, but the misanthropy of the 'hero' (and the author) made me almost physically ill. It was like drinking poison.

I don't know if anyone else feels that way when reading Rand. She has quite a loyal following who obviously see something admirable in her philosophy. To me, though, it just seems like an attempt to make selfishness sound noble.

20Caramellunacy
març 5, 2012, 11:06am

madpoet - I read The Fountainhead in high school for an essay contest/scholarship and despite needing the money just could NOT bring myself to write anything about the book as it left me with such a vile taste. I definitely threw a copy across the room when I got to the forced seduction/rape scene. *shudder*

21madpoet
març 5, 2012, 6:47pm

>20 Caramellunacy:. Good to know it's not just me, then.

22bookmonk8888
març 5, 2012, 11:57pm

#12 Perhaps I'm not clear on what tagging is. I think I had censorship in the back of my mind when I wrote the above. And my distinction between books and ideas is weak; it probably only holds when there's a collectible version of the book.

Then there's the fact that the designation "evil" can be very subjective and vary from person to person. To some the Bible, particulary the violence and injunctions to violence in the Old Testament, is evil; to fundamentalist believers it's "holy" and venerated. Same with the Koran, which has some inspiring passages but has a repetitious obsession with killing the infidel who doesn't convert as well as numerous calls to jihad. And with the Koran, we saw recently that some Muslims don't distinguish between its ideas and the actual physical item.

If I use tagging for my own classification purposes, I'm certainly entitled to use whatever tags I want. And, certainly, I don't want my children to read certain books until they reach a certain level of maturity. I recall the instance of a friend of mine whose mother was apalled and angry with him for reading the "evil" book Lolita.

With regard to Uncle Tom's Cabin, if memory serves me right, it eventually was banned in some states. Could the fact that the "fire eaters" tagged it as evil have escalated the hatred towards it?

As to tagging ideas, we see it in current politics; "socialism" has been so tagged that it has become McCarthy-ish. In the 60's the word "liberal" was often a compliment. Now phrases like "the liberal media" is a condemnation.

On reflection, I think the suggestion by the person who started this thread is a good one. It would be very interesting to have some statistical data on what "ideas" are regarded as "evil".

23spaceowl
Editat: abr. 3, 2013, 6:48pm

Madpoet - no, it's definitely not just you. God knows how many pages of self-ennobling nonsense and a tree had to die for it too. Not evil as such but rather...erm...I mean...OK, I'll give you that one.

24lturpin42
abr. 3, 2013, 9:16pm

23> LOL!

What would make a book be considered evil, or at least dangerous? It's really an interesting question. I'm willing to posit that the proof is in the pudding: if a book has inspired people to commit evil, in large numbers, repeatedly, then I would be willing to tag that book "evil" or "dangerous". Probably I would also call a book dangerous if its author was writing about their motivations for having committed atrocities. By that measure, "Mein Kampf" would be evil, but not anything by Ayn Rand (yet!).

So if Hitler represents the way-too-far-right, who shall represent the way-too-far-left? The Communist Manifesto perhaps?

25Helcura
abr. 4, 2013, 3:08am

How about "full of bloody (or damned, or whatever expletive) ugly ideas" instead of "evil"?

26Nicole_VanK
Editat: abr. 4, 2013, 3:50am

> 22: Ah, but tagging is entirely individual on LT as well.

Not that I personally use "Evil Books" - it never even occurred to me.* But I do for instance use "Sacred Texts" for books that have at some time been considered "Holy" in some communities. I happen to think it makes an interesting grouping of otherwise often totally unrelated books. If you like: I see it as a genre.

Anyway. That some LT users call some books evil doesn't mean other LT users, or the site as such, agree with that assessment.

* (Correction: it did occur to me in 2011 apparently - see #2 - and then I forgot about it).

27spaceowl
abr. 4, 2013, 5:26am

That works for me, Helcura.

28gilroy
abr. 4, 2013, 8:07am

#24

lturpin42, I think the problem with said definition is that books like the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Torrah, would all qualify as "evil books" because people have done unspeakable acts because of their texts.

Just think about all the holy wars over the centuries...

29lturpin42
abr. 4, 2013, 9:00pm

28> Someone who was playing devil's advocate might suggest that that is not a bug, but a feature. After all, just look at all the holy wars over the centuries.......

It's one of the reasons I prefer the word "dangerous", actually. "Evil" suggests "do not touch"; "dangerous" merely says "handle with care". I also like Helcura's suggestion.

30varielle
abr. 22, 2013, 11:53am

>1 Body_Count: Well BC, my best beloved samthepaintman was cleaning out his late uncle's house a year or so ago and dragged home a bunch of old books one of which was The Clansman which had apparently belonged to the deceased uncle's father, who had happened to be a member of that despicable organization back in the 20s and 30s. This was quite a shocker for me as I'm from the south and best beloved's naughty relatives were all from New Jersey!