You are dictator. What will you ban?

ConversesBanned Books

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

You are dictator. What will you ban?

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu": L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

ag. 11, 2009, 6:23pm

Nobody has posted here for a while, so let's have some fun.

You've just been elected Dictator Of Everything, and have Supreme Power. You can shape the course of culture and history with a single command.

What books would you ban?

(This is supposed to be fun and funny... I'm sure that many, if not most, if not all, of you are against actually banning books. But in this scenario, you can ban something because you think it's a waste of time, or because it suckers people, or because it's so badly written it makes your brain bleed. In fact, you don't even need a reason... after all, you're Dictator!)

I'll start!!

I ban:

- Any book that claims that it has a magic program to make anyone who reads it thin and beautiful

- Elements of Style by Strunk & White. It's rules were outdated even when it was first published (1959). It is dogmatic and based on personal biases of the authors and styles of literature from the late 1800's, and the way in which highschool and college students are taught to teach it like Gospel leads to some of the worst writing I've ever seen.

- Any book that claims that dogs are cooler than cats.

OK, your turn. What would you ban?

ag. 11, 2009, 6:37pm

I'll play it safe and ban diet books and L. Ron Hubbard's entire Mission Earth series.

I'd be tempted to ban some religious books, but then religion can be a great benefit to a dictator.

ag. 19, 2009, 12:36am

Definitely Grimm's Fairy Tales should be banned. I read them when I was seven years old and was horrified at the evil and cruelty in the stories. Little did I know that all that evil and cruelty would be acted out by the innocent and adorable children in my elementary school.
They were the worst people that I have ever met, and they only stopped being nasty when I was grew large enough to be a danger to them if I became upset. They behaved like a bunch of animals, or the kids in Lord of the Flies, and respected only brute force.

Editat: ag. 30, 2009, 12:49pm

The Da Vinci Code
The Secret
Atlas Shrugged

Aw, if I was a dictator I probably wouldn't ban a thing...

ag. 30, 2009, 1:36pm

I would ban book banning....

ag. 30, 2009, 3:53pm

I would ban "non-fiction" books that are based on lies.

At the very least, I'd have them reclassified as willful distortions of events, not meant as entertainment.

ag. 30, 2009, 5:37pm

I would ban "non-fiction" books that are based on lies.

At the very least, I'd have them reclassified as willful distortions of events, not meant as entertainment.

But you would clear out the entire 'Current Affairs' section of the bookstore!

ag. 30, 2009, 5:41pm

And the downside of that would be...what?

Editat: ag. 30, 2009, 5:48pm

Uh... Bill O'Rielly, Ann Coulter and Michael Moore would all wind up on the government dole. (Okay, so I'm grasping at straws for a downside.)

Editat: set. 15, 2009, 10:32pm

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair- I know I should like it, but I just don't!

oct. 5, 2009, 9:28am

"A Day When No Pigs Would Die"

Ugh. Read it in 8th grade, I now teach 8th grade reading and I still despise this book! Even my students know I hate this book! lol

Editat: oct. 5, 2009, 12:43pm

How about starting with Uncle Tom's Cabin and to also include all of the misoygnist books out there too? Anything that puts minorities or people with disabilities in a bad light. Anything that still counts today as Quackery. Something that says this diet will be the last one you'll ever need to try because you can lose all the weight you want and keep it off for good too. Anything that is written by a Con Artist who is only trying to rip people off. Several years ago there was a book written by someone that told people how to kill other people. I think it was along the lines of How To Be A Hitman and there there shouldn't be any books out there that explain to people the step by step procedure on How-To-Make-Homemade-Bombs either.



Editat: oct. 5, 2009, 1:01pm

I also tihnk that ALL books that are geared for Hate groups such as the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Skin heads, Street gangs, Thugs, etc. should be Banned. Plus of course any other books or genres I don't like which happens to include ALL kinds of music that I can't stand like Rap and Hip-Hop which I happen to consider to be nothing but NOISE!!!!! And not music.
Not even remotely anything like music at all.


oct. 5, 2009, 1:25pm

#13: Are there any styles of music that you personally don't like, but that you recognize as music and admit that it requires skill to produce?

Or, in your mind, does "I don't like it" == "it is not music"?

Editat: oct. 5, 2009, 1:51pm

Well I'll try to answer your question as honestly as I possibly can. I'm not a real huge fan of Blue Grass or Classical music now don't get me wrong everyone it's not that I hate Classical or Blue Grass music it's just that they're not my favorite style of music, what I'm trying to say here is that I like Classical and Blue Grass music alright and can listen to them without any kinds of problems. In fact if I had to chose between listiening to Classical or Blue Grass over Rap or Hip-Hop it's not a hard decision for me to make. I would rather listen to Classical or Blue Grass over Rap and Hip-Hop any day of the week. I know it takes a lot of talent to be a Classical or Blue Grass musician.

So I guess it's more of the latter and not the former with me. Because in my mind I don't like Rap or Hip-Hop and I don't even consider it to be music like I said in #13. But hey, why are you picking on me? The name of this group is called You are dictator, What Will You Ban? So as far as I see it I'm just going along and saying what I would ban if it was left up to me. Just like everyone else here is doing too. I really have nothing against Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, or any of the other famous Composers who wrote such beautiful music nor do I really have anything against Blue Grass it's just that I was never really into either one that much. Certainly not to the extent that I love my 60s and 70s music, the British Invasion, Folk, original 60s and 70s R & B from MOTOWN or even Country music.


Editat: oct. 5, 2009, 2:20pm

Hey #14 if you're not picking on me, that's fine with me and I Apologize to you for thinking that about you. But you know I've had problems with other groups here in LT, Poetry Fool & Pros & Cons to name a few and that I dropped out of those other groups because I felt I was being ganged up on by other people. But as far as that's concerned it's all water under the bridge to me. It's in the past so I'm letting it stay buried there too. And I hold no grudges against anyone who is still in those groups today. It's over and done with and I've moved on since then. For the most part I'd like to say that I really did enjoy those LT groups for awhile up to the point where it got too unbearable for me to remain there any longer and I felt at the time the only choices that were open to me was to remain there and still take people's verbal abuse or to quit those groups, so I decided to quit those groups because I felt I had taken enough of their insults and name calling.

Hey, if this or any of the other many LT groups I'm a member of get to be too much for me to handle again I'll just have to quit those groups as well. As I've said before, I'm very thin skinned when it comes to things like verbal abuse or name calling and I happen to take things very personally so it's just as easy for me to retreat than to stay and try to fight on against people who don't like me or have anything nice to say about me. Growing up I used to hear, If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all. I'm more of an emotional type person than the type that holds things bottled up inside of them. I never really developed some thck skin where I caould let things roll off of my back.


oct. 5, 2009, 6:54pm

I didn't mean to "pick" on you, although I may have taken a little bit of a "poking fun" kind of tone.

It's actually an interesting question, when taken abstractly. If you had the power to "protect" society from damaging influence (e.g. by being dictator), what criteria would you use? Would you try to come up with some kind of "objective" measure to determine whether something was "worthwhile" .... independent of your own taste? Or would you say, "You know what... I have GOOD taste, and it will help people if I use it to guide society!" Certainly, over history, we've seen numerous instances of both kinds of philosophy from rulers.....

Personally, I'd love to be able to "rationalize" my taste in some kind of "objective" way. The rap of Busta Rhymes requires more vocal skill and practice to perform than the rap of Snoop Dog, and therefore is objectively more valuable. Or something. But the fact of the matter is, I'd be the typical "motivated" investigator.... looking for support for whatever things I happened to like. "Oh, yes.... techno has a lot of structural similarities to baroque music, and therefore is valuable, while house music is really just repetitive watered-down disco...."

I'm not sure people would buy it. ;-)

oct. 5, 2009, 8:44pm

I would be inclined to ban anyone who thought of banning any written, musical or artistic expression. Religion, on the other hand...

Editat: oct. 6, 2009, 6:47am

Oh I'm soooo with K.J.! (Though if banning religion also means nobody ever again has to read the execrable pseudo-religious claptrap that is The Shack or anything by Paulo Coelho, I could get behind that.)

ETA - Oh, and any book that claims cats are cooler than dogs (just to retaliate, #1 ;-))

Editat: oct. 6, 2009, 7:36am

Hey as far as Rap and Hip-Hop goes I don't differentiate the styles between Snoop Dog and LL Cool J or anyone else for that matter. I just don't think any of it classifies as "Real Music". It's just a bunch of Noise Pollution as far as I'm concerned because whenever you stopped at a Stop light there's always someone in the next car over who has the window down and playing that F _ _ _ _ _ _ S_ _ _ real loud like everyone wants to hear it too. Would anyone care to buy some vowels? If you don't want to hear it all you can do is roll up your windows.

They don't have any consideration for anybody else that's what really pisses me off. And from what I hear every other word is a cuss word. It's like F _ _ _ Y_ _ is mainly what you hear. It's real vulgar, rude and crude and a lot of them have misogynist messages in the so called lyrics too.


oct. 6, 2009, 5:31pm

beatles, if you mostly listen to the radio in your car, slip a Tibetan chant CD into the player. When you are stuck next to a thud-thud open your windows, start the CD, and turn it up loud.


oct. 6, 2009, 6:31pm


Wow. So the reason you don't think it's a valid genre of music is because you don't like the way the people who LISTEN to it mis-behave?

Does that really seem like a.... well, a valid way of adjudicating musical value?

oct. 6, 2009, 8:26pm


If the point of music is to transform the listener, then it's the only valid way of adjudicating musical value :)

oct. 6, 2009, 9:51pm

#23: Well..... wrong. If the point of music is to transform the listener, you coud adjudicate it based on how the MUSIC affects you.... not on your opinion of other listeners.

oct. 6, 2009, 9:53pm

Otherwise, it's like saying that I disagree with Ayn Rand's objectivism because people who like Objectivism are pricks.

As it happens, people who like Objectivism ARE pricks... but that's not why I disagree with Objectivism.

oct. 7, 2009, 7:14am

No, that's not the only reason I don't like it however these people should be more considerate of others and stop thinking only of themselves because not everyone likes that Bloody Freakin' Crap. I know there are laws on the books about noise decibel levels. I would love to be able to report these people and turn them into the Police (no, not the Rock Group, The Police) :)


oct. 7, 2009, 10:11am

#26: "No, that's not the only reason I don't like it however these people...."

It's the only reason you've given. I put the question to you in #14, asking why you don't consider rap music. And in literally every post you've made since then you've focused only and entirely on the rudeness of the people who play it. You have never once mentioned anything about the music itself: the amount of complexity it has, the amount of talent it takes to produce or perform it, and so on. With all of the potentially valid reasons to say rap isn't music, you blew on past them and went straight to "those people who listen to it are inconsiderate!!!"

You should be aware -- for your own sake, really -- that if your entire argument against rap begins with "Because those people.....(generalization)", you might come across as a teensy weensy bit prejudiced.

Editat: oct. 7, 2009, 10:45am

Complexity of Rap????? You've got to be kidding me. I never thought of using the word complexity in the same sentence with Rap before. What is so complex about saying cuss words? Anyone can stand up and just start saying cuss words over and over and over again.The music which is a term I use very loosely here is vulgar, rude, obnoxious and crude. If you want complexity imagine trying to compose something like Beethoven's 5th Symphony or any Symphony for that matter, or imagine trying to write something for an Opera or a Broadway Show you hope will be a huge hit. Those I would say are complex but certainly NOT Rap. Come off it, Rap as being complex? What a joke that is. Being a Rocket Scientist for NASA or Neuro Surgeon is complex NOT Rap.


Editat: oct. 7, 2009, 3:27pm

beatles says, "I never thought of using the word complexity in the same sentence with Rap before...." which shows that he's never listened to the genre. Not all rap, and it varies in complexity just like ANY genre has instances of varying complexity within it.

However, that wasn't my actual point. You could have used the lack of complexity in rap as a justification for not liking it.

It's striking to me that you didn't make that argument. All you said, for several posts, was that you don't like the people who listen to it. That's the problem that I have.

I'll be totally honest, your vehemence about rap, the fact that you have such strong feelings about it despite the fact that there are a large number of popular styles of music that are equally inane, and the fact that you completely justify your feelings by referring to disliking the people who listen to it (rather than on the merits or lack of merits of the music itself)...... it seems a little.... well, never mind. I don't want to make accusations.


Incidentally, most rap is not complex -- but most popular-culture music is not complex. By comparing current pop culture music to classics that have survived hundreds of years, you are de facto not making a fair comparison. And if you compare current rap to some of the awful "popular music" back in the time that Beethoven was composing.... they are both equally "non-complex", and terrible. (Which doesn't make them not-music; it just makes them not-good.)

Editat: oct. 7, 2009, 3:45pm

I've said before I never listened to Rap or Hip-Hop before not by choice anyway. Sure I admit I have strong feelings about what I think of Rap and Hip-Hop. I don't deny that I can't stand either one. If the CIA needs new forms of torture to get info. out of enemy soldiers other than water boarding I suggest they lock them up in a room and make them listen to Rap or Hip-Hop 24/7 that might break a lot of people real fast. Hey Rap and Hip-Hop might good for something after all in fact that would probably be the only it's good for, getting info. out of enemy soldiers.


oct. 7, 2009, 9:25pm

>21 Mr.Durick:

Bagpipes work well, too.

oct. 7, 2009, 9:40pm

31 Actually I have an opera baritone in my CD player now. I suspect, though, that neither bagpipes or opera are as nearly universally stressful as Tibetan chant.


oct. 7, 2009, 11:09pm

#30: To people who never listen to classical music, all orchestral music sounds the same. To people who never listen to classical music, it is all repetitive and boring.

If some said to you that classical music -- as a whole -- lacks complexity and, in fact, isn't even real music.... you'd think that person was speaking out of ignorance, wouldn't you?

Editat: oct. 8, 2009, 12:57pm

32> I was going to stay out of the music discussion, but then I was drawn in by your statements regarding comparison of classical music and Rap/Hip Hop.

I like just about every form of music, to some degree, except for Far Eastern music. I tried to listen to Rap and Hip Hop, and found it lacking in so many ways. There is, of course, the poetic nature of it, yet I find that most of the messages that I have experienced were not complex, and the musical scores could not reasonably be placed alongside something by Bruch, or Mozart. Perhaps what some were suggesting is that the negativity of much of this style of music daunts many, as well. I know I do not enjoy misogynistic expressions, unnecessary profanity and arrogance. Yes, I know, most of it is supposed to be theatrical, but it is hardly easy for many to find some affinity with it.

Pavarotti didn't have to use the f-word to get our attention. He merely had to excel with his instrument, something we do not see with Rap, or Hip Hop. From my standpoint, attempting to convince me that Rap has any complexity to it, is rather like telling me that Warhol was a great artist.

But, then again, I love the bagpipes, and until you have heard thirty or forty pipers piping 'Amazing Grace,' your blood has not pulsed through your veins with vigor.

29> I would be curious to know more about the 'popular music' of Beethoven's time that have survived, and were 'not complex.' Examples?

oct. 8, 2009, 4:11pm

>34 K.J.:

I love bagpipes, too, which is why I find them to be the least painful (for me) method of suggesting that others turn their music down. ;)

oct. 8, 2009, 6:25pm

Wouldn't it be cool if you got stopped in eight lanes of traffic at a stop light, the air conditioner was not up to the summer heat, and a thud-thud came up beside you, and you turned up the bagpipes, and they turned off the thud-thud and started with the hydraulics jumping their car up and down to the rhythm of whatever march the pipes were piping? And the light changed and everyone was happy?


oct. 9, 2009, 4:07pm

>35 Unreachableshelf: that and bag pipe music carries! :) My neighbors can always tell when we are having a house cleaning day at my home... I crank up the Rouges or some such and we get busy...

I don't like most of the rap I have heard. I used to like Run D.M.C (are they still around? I'll google that next), and some of Will Smith's stuff. The majority of it feels hateful and derogatory to me. Thus I'm not a fan. I do however consider it a form of music.

>29 gregstevenstx: I'm not sure if I agree with your assessment of popular culture music being complex. I think some of the more popular music has a great deal of forced complexity. The musicians want the music to be so complex, it comes out sounding busy, what many might mistake for noise (I'm not sure what my friend listens to, but they also turn my stomach... i think one group is called White Snake or something similar).

That said, my response to the original post is I think I would ban anything in which I felt people had been hurt or injured during the making of... Child Porn, research documents outlining results of experiments on living creatures, and the like... I probably wouldn't make a good dictator though... :)

P.S. I would make WizardRock required listening... ;p

oct. 9, 2009, 8:12pm

36> Yes, that would definitely be cool.

oct. 9, 2009, 9:51pm

>37 droupou: - Hurt against their will, though, yes?

oct. 12, 2009, 10:01am

>39 Irieisa: depends on the level of hurt. There are some things that I just can't imagine someone willfully putting themselves through... if we are talking stunt men type stuff (WWE/WWF/Whatever they are calling themselves this week) yea, whatever... let them have their fun. If the person can't come to me and say "Yea, I'm good with it." then I would probably rule against publication... And they would have to be of a reasonable mental capability... if I talk to them and they seem like a kid then no way (and that includes some older folks I know)...

hehe ... I'm getting giddy just talking about the power... may be this is a bad thing. ;p

oct. 30, 2009, 1:03pm

All religious text. And any religious fiction that is regarded as being possible, i.e. The Left Behind series.

oct. 30, 2009, 1:30pm

Does this include the Anne Rice Life Of Jesus series too?


Editat: oct. 30, 2009, 1:36pm

And how!


Although, I would be saddened that this may include The Last Temptation of Christ, which is a rather good novel.

oct. 30, 2009, 3:44pm

No more Milton's Paradise Lost?

oct. 30, 2009, 4:51pm

Sadly, no.

That's what personal archives are for. After all, look at Kim Jong-il's personal library of films and such.

Besides, aren't the outcome of a dictator's bans supposed to not make sense?

There goes the Divine Comedy into the fire (no pun intended). Believe me, my people, this dictator weeps for all of his followers.


des. 29, 2009, 2:07pm

I don't have any specific examples, but I would ban any book I think should be read, since it's the best way to ensure it is sought out and consumed passionately.

gen. 4, 2010, 9:49pm

Except that there was an article recently about teens who were given Banned Books to read, and in most cases, declared them incredibly boring.

Editat: gen. 4, 2010, 10:05pm

They're teenagers.

Personally, with few exceptions, I didn't read any of the school-assigned classics when I was that age. When I was 20 I couldn't get enough of "higher literature". Now I'm all over the place. Maturity can do wonderful things for opening up the mind and helping it grasp nuanced literature.

eta: I don't mean teen audiences can't grasp nuance, but I do remember the desire for more splash and instant gratification in various art forms when I was that age.

gen. 5, 2010, 5:30am

#49 Also, many things that were banned 20-30 years ago seem incredibly tame by comparison with what is in the daily papers nowadays. You tell the average teen a book was banned and they will almost certainly find it an anti-climax, whereas they might have quite enjoyed it if their expectations hadn't been raised.