I haven’t read Stephen King in decades. It’s not because I find his work boring or whatever, I just haven’t found a compelling reason to read his work. Then again, I haven’t read a lot of his stuff because I didn’t finish a lot of it. I did love Carrie though, and From a Buick 8
In the book sphere, a quote he said about book bans is coming up again. To no ones surprise, at all, many people didn’t even include his full quote, not that really matters because even when you include the full quote, it’s still a call for less anger and, by extension, less action.
I don’t know why the below quote is seen as inspiring or really groundbreaking. The only thing I could discern out of it was that we have to resist book bans and read. Because, well, reading is still resistance. I agree. Reading is resistance. I said the same thing before, here. I’m sure nobody is refuting this. Reading is still resistance, but, the below quote also tries to say that resistance has to be done a certain way and this is something I vehemently disagree with.
Before I go onto talk about how reading isn’t the only resistance, here’s King’s quote in full.
"Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about controlabout who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship’s bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don’t want just to make sure it’s kept from my kid; I want to make sure it’s kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it’s bad for me and my family, it’s bad for everyone’s family."
Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I’m never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don’t get mad, get even. Don’t spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don’t walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they’re trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that’s exactly what you need to know."
And now, here we go.
I believe there’s never a quiet protest. Even if you walk, you’re still protesting. Quiet protests aren’t going to make change happen without a fuss. There’s no way. If you want to change something, you’re going to rock the boat. There are multiple ways you can enact change though, and telling someone exactly how to protest, well, might be negating their planned protests.
We all know reading is resistance. There are kids that go to public libraries and other avenues, even piracy websites, to get the banned books, but the kids and people have to know the book is out there before people can go read it at their local library or buy the books elsewhere. This also won’t stop at just school libraries, though. It’s going to happen to publishers, including indie publishers. Public libraries will continue to be defunded and shut down. Because it’s not just schools and school libraries that are fighting this battle. The protests and shouting and on the ground resistance isn’t about just resisting the school bans. People know what’s going to happen next and their stopping it before it hits bookstores, publishers, indie bookstores, indie publishers, public libraries, and other non-school avenues.
In fact, Mr. King, you said it yourself.
" Censorship’s bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don’t want just to make sure it’s kept from my kid; I want to make sure it’s kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids."
This isn’t just about schools. This is about holding a line, and standing ground, to prevent the existing censorship from occurring elsewhere. It’s also about making sure that people know that these books are being banned, because if you just quietly read a book that’s being banned without telling anybody, then the people that want to silence the book have effectively won. There are other avenues where we can get books, yes, but everything needs knowledge. If you don’t know what’s being banned, how can you read what’s being banned? How can you quietly walk to your nearest library if you don’t know what’s being banned? Your friend might have read a banned book, but if your friend is silent about that, then the book is still censored.
Reading is still resistance, but we need more than one type of resistance. This is why I openly talk about banned books I love and enjoy. The louder we are, the more we beat back censorship and the desire to snuff out books from the public consciousness. So, instead of just walking to our nearest library, Let’s print out Braille and large print lists of all the banned books and collectively shout out the titles and authors as we march to whatever digital or physical library we can, perhaps letting others borrow our library or debit cards, and read the banned books. After we read the banned books, how about we let the rest of the world know what’s happening while continuing to resist through reading.
Also, how about we openly buy banned books for the people that can’t get to their local library? We can read loudly. Reading loudly is the way to ensure that all who can receive help from these books know they are out there and that they exist. Read loudly, because reading is still resistance!