When Fahrenheit 451 Comes True

This is really scary.  

The book "Into the River" by Ted Dawe has been (temporarily) banned in New Zealand because of the complaints lodged by the "Family First Coalition", for having--gasp!--mention of sex and drugs in its pages.  Obviously this is a good thing! If teenagers read about sex and drugs, they'll go out and do sex and drugs!

Wait, what?

For the last twenty years, I've been reading about people kidnapping other people, raping them, murdering them, plotting revenge, plotting assassination, plotting government overthrow.  I have yet to murder, rape, kidnap, assassinate, or overthrow anyone.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  

I mean, these kids can go on Facebook and see pictures of the wild party from Friday night where sex and drugs were apparent and available, assuming they weren't there in person.  They can play GTA 7 where they're encouraged to kill, maim, and destroy everything they encounter, both living and inanimate.  They can sign on with their friends and run missions where their kill rate could be over 200 by the end of Call of Duty.  But they can't read a book?

So what's the real harm here?  Well, aside from the fact that encouraging reading means encouraging new ways to think, feel, grow, and learn, encourages freedom and tolerance, and allows an environment to experience things without actually doing them?  Aside from that?  Oh.  Then nothing.  No harm no foul.  Teenagers already barely read.  What's it matter if we take away one more choice?

The part that most scares me is that New Zealanders can't buy this book, not even online, not even on the US version of Amazon.  Several of my fellow authors have tried, and the site must read their IP and know they shouldn't be allowed, so they're not.  No, it hasn't been banned yet, but if it is, this restriction remains permanent.  Do we live in 1984?  Is this Fahrenheit 451?  I mean, I thought those books had taught us something.  

Apparently, only those few of us who read them.

Copyright 2015 by Cassy Campbell.                                                                                                                                  All rights reserved.