Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Book Week in Oregon begins: "Since people seem to be marching for their causes these days, I have here a march for mine"

Some people gear up for Halloween; others for Christmas, or the Fourth of July, or Saint Patrick's Day.

Around here at p3 international media headquarters, our favorite holiday is Banned Book Week in Oregon, and it runs until next weekend.
Banned Books Week is an annual event started by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982. This week-long event, held during the last week of September, raises awareness of freedom of speech through celebrating challenged books and the value of free expression. Since its launch 30 years ago, more than 11,000 books have been challenged.

A book is “challenged” when a person or group objects to the materials and attempts to remove or restrict their accessibility. A book is “banned” when this removal is successful. Thanks to the work of libraries and the ACLU, most book challenges are now unsuccessful.
And we begin with the Official p3 Anthem for Banned Book Week, written and performed by one of our heroes, satirist Tom Lehrer:

If your browser won't display the embedded version, click here.

(There's also a 1967 live performance of “Smut” by Lehrer, recorded in Copenhagen. It's nice to be able to watch him perform, and his explanation of “purient” to a politely puzzled Danish audience is probably worth the price of admission by itself. But I prefer both the lead-in and the performance quality from the original 1965 “That Was The Year That Was” album.)

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