2023年11月23日 星期四

Efforts to Ban Books Are Rapidly Increasing at Public Libraries 美國公立圖書館下架書籍變本加厲

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2023/11/24 第460期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Efforts to Ban Books Are Rapidly Increasing at Public Libraries 美國公立圖書館下架書籍變本加厲
When Trump Says 'People,' He Means 'His People' 川普口中的「人民」為川粉限定
Efforts to Ban Books Are Rapidly Increasing at Public Libraries 美國公立圖書館下架書籍變本加厲
文/Elizabeth A. Harris, Alexand


More than two years into a sharp rise in book challenges across the United States, restrictions are increasingly targeting public libraries, where they could affect not only the children's section but also the books available to everyone in a community.


The shift comes amid a dramatic increase in efforts to remove books from libraries, according to a pair of new reports released this week from the American Library Association and PEN America, a free speech organization.


The ALA found that nearly half the book challenges it tracked between January and August of this year took place in public libraries, up from 16% during the same period the year before. The association reported nearly 700 attempts to censor library materials, which targeted more than 1,900 individual titles — more than during the same period in 2022, a year that saw the most titles challenged since the organization began tracking the data.


Most of the challenged books were by or about people of color or LGBTQ people.


The movement to restrict access to books is likely broader than the numbers indicate. PEN's numbers are compiled from public reports, school district data and local organizations that track book bans, but many removals are likely going unreported.


The PEN report, which counted book removals in school and classroom libraries during the 2022-23 school year, found 3,362 cases of books being removed, a 33% increase over the previous school year. More than 1,550 individual titles were targeted. Many of the same books are challenged around the country, including classics by Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, and contemporary young adult fiction by popular authors like John Green.


The most dramatic spike in book bans took place in Florida, which removed more than 1,400 books and surpassed Texas as the state with the highest number of removals, according to PEN. Florida emerged as a hot spot for book challenges after the state passed several laws aimed in part at restricting educational and reading material on certain subjects.


While restrictions on books are rising, efforts to combat them are as well. Lawsuits challenging new state laws have been filed in states including Arkansas and Florida, and a judge in Texas recently issued a preliminary injunction against a law that would require bookstores to evaluate and rate every title they sell to schools and every book they've sold to schools in the past.


When Trump Says 'People,' He Means 'His People' 川普口中的「人民」為川粉限定
文/Charles M. Blow


Fifty years ago, reviewing Toni Morrison's novel "Sula" in The New York Times, a critic wrote that Morrison was "far too talented to remain only a marvelous recorder of the Black side of provincial American life" — that to "maintain the large and serious audience she deserves" and transcend the "limiting classification 'Black woman writer,'" she had to "address a riskier contemporary reality."


Morrison, who would go on to win Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, bristled at reviews like that, which seemed to suggest that she needed to write about white people. She chafed at the notion that writing primarily about Black people was a limitation rather than a liberation. In a 1981 New Republic interview, Morrison put a point on it: "From my perspective, there are only Black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean."


This idea, that the parameters of the word "people" can be defined by a speaker or writer, came rushing back to me recently as I was reviewing the increasingly erratic posts and comments of Donald Trump.


Intellectually and creatively, Trump is the antithesis of Morrison, but if I come to understand that when Trump says "people," it is confined to his people, then his inane utterances make more sense to me. In fact, the whole of the MAGA universe begins to make more sense to me.


There's a reason Trump never attempted to govern as a unifier and isn't running for reelection as one. Instead, he's deepening his attachment with loyalists. He wants to reshape America into a nation where his will rules, the law is his tool to punish others, and he is exempt from punishment — where his throngs are rewarded for their adoration.


It isn't as simple as saying that Trump wants to drag the country backward. He wants to bend his brand of straight white male nationalism into a kind of totalitarianism.


A Trump autocracy would redound to their credit, and they would be rewarded for it.


He and his people, the true people, are the new civil rights victims, in need of a defensive mobilization to prevent continued injury. Trump defense becomes self-defense.


He spoke to and for "the people." He tailored a particular form of populism, one aimed at xenophobes and subversives.


They don't worry about Trump torching the country if he's reelected, because they believe that they will frolic in the ashes. They believe that whatever benefits Trump will eventually benefit them. Trump has deceived his people into believing in trickle-down tyranny.



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