With one day left in September we figured we would go out with a bang and highlight a bit more banned material. Banning doesn’t apply just to books. The censorship axe can fall on movies, music and video games as well. In fact any form of creativity, expression or entertainment can be subject to scrutiny. What is appropriate and for whom? Who decides?

Call us crazy but we kinda thought that it was up to you to decide what you want to see. It’s this crazy concept called Freedom, maybe you read about it somewhere, like in our Constitution. The root word of the term Freedom is FREE; as in unrestricted and of one’s own design. If no-one is forcing you to listen to that wicked Bob Dylan (yes, his music was banned) or making you learn code to create a people eating alien attack video game then you are good. Yes, we can hear the arguments and some are valid but only when they concern the violation of the free will of another being. We take censorship seriously, and alas the final episode in our Banned Books (and other things) Month.


Here are a brief sampling of music, movies and video games that have been challenged and/or banned. Some may surprise you while others not so much. However, ask yourself why? There is inherent bias in all of us. You might say that you can understand why Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar was challenged but in the same breath be astounded that Cher was also banned. Cher?? We loved the Sonny and Cher variety show, yeah her costumes were a little skimpy but it was the ’70’s!

Nothing makes Marilyn Manson deserve to be censored more than Cher, other than our own opinions. Opinions that we certainly have a right to have, but not a right to impose on others. I personally prefer Cher’s makeup but objectively MM’s crew probably wore an equal amount. Then there is Duran Duran, remember those British hotties that blew up MTV in the 1980’s? Duran Duran was spicy bubble gum at best. It was true that many of their music videos were on the beach so it made sense that no one but the band was wearing anything…or does it? Why wasn’t Simon LeBon in a thong? Never mind, lets get back to the point – banned things, not Mr. LeBon’s rear.

How about Mr. Bond’s rear? Yes, Bond…James Bond in the iconic Goldfinger came under censorship scrutiny. Hard to believe that the slick, always well-dressed and immaculately mannered secret agent could offend anyone. The title is a little weird but Octopussy? Really? We let that go?

More shocking is that Alfred Hitchcock ran afoul of the censors with his famous movie The Birds. I was surprised at this until I remembered that some of the birds were in fact naked. This explains Tippi Herder’s horror – I wouldn’t want to be chased by naked birds either. It’s just wrong. Last but never least are the dreaded violence inspiring video games. Gasp!

I seem to remember that heavy metal rock used to be the big baddie but now it’s the gamers that are under the microscope. Let’s look at an innocent little game called Wolfenstein: The New Order. This is a button pusher for sure (pun intended). The game takes place in that prehistoric time of 1960, Nazi’s have won WW2 and our war hero B.J. Blazkowicz must lead a counter attack to save humanity. There is nothing, nothing at all funny about WW2 and we actually understand this one a LITTLE bit. The Holocaust is a sensitive subject but it is also a subject every single human on earth should know about. If it takes a video game to get someone to ask about it or to learn what happened, we say fine. What if some young people (or older) didn’t know anything about WW2 and playing this game made them interested so they Googled it and now they know? Knowledge is power!

So what does it come down to? Can you predict with perfect certainty the ultimate affect of any work on the public? Are you positive that it has no redeeming value? Are you really willing to deny everyone else the ability to see that movie, read that book, listen to that music or play that video game just on the basis that you think it’s bad? How about this, we won’t force you to listen to NWA (although you really should – just saying) if you promise not to ever, ever, ever make us listen to Anne Murray? We can compromise and watch Real Housewives then play Animal Crossing. Deal?

Bookmans fights censorship all year long, but we like to focus on this sensitive subject in September to get our fans and customers thinking about just how far the censorship sword reaches. Tell us your thoughts and better yet, come in for one last look at our Banned Books displays and get in on your final chance to snap your #BlindBookMugshot and get caught #ArrestedReading.