Friday, November 11, 2005

People of the Book . . . Bans

Sigh.

In the past few years, first it was One people, Two worlds, then it was The Making of a Gadol [sic] (now available in an improved and sanitized edition), then came the Slifkin affair. Fortunately there is some good clear headed writing on this, like the new piece by R. H. and M.B.

A high point of R.H. and M.B.'s analysis is that book bans, like witch trials and McCarthyism takes loosers who never lived up to their parent's reputation or they were otherwise disenfranchised, or low on their local totem pole, and makes them the vanguards. They get power and fame where they had none before.

(By the way, it seems easy to figure out who these people are, but it seems like they don't want to be outed, so do them that favor.)

Now the latest book ban comes from Israel (like the slifkin one), but likely won't impact us much because the book is only in Hebrew. It is published by I. Shilat (who did some good stuff on the Rambam). This is a book by Gedaliah Nadel (brief bio here). The stuff looks really fascinating, though I only got copies of about 40 or so pages.

One thing that Jewish history teaches us is that generally bans are issued on intersting people: Eibshutz, Spinoza, Maimonides, Luzzatto. . . and the banners are never vindicated by history.

2 comments:

becphish said...

"One thing that Jewish history teaches us is that generally bans are issued on intersting people."

so then, maybe to be banned is actually a good thing. if anything, it generates interest, and in today's world, generating interest would help to generate profit.
therefore, my goal isn't to become a famous writer, but rather, to become a banned writer because that might ensure my fame, or at least, my writerly-nessnessnessness.

Karl said...

I hearby ban you.

(Hope this helps ;)