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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Internet Links about Driving and Banned Books

There's hardly any shortage of economics issues to talk about at present, but right at the moment we find ourselves drawn to two important cultural concerns we want to call to your attention.

Is "driving" a cultural concern?  Well, it can be certainly be seen as a reflection of the culture of our time.  We saw an article in the October issue of Consumer Reports magazine, "A Crash Course on Car Safety".  We thought first to pass it along to Debbie Loeb of the Hodgepodge page here on the Farm, and she ran a feature about it on Tuesday.  But the more we thought about that important topic, which affects the vast majority of the U.S. population, we decided we should also share it with readers of Ways of the World.  Some of you are the same group who read Debbie's Hodgepodge, but there are also many others.  The article cautions us about drinking and driving, about the simple act of buckling up, how to try to stay away from "road-rage" drivers, and so on.  See it here:

We ourselves have already written to some of the cultural aspects of driving in a Ways of the World article from August 2008 on the book Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt.  We cite Vanderbilt's descriptions of driving as self-expression out on the highway.  Five years later, we have to say that all of that still applies: some people use their driving to "show off" the kind of persons they are.  It indeed makes for tricky traffic.  Check out our piece here:  It also includes some of the earliest statements about the dangers of texting-and-driving.  Then the Consumer Reports article mentions an app that can be downloaded which informs callers and incoming texters that the intended recipient is driving and cannot read their message this instant.  So there is progress, and hopefully articles such as this can help people be aware and take advantage.

Banned Books Week
Next week, September 22-28, is National Banned Books Week.  Maybe I am the last among us to learn about this occasion, which is sponsored by the American Library Association and endorsed by the Library of Congress.  The information came to me from the weekly newsletter of a local bookstore in Brooklyn, BookCourt.  The feature they highlight is "Banned Books That Shaped America", classics we all know about that, in some times and places, well-meaning school boards and others have tried to keep off library shelves and out of other modes of circulation.  The list begins with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, continues through Gone with the Wind and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,  among numerous others.   Here's the whole list:  The comment with each book tells about the bans that were imposed and sketches the reasoning behind them.

Next week, in some local communities around the country, there will be "read-outs" of banned books and other special events; these will take place at bookstores, theaters, cafes and libraries.  Browse the Banned Books website "Events" heading, where many of these are catalogued by state.

In society today, we try in many ways to protect our young people, and it's really hard to strike a workable medium.   Many such policies have unintended consequences, as well.  We can, for instance, guess that the attention brought to Catcher in the Rye through its various bouts of banning has meant that many more kids have actually read it after all.  And in this era, none of this touches the Kindle and iPad readers who swap with each other regardless.



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