Welcome to Reason's summer banned books issue.
An obscure Supreme Court case provides a roadmap through the curricular culture war.
Read the Real Romeo and Juliet, Not the Kid-Friendly Version
Though book banners may try to convince otherwise, students don't need protection from the passion portrayed in Shakespeare's classic.
Hobbes' Leviathan and Thousands of Others Were Off-Limits to Catholics
Leviathan was a challenge to the governing independence of the Holy See.
Dr. Seuss' Books Gained Popularity After They Were Removed
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and other titles shot up Amazon's bestseller list after being self-censored by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Lady Chatterley's Lover Case Dealt a Blow to U.S. Book Censors
Up through the 1950s, federal agents kept confiscating books they deemed obscene. But in 1959, a judge ruled that D.H. Lawrence's book deserved First Amendment protection.
Why Ryan Reynolds Can Use Winnie-the-Pooh To Sell You a Phone Plan
As pop culture icons enter the public domain, a strange new era of copyright begins.
Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems Triggered Confiscations, Arrests
San Francisco port officials seized copies of Howl and Other Poems in 1957, accusing publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti of obscenity.
Fahrenheit 451 Was Once Sanitized for Public Schools
A publishing company ironically removed the original version of the Ray Bradbury novel depicting mass media censorship.
How Stalin Toyed With Mikhail Bulgakov
The author of The Master and Margarita faced a bewildering mixture of rewards and censorship.
The Failed Campaign To Kill To Kill a Mockingbird
Recent moves to censor the book have come from Virginia, Mississippi, and California.
Little Libraries, Free at Last?
Good news for fans of literacy and opponents of restrictive zoning codes
How Slaughterhouse-Five Became a Repeated Target of Book Burners
As recently as 2011, a school board in Missouri barred the book from the curriculum and ordered it confined to a special section of the school's library.
When Spiegelman's Maus Was Challenged, Sales Spiked
How school board members lashed out against dirty words
How Removing Toni Morrison's Beloved From Curriculum Helped Glenn Youngkin Win in Virginia
Virginia lawmakers passed a bill allowing parents to opt out of certain lessons, which was vetoed by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
How Wiseguy Challenged New York's 'Son of Sam' Laws
Turning terrible events into art is good, actually.
Sensitivity Readers Are the New Literary Gatekeepers
Overzealous gatekeeping on race and gender is killing books before they're published—or even written.
Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses Enraged the Muslim World
In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini called for the author and those involved in the book's publication to be put to death.
How J.K. Rowling Became Targeted by Both Progressive Millennials and Christian Conservatives
Perhaps Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has the mark of a great story—everyone can find cause both to love it and to hate it.
Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Is Charming, Not Racist
Pilkey's whole gag is that the censorial impulse is ridiculous and kids instinctively know it should be mocked.
Trans Author Jennings' I Am Jazz Is One of the Most Banned Books in the U.S.
The book may never achieve the cultural recognition of some other top censorship targets, but the fight over I Am Jazz symbolizes America's trans moral panic.
London Libel Lawsuits Punish Truth Tellers
The U.S. shouldn't import British defamation law, no matter how much Donald Trump would like to.
How the Controversy Around When Harry Became Sally Boosted Its Popularity
Amazon's decision to stop selling the book shows the pressure platform's are under to reject speech that doesn't conform to certain progressive orthodoxies.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book on Prison Uprisings Banned in New York Prisons
Heather Ann Thompson's Blood in the Water might lead to "disobedience," prison officials say.
How SEC Gag Orders Silence the Accused
"They don't want the defendant to tell this side of the story," says Clark Neily of the Cato Institute.
You Can't Stop Pirate Libraries
Where there's demand for books, the internet will supply them.
Comic: Roger Williams in Crazy Talk!
Williams believed the government had no authority to meddle in religious beliefs. Blasphemy!
Biden's Giveaways Largely Benefit Well-Off Americans
Perhaps not coincidentally, the makeup of the Democratic Party has recently been trending toward high-earning professionals.
U.S. Admits To Providing Intel on Russian Assets to Ukraine
The last thing the U.S. should be doing is poking a nuclear bear.
Taxpayers Pay the Price for DeSantis' War on Disney
Florida's governor has declared a regulatory war on one of the state's biggest employers. But it's the taxpayers who may ultimately pay the price.
Florida Democrat Challenges the Gun Ban for Marijuana Users
Nikki Fried hopes to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis, who agrees with her on guns and weed.
Biden Expands Dubious Subsidies for Manufacturers
The Export-Import Bank enjoys bipartisan support, even though there is little evidence that it's effective.
Gardening Is a Hedge Against Supply Chain Disruptions
Grow your own in uncertain times.
The Supreme Court justice is wrong when he says abortion rights aren't deeply rooted in American history.
Immortality in the Metaverse
The metaverse platform Somnium Space plans to let its users' personas live on.
A Judge Says Shaken-Baby Cases Rely on 'Junk Science'
The pediatric neurosurgeon who first popularized shaken-baby syndrome has doubts about how it is used in courtrooms today.
Title 42 Expulsions Made the Border Less Secure
The Trump administration invoked Title 42 in late March 2020. Biden repeatedly extended it. Now, a federal judge has blocked the administration from lifting the order.
The gun control policies under discussion are fundamentally ill-suited to prevent mass shootings.
The Quest for a Libertarian Island Paradise
Raymond B. Craib's new book recounts how Michael Oliver repeatedly tried to create a new country with a government funded entirely by voluntary contributions.
The Missing Cryptoqueen Details Rise and Fall of Ruja Ignatova's OneCoin Con
Author Jamie Bartlett blends gripping storytelling with rather dry regulatory context and legalese.
A New History of the Old Right
On the American right, populism has always been lurking in the shadows.
Review: Marta Kubišová Challenged Czechoslovak Communism
Her 1969 Songy a Balady (Songs and Ballads) was yanked from shelves, only to reappear after the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
Review: Distilling Liquor at Home Could Make You a Felon
Home distilling, unlike home brewing and winemaking, is still prohibited by federal law.
Review: The FDA's Awful Labeling Regulations Made the Baby Formula Shortage Worse
Elaborate labeling requirements blocked the importation of direly needed European baby formula.
Senators asked for an investigation since the "sweet, chocolaty taste may encourage consumers to eat well over a recommended quantity of melatonin."
Review: Rosewood Restrictions Riled U.S. Guitar Makers
In 2017, a bizarre amendment to an international treaty threw American guitar makers into a panic.
Review: The Fall of Cigarette Vending Machines
Formerly ubiquitous tobacco vending machine sales are now banned under a 2010 FDA measure.
Review: When Britain Banned Home Sales of The Exorcist
Even as it gained fans around the world, home sales of the film remained illegal in the U.K. until 1999.
OnlyFans Star Aella Talks Sex Work Economics
How sex worker Aella went from factory work to OnlyFans stardom and data science research on fetishes
Brickbats: August/September 2022
News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly from around the world.
Archives: August/September 2022
Excerpts from Reason's vaults