The Nazis burnt books by Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque among many other well-known intellectuals, scientists and cultural figures, many of whom were Jewish1

The 1929 Nobel Prize-winning German author Thomas Mann, supported the Weimar Republic and his critique of fascism raised Nazi ire. Erich Maria Remarque was vilified by Nazi ideologues for his unflinching description of the First World War in All Quiet on the Western Front. The Nazis characterised it as “a literary betrayal of the soldiers of the World War”1.

The work of Jaroslav Hašek was also consigned to the flames. He is best known for his novel The Fate of the Good Soldier Švejk during the World War, an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in the First World War which satirised the ineptitude of authority figures. The novel has been translated into about 60 languages, making it the most translated novel in Czech literature2.

Jack London was another whose works were burnt. He was part of a radical literary group in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of animal rights, workers’ rights and socialism. London wrote several works dealing with these topics, but his most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang3.

Helen Keller was another author whose works were burnt. Her belief in social justice encouraged her to champion the disabled, pacifism, workers’ rights, and women’s voting rights. Others were Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Georg Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Victor Hugo, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Joseph Conrad, Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Lenin, Vladimir Nabokov, Leo Tolstoy and Leon Trotsky4.

Also among those works burned were the writings of beloved nineteenth-century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in his 1820–1821 play Almansor the famous admonition, “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen”: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people”5. So it proved to be; in the ovens of the Nazi’s death camps.

Valentina Gomez, a Republican running for Missouri secretary of state, posted a video to social media in which she used a large blowtorch to burn some books, falsely claiming that books with LGBTQ+ themes are indoctrinating and sexualising children. If elected, she promised to preside over widespread efforts to remove books from public libraries6.

Why do totalitarian regimes often target culture? Because the regimes want to control the flow of ideas and the narrative, particularly of history. Art can illustrate the struggles and humanity of individuals and may combat stereotypical narratives, challenging the status quo simply by its existence. If we end up empathising with others, it dilutes ‘culture war’ narratives dehumanising already marginalised people branded as enemies in culture wars.

This sort of attitude is now afoot in the US and Australia. In the US, a nationwide anti-art narrative has manifested itself as extreme pressures of targeted culture war political narrative of sustained attacks on the LGBTQ community in Republican states. Books targeted include Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel memoir, Gender Queer, and Jonathan Evison’s semi-autobiographical novel Lawn Boy, both of which deal with growing up while coming to terms with being LGBTQ. Are some books probably too mature for teaching students in schools? Possibly. But while the book banners always claim they want to “protect children”, these books were in the adult section of a public library7. The ‘Protecting the children’ is simply a ruse to hide their main game, which is imposing their religious extremism on everyone else.

In addition to the books by Kobabe and Evison, other books banned in various parts of the US include the following:

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman, a graphic novel that tells the story of the Nazi invasion of Europe and the Holocaust. The second volume of this went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the first and only graphic novel to do so.
  • The Bluest Eye by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is a book about racism, incest and sexual abuse.
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London is the story of a pampered pet dog who must survive in the wild.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a clear-eyed glimpse into the thoughts of a young teenager hiding in an attic to avoid being rounded up by the Nazis during World War II. But this is not the reason for its banning; Frank describes her anatomy, and this has upset the religious nutters who are generally obsessed with sex.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a coming-of-age tale of a young girl during the arrest and trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. It deals with racism and sexuality.
  • Where’s Waldo (i.e. Where’s Wally) by Martin Handford; apparently because in one of the drawings of a beach scene there was a partially topless woman sunbathing.
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez includes graphic depictions of teen sex between a Mexican American girl and a black American boy in 1930s Texas. It also covers topics like segregation and rape.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is the story about a young boy who is punished by being sent to bed without supper. That night, his dreams take him to a dark land where he becomes king of the Wild Things.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds is a nonfiction book about race in the US.
  • This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work” by Tiffany Jewell tells teenagers how to stand up against racism.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a young adult’s reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant.
  • George by Alex Gino is a story of a young boy who knows she is a girl.
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin is based on a series of interviews with transgender teenagers8.

Don’t get carried away saying ‘only in America’, because there have been pushes to have some of these books, and others, banned in Australia. Australian Catholic RWNJ Bernard Gaynor has called for the book Gender Queer (by Maia Kobabe) to be banned9, 10. Welcome to Sex (by Kang & Stynes)11 was campaigned against by an organisation which is simply a front for the Catholic Church, and the campaign was based on abuse of the staff at Woolworths12, such that Woolworths removed it from their shelves and allowed it to be purchased only online11.

These calls to ban books they deem unsuitable will continue from the religious. They want to control what people see and read, as religion is largely about controlling people, in part by allowing them to read only what they deem acceptable. In this, they are similar to totalitarian regimes, and that is why they have jumped into bed with the antidemocratic forces in the US (i.e. Trump’s Republican Party), and why they have largely taken over the Liberal Party in Australia, and why these culture wars will continue.




  • Mark Dougall says:

    If I was the all powerful creator, ruler and controller of the universe I would immediately ban all those fanatical texts written by and believed literally by a whole bunch of nutso fanatics, about the creation, rule and control of the universe and why I should be worshipped, and how to worship me and fear me, and why anyone who doesn’t believe in me will suffer eternal damnation. I would ban them out sheer embarrassment. In fact I would make them all disappear not just from actual existence but from all memory. It just goes to show of course that I don’t exist because all that crap still does.

    • admin says:

      I don’t know that you could actually be successful at that. I think it is better to leave them and make sure that people realise how ridiculous they all are, and how they were designed solely for psychopaths to exert power over the gullible, and to make it clear how exceptionally gullible some of those muppets are.

    • Yvonne Tarlinton says:

      Mark, if you were an all-powerful creator, ruler and controller of the universe, and also benevolent, I might suggest that killing people who were in awe of you, and who therefore spouted extreme opinions towards unfortunate others, might not quite fit your self-described persona.

      • JON says:

        Yvonne, I’m sure Mark was referring to removing certain texts (and probably by extension- beliefs and treachings) – some of which have been, and continue to be, immensely harmful to humanity.

        • Yvonne Tarlinton says:

          In that case, JON, I suggest reading (or re-reading) Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”. Burning a book may be a necessary condition to destroy it for ever, but the two most significant downsides are that it is not a sufficient condition (because some people can memorise entire texts), and that it makes the burner look like a barbarian.

          • admin says:

            Ridicule is a much more effective tool to destroy such idiotic books. You never hear of Velikovsky any more; nor Nostradamus; QAnon seems to be fading away despite many of the magats thinking it is real. One thing I have noticed recently is that in response to christians banging on about something from the bible, people have replied with something else from the bible which states the opposite. There are loads of searchable instances of the bible or parts thereof being put online by christian organisations, such that the contradictions, drivel and appalling attitudes can be easily found. Hoist by their own petard maybe.

          • Yvonne T says:

            “Ridicule is a much more effective tool to destroy such idiotic books.”

            Wih respect, no it isn’t. Ridicule only makes the proponents of idiocy double down, redoubling their efforts. Ridicule in fact is counter-productive, because it reinforces the idiots’ self-image as a “victim”. Witness Donald Trump’s current campaign for the presidency in November 2024. Everything anyone says against him is regurgitated as an attack on him, and by inference an attack on his many supporters. Which makes all 70 million of them, many armed to the teeth, angry, resentful, and even more determined to defeat the people they perceive as “elites”, “deep state”, “woke”, “liberals”, whatever.

            There’s no problem ridiculing their idiocy here on Blot Report, because the tiny cohort who read Blot Report are almost 100% deferential admirers of Admin, and anyone who even remotely dissents from Admin’s diktat gets their contributions deleted. But in the broader universe, ridicule of idiots costs votes for sensible candidates, and the optimal strategy is to encourage liberal voters to get off their bums and vote for rationality.

            In countries where voting is optional, this could easily make the difference between defeating idiots and succumbing to years of misrule by the same idiots. I would remind you that the UK’s Brexit referendum of 2016, widely reported as a 52%-48% Brexiter victory and “The Will Of The People”, was in fact approved by about 35% of those who were entitled to vote (because something like 34% either registered to vote but didn’t bother, or worse, didn’t even bother to register despite their entitlement).

            Get the apathetic off their arses – that’s a much more effective way to defeat idiocy than directly addressing the idiocy.

          • admin says:

            I disagree. I think ridicule is the way to go. It is happening with regard to the QAnon idiocy in the US. Normal people are coming up with absolutely ludicrous ‘conspiracies’ (e.g. ‘birds aren’t real’), and the suckers who believed much of this equine ordure are slowly realising they have been had. While some of the people on here have agreed, at least in part, with what I and others have written here, many have not. I fact one of the subjects of a rant here complained about my portrayal of them. That complaint is still up here somewhere. The only ‘correspondent’ many of whose diatribes I have deleted is one Arthur Baker (a pseudonym), who was seemingly one of those people who simply wanted to bully me (experts have tried so it was doomed to failure). While some of his replies were sensible, when he started to complain, ad nauseam, that my throw -away line that the LNP had been in government for almost a decade, it got silly. He complained about this for months, and when I mentioned that several real journalists had used the same throw-way line, and asked why he didn’t complain to them, he replied that he wouldn’t do so, because they would ignore him. This tells you much about his motivation for going on about this for those months. I suspect he didn’t tell you about the slowly increasingly strident e-mails he sent to me. I eventually had to block him from e-mailing me.

          • JON says:

            I took Mark’s comment as ironic satire Yvonne. Just to clarify my position wrt book burning/banning. While we have “free” speech and can openly discuss and criticise their content, and have reasonable laws of defamation etc, I don’t support book burning/removal in general. That freedom doesn’t exist in some countries/cultures as you know. An individual burning a book as a statement of protest against who knows what is FAR better than some alternatives. When it’s “state” sponsored or involves mass hysteria (usually religion-based) then you can be sure democracy is under attack.

          • JON says:

            I’d also say that we can learn a HUGE amount from old texts, including mindsets/cultures/events which may lead to more erosion of human rights and repition of global tragedies. China has reportedly erased the Tiananmen Square massacre from official history – they’re not the first to attempt to remove abhorrent acts from national consciousness mind you (most simply pretend they didn’t exist, eg THIS country’s school history syllabuses for more than a century) – but fortunately the “world” has already recorded the real story.

          • JON says:

            Imo, ridicule/satire is a VERY important tool in combating the lies, inventions and tosh sprouted publicly by mostly (but obviously not only) conservative, self-interested aholes – and their supporters on social media in particular. In fact it’s possibly the most effective tool on platforms like “X” because logical argument and pointing out facts/hypocrisies/hidden agendas etc is mostly ignored. If nothing else, ridicule helps powerless people reduce their stress levels temporarily.

            But I agree with Yvonne that educating/galvanising lazy and complacent “voters” is a much better and more effective way of countering dangerous extremists – like Trump. HOWEVER very few countries have the open balanced media, legal and voting systems that we do. The UK is barely democratic – fptp voting, unelected “swill” in the Lords , a significantly more biased media ensures that only two parties can govern. In the USA the President has ridiculous power, the judiciary is not truly independent of politicians, nor are the law enforcers.

            I’ve railed about lazy, self -centred Australian voters many times. Most take no interest in what their governments do unless it affects them directly, many are rusted on conservatives or Labour supporters, and far too many haven’t got a clue about candidates or policies even as they go to the booth. That said we generally know when a govt has run its course in both state and federal spheres and until recently on balance we’ve had moderately competent and ethical reps/govts.

          • JON says:

            I imagine BA and other Blotters have just choked on their cornflakes after reading my comment about our “balanced” media. To clarify, I was talking about the whole democracy package. News Corpse is one of the festering sores of our democracy, but with the rise of alternative online sources and more savvy young voters, I think their influence is probably overrated.

          • admin says:

            I think you are right that the influence of the Murdochracy is declining. Despite it being a by-election in the second year of a government that has to cope with a cost-of-living increase, high interest rates, boat arrivals; all the sort of stuff that would have been manna for Murdoch and his hacks, Dunkley was retained by the Labor Party. This also despite money pouring into Dunkley via the ‘Advance’ cabal of oligarchs. It seems like the ‘brown people are out to kill you’ or ‘the government are taking your money’ tripe doesn’t work as well as it did a few years ago.

      • Mark Dougall says:

        Yvonne you don’t need to worry. Firstly I don’t exist. Although if I did I never suggested I was benevolent therefore I would have no problems crushing horribly those who I had a problem with, much like alternate versions of the all powerful are reputed to do, you know the ones who destroy cities, send unbelievers and heretics to hell or some other awful place, etc. As Jon said though what I meant, in fact what I wrote, is that if I had all this power, crossing all dimensions, I would make sure that no one even knew I existed and therefore there would be, and never was, such a thing as me. Which is reality.

  • JON says:

    I don’t think religion per se has much directly to do with this zealotry BA. I’d agree that most (possibly all, apart from their users/inciters, who are primarily extreme ideologists – see my link below) of those involved THINK of themselves as religious or doing “God’s” word, but imo this is FAR more closely linked to the culture wars raging in one country – The United States of America.

    Within those culture wars there is the usual array of societal detritus with a wide variety of anti-human views (this is where racists and other sociopaths take shelter and are welcomed – or at least not cast out – ironically by the conservative right). The old ‘there are good people on both sides’ dross. ALL of these fanatics want to control some aspect of people’s lives. Some want to inflict both mental and physical harm on particular groups. You’ll note there are (or appear to be) very few pastors/preachers/priests/clergy exhorting their flocks- good label that – to fight against racism, discrimination and bigoted vilification.

    Two great ironies/hypocrisies have reared their VERY ugly and dangerous heads in the fast diminishing TUSA. The first is the very obvious disconnect between Christian teachings and how these extremists act (and, as is sometimes publicly revealed, how they live their own lives). The second relates to their public embrace of “communism” (actually fascism) in Russia – something which could never have happened last century. I’m both very disturbed and highly amused that conservative spokespersons (“Neo-Republicans”) and their supporters call social programs (like “Obamacare”) which improve social function and reduce inequality “socialist” but have either embraced or failed to condemn Putin and his murderous facilitators.

    Actually, come to think there’s a third great irony. The same cabal of cretins have members who rage against modern Islam – which imo is overall very intolerant and narrow minded – while carrying out things Islamists themselves would do and have done.

    And now for the ultimate mockery of TUSA “religion”. Check this out for unwitting satire:

    As far as piss-takes/unintended self-satire and taking advantage of people with low EQ and mental acuity go, this has to be one of the very best. As the saying goes, you could only get way with it in TUSA.

    Which is a good segue into the hapless chump Carlson’s Putin interview, which personifies irony 2 above. I didn’t watch it but extracts on ABC radio show that Putin went to great lengths to publicly stress that “Biden would be and is best for Russia”. Now admittedly you ‘d need to be extremely naive, stupid, ignorant, biased and/or ideologically constipated not to see that means EXACTLY the opposite is true, but we are talking about America after all. In tight states you only need a few thousand votes to tip the scales in White House race and that piece of human excrement is obviously hoping some of the more nescient and gullible Americans will believe him. And sadly he’s right.

    • admin says:

      That church is the antithesis of what Jesus, if he existed, was all about. It is passing strange that they can get away with this shit. It just goes to show that these supposed christians have never read the bible; they simply drool in agreement as they believe what their pastor (synonym for con-man) tells them. For those pastors, it is all about power and money.

  • JON says:

    Btw BA, your blog clock appears to be running on UK time. Can’t speak for Mark or you but I was fast asleep at 5.30am on the 23 Feb. If you’re able to get that fixed can you also see what can be done about the “Chinese” (right to left) spelling search box please.

    • admin says:

      I have notice things have changed recently. It used to be on seppo time. As for the search box, that is news to me. I will investigate.

    • admin says:

      I just tried it from another IP address and there seems to be no problem typing left to right in the search box.

      • JON says:

        My search magnifier is on the extreme right. When I type, characters appear on the far left and letters get pushed across the page as I type. Eg – wrong ends up as gnorw. I did mention that once before but no-one responded. The same happens in both EDGE and CHROME. Weird

        • admin says:

          Weird alright! The IP address I used before, doesn’t use either of those browsers. All I can suggest is getting out of both browsers and starting again. I had some weird stuff happen in Facebook a while ago and it only fixed itself when I got out, left it for a while and started again.

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