Friday, January 06, 2006

SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER Under Attack in Alabama

The award-winning THE SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER is under attack by a radio talk-show host in Alabama, who thinks it should be pulled from schools. Part of the issue is the use of the word "nigger."

This is one criticism that I just can't wrap my mind around. I think it goes back to the idea that the author agrees with and endorses absolutely everything that every character does in a book...which is, of course, utterly ridiculous. ROMEO AND JULIET, anyone? KING LEAR?

Sometimes characters in books say or do bad, evil things. For teachers, such actions can be perfect "teaching moments." But even if they aren't, authors simply must have the freedom to write about darker elements of life, otherwise what we're writing isn't literature, but greeting cards.

Fortunately, I'm sure this book and the issue of censorship will be debated thoughtfully and deliberately in Alabama, because, you know, that's what radio talk-shows are known for.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good lord!

ALABAMA is offended by a book about 60-year-old racial insensitivity?

When you consider what Alabama was like 60 years ago, the irony is just unbearable.

I love your comments on the case, Brent. If we aren't free to write about evil, how can we show kids that it's . . . um . . . EVIL?

Jordan
www.jordansonnenblick.com

5:52 AM  
Blogger Brent Hartinger said...

The Alabama irony is rich, isn't it?

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if u have not lived in this period u really don't know how the old timers feel here in Alabama. We should truly think about others feelings. True we do have freedom of speach what good is speach when we are speaking to hurt each other feelings. Think about if these were your fore parents in alabana how would you feel.
when we send our children to school we send them to learn not to deal with racist words. We should be teaching them how to care, how to consider others feelings not the words in this book. I think if the people really want to help our students think first before we act, write or whatever you do because words will come back and bite later and sorry just doesnt cover.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZOMG!!!! IM FROM ALABAMA!!!!

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SOMG IM FROM ALABAMA!!!!

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am secretly gay!

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're going to hell.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't you people look past the language and see the meaning of this book?


Patty accepted Ruth and Anton despite their race and the fact that he was a nazi and in return recieved love because of it.

I don't like the "N" word and will never use it, but I don't think a book should be banned because of it.

8:09 PM  
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8:19 PM  

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