Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ban This! And That? And Those? And These . . . ?

AS IF! Authors Support Intellectual Freedom

I recently received this interesting e-mail from Gregory K. aka GottaBook/.
What do you think?

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(Gregory K's e-mail below)

So, I was reading blogs today and came across that lovely book-banning story from the Antelope Valley.

I know you're involved with the ASIF gang... and I'm wondering if y'all (or anyone( have ever thought of the following strategy... and wonder if it would be effective or merely a huge waste of time.

Anyway, the policy expressed in the article (and the full policy would be needed) is so laughably all encompassing AND utterly up to interpretation at the same time. So why not use the power of the blogosphere to get everyone to come up with a list of books that "should" be challenged based on their policy. I bet we could come up with 1,000 books in their school libraries, including tons of classics.

For instance, based on this lovely passage:

"Materials must not encourage students to identify with violent or amoral characters. In some cases, students don't always finish the entire book so, for example, we might choose to avoid a story that seems sympathetic to negative behavior in the beginning even when the lesson is learned in the end," the policy said.

I can say that How the Grinch Stole Christmas is totally unacceptable, as is the Lorax (that Onceler is a bad man!). I can make a case for pulling Cat in the Hat, too. ACurious George is just curious, but the truth is that he's of a young enough age that he doesn't really have a moral sense -- thus without morals, thus the true meaning of amoral. Oh, and No, David cannot possibly pass muster.

And based on this:

Under the guidelines, books now cannot depict drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex, including "negative sexuality," implied or explicit nudity, cursing, violent crime or weapons, gambling, foul humor and "dark content."

Dear goodness me... it's hard to say how much would be left in MG or YA. The problem is who defines thigns like "foul humor" or "dark content"? They are subjective entirely, even with an attempt to codify.

Maybe my idea simply would end up getting everything banned or would fail to raise the right type of attention. And I suppose authors wouldn't want to recommend their own books for banning... but still. If there is support from people in the Antelope Valley who have kids in these schools, I think the power of the kidlitosphere could help create a mighty fine list with proper "cause."

Anyway, curious what you or others think....

4 Comments:

Blogger Brent Hartinger said...

Oh, man! Since when are "trustees" in the position to review books?! Isn't that, like, something for, you know, TEACHERS AND LIBRARIANS (with input from parents and students, of course).

Trustees? Sheesh.

This whole episode will come to bite them in the read-end, mark my words. The book banners will not be appeased, and the people who allowed this to happen will regret they went along with it.

11:44 AM  
Blogger EJCrow said...

Skimmed this but I am always interested in hearing about these contradicting efforts ... I volunteer my children's chapter book to be banned. Or is that allowed? Asante sana, EJCrow, author of The Eye Pocket.

2:10 PM  
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