Warriors for Innocence: Not so Innocent?
Now Live Journal has apologized for the debacle.
Here's a good run-down (hat tip to Sister Coyote)
News about AS IF!
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.Publicity stunt? We here at AS IF! think so. But not necessarily a bad one.
"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.
"We did expect a negative reaction," admits one of the authors of the children's book And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson. "In the US, homosexuality and talking to children about sexuality have been highly politicised, so yes, we expected to take some heat for it."I had an interesting conversation recently with the editor of another often-banned gay-themed picture book. Everyone assumes that these books sell really well because of all the publicity. That's not necessarily true. Which says to me that there's still a lot of self-censoring going of gay-themed books. How else to explain libraries not purchasing these a highly-praised, obviously topical, and much discussed books?
In the event, the story of two male penguins who bring up a chick, which Richardson co-wrote with the playwright Peter Parnell, generated more heat than its authors perhaps anticipated. In 2006, it shot to the top of the American Library Association's (ALA) list of most frequently challenged books as people across the country objected to the idea of such a tale being aimed at children of its target age group of between four and eight, provoking protests in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa and Indiana.
But this was not a tale: it was, in fact, inspired by a newspaper article, which told how a zookeeper noticed two of his penguins, Roy and Silo, were trying to hatch a stone.
"The New York Times ran an article called The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name about homosexual behaviour in animals, which started with Roy and Silo's story," remembers Richardson. He started reading it out to Parnell, and "in reading it aloud, it started sounding like a children's story.
"It had the same elements as some of the books we'd grown up with," agrees Parnell, "where an unlikely character tries and tries and eventually succeeds."
They were aware, however, that the idea of two gay penguins striving to raise a child would prove more controversial than, say, the Little Red Hen's attempts to bake bread.
"Those lists should be lists of inclusion, nothing should be excluded. That's a good thing. I think we learned something from the whole process," he said.In less satisfying news, a former student of mine, Carrie Jones, has heard rumblings of censorship due to the word "gay" in the title of her fab new book, Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend.
"Parents should be responsible for what their children read, but other parents shouldn't tell other parents what their kids should read," Overmyer said.
Some booksellers are afraid of controversy. They have bottom lines. They need to make them. I knew that places like Wal-Mart wouldn't stock my book because of that word, the GAY word. I had hoped that independent bookstores would be a little more, um, independent. I had hoped that they would fight the good fight so that kids could get books that were different, that meant something, that had themes that made them think. I can understand that they are afraid that people might picket their bookstores, might cause a stir about a book that has the word 'gay' in it, and that could hurt their business, but what this comes down to really is pre-censorship.I feel Carrie's pain. I really, really do.
What does this mean? It means that books with gay themes or even the word "Gay" in the title aren't as available. You have to hunt for them. Their authors might not sell as many books. That makes the authors a little less lucrative to publishing houses. Maybe their next book won't get published. Maybe it will. But it's harder.
There is so much sex on TV and on billboards today—seemingly more than when “Forever” first came out—why do you think the book continues to be so controversial?
Because it's a book. Some adults, for whatever reason, have a desperate need to control everything in their children's lives. They can't control what's on television or on a billboard, but many think they can control what their children read. These individuals believe if their kids don't read about it, they won't know about it, and if they don't know about it, they'll never do it. They think they can have a book banned if they don't want their children to read it. They'll go into school waving a book, demanding that it be removed. There are a lot of would-be censors out there. Not only do they want to make the decision for their children but for all children. How much better it would it be if the parents could read the book, too, and then talk about it with their teens.
[Sones] said in writing her book at the outset she didn't think it would be controversial. Other books, she said, depict teens drinking alcohol, using drugs and having sex, while her book does not.Don't ask for whom the book banners accuse of being "soft porn." They toll for thee. Or something like that.
Sones said she wanted her book to address a girl's first bra, period, crush, kiss and love, as well as her second and third loves.
As many as four dozen students risked an unexcused absence to call attention to what they said was discrimination against lesbian students.Today we learn that the dean who did the privacy-violating has, in fact, been reassigned, though, interestingly, the district is being very cagey about whether or not it is due to his recent actions.
Some called for Keith Nelson, the dean of students, to be fired for showing the video to the parents of one of the girls in February. The parents of that girl, a junior, withdrew her from school. She’s now attending at a campus outside the district.
The other girl, senior Jenna Johnson, said she organized Monday’s event.
“I hope it sends a message across that people shouldn’t discriminate on sexual preference,” said Johnson, a 17-year-old who still attends the school. “People should love you for who you are.”
“The real story is this – do parents have the right to know what happens at school? And do parents have the right to know what type of activities their child is involved in at school? Of course they do,” he wrote in the e-mail.Actually, this isn't the real story.
"The school administration has said in no uncertain terms that she's not going to be given a journalism position," Proctor said.Oh, God, no, not that.