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Some thoughts inspired by Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week starts in a few days, but there’s always somebody somewhere who wants to get a head start. This year’s go-getter is Wesley Scroggins of Springfield, Missouri. With some high quality misrepresentation, faulty logic and poor writing skills, and in the name of Jesus Christ, citizen taxpayers and concerned parents everywhere, Mr. Scroggins advocates the pulling of several books from the shelves of his school district’s libraries. As a concerned parent and a citizen taxpayer, I have to confess that it annoys me when idiots I’ve never heard of speak on my behalf. That’s what elections are for. Thank you very much.

In any case, Jesus and I have been talking about this situation. Jesus is who I talk to when I get angry (or when I want a pony or a puppy). Personally, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that every school library should carry every single book ever printed. Not everything is appropriate for everybody. And there is a thing called a budget. To my mind, an important role of the school librarian is to work within his or her limits – budget, curriculum, literary and literacy benefits and abilities, and yes, community values – to select titles that will serve the goal of building educated and engaged citizens for our towns, states, nation and world. It’s a big job.

But when you start yanking Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five… that’s a no-brainer. As in, you have to have no brains to suggest that these books do not belong in the educational experience of America’s young people. So – with apologies to those who believe that reasonable dialogue is the universal path to defusing discord and defining constructive solutions – here is my note to Wesley Scroggins: Shut the *&#$ up you ignorant, fear-mongering, anti-American ass hat.

As a point of interest, Jesus disagrees with my stance that all books are not for everybody. He’s all “screw the budget” and “love one another” and “I had a teen mother, and it worked out fine” and “people are basically good and I should know because I made you.” To which I say, Jesus, hold your hands up to the sky, dude. That’s sunlight beaming through your palm. How do you think those peepholes got there? Perhaps limiting access to “Making Crucifixes for Dummies” might not have been a totally bad idea. And he says, “Paul (I love it when Jesus calls me by my name), I got crucified by a mob. Mobs come from fear. And fear happens when you don’t trust people to think for themselves… For the love of God, give your kids the freaking books.”


For a more intelligent response to Mr. Scroggin’s thoughts, see below:

Why we should read “Soft Pornography” by Isabel Kaplan:

"Another Ugly Case of Attempted Censorship" by Tahleen

"This Guy Thinks Speak is Pornography" by Laurie Halse Anderson

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
marjwatkins
Sep. 21st, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Talks wirth Jesus
I love it that you and J.C. are on a first name basis!
Thanks for your good wishes on my book, too.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )