• Welcome to BookAndReader!

    We LOVE books and hope you'll join us in sharing your favorites and experiences along with your love of reading with our community. Registering for our site is free and easy, just CLICK HERE!

    Already a member and forgot your password? Click here.

The Official Book Censorship Thread

beer good

Well-Known Member
Public and Private - Don't Read This - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

Monday: Begin Banned Books Week by reading "Bridge to Terebithia" by Katherine Paterson, which parents in several school districts have tried to remove from required reading lists. Weep copiously at realistic tale of friendship and loss among children.

Read account of attempts to have the book removed from school libraries in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Clergyman says the book refers to church services as "boring." Shocked and amazed.

Discover that "Terebithia" caused such a stink in Oskaloosa, Kan., that the school board has required teachers to list each profanity in any book they assign and how many times the profanity is used. Page through book. Find a "damn" and write it down. Feel like a fool. "I hate to say it, but sometimes grown-ups are really stupid," says oldest child.

Tuesday: Read reams of material about the banning of "In the Night Kitchen," fanciful account of dreams of little boy by Maurice Sendak. Boy falls out of clothes, is naked, has penis. Penis has been described as "desensitizing children to nudity" (Beloit, Wis.), "nudity for no purpose" (Norridge, Ill.) and "the foundation for future use of pornography" (Elk River, Minn.). In Missouri copies of book were distributed to kindergarten class after artist was commissioned to draw shorts on boy.

Discover that the profanity in "Terebithia" includes the repeated use of the word "Lord." Begin to agree with oldest child.

Wednesday: Contemplate bookshelves in office. "Moby Dick" encourages whale hunting, "Anna Karenina" adultery, Shakespeare teen suicide, usury and the occult. Faulkner, oy. Consider what would remain if all books containing sex, profanity, racial slurs, violence were removed from shelves. Narrow it down to "Cat in the Hat," dictionary and Bible.

Realize cat with hat encourages children to make a mess while mother is out. Discover in American Library Association Banned Books Week literature that the Bible was challenged as "obscene and pornographic" at library in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fear for future of human race.

Thursday: Read quote from Judy K. Souleret, mom supporting "Terebithia" in Mechanicsburg -- "If only books that no one found objectionable were left on library shelves, I fear they would soon be bare." Vow to send Judy flowers and the collected works of Toni Morrison. ("Song of Solomon" challenged in Columbus, Ohio. So much for Nobel Prize.) Read "Catcher in the Rye" for pleasure. Lose count of number of times book has been challenged or banned. "It uses the Lord's name in vain two hundred times," said one opponent. Wonder if she's read Bible.

Library Association sends information on case in Wyoming challenging Judy Blume book "Forever." Judy reigning Queen of banned books, maybe because writes books about teen-agers in which they talk and think like actual teen-agers as opposed to adult's idea of what teen-agers should be like. (How quickly we forget.) Parent complained "Forever" contains sex described graphically. Spells graphically "grafically."

Read that parent in Lambertville, N.J., objected to "The Amazing Bone" by William Steig, because animals use tobacco. Love Steig, love "Bone," hate tobacco. Heart sinks. Reports of censorship at highest mark in last 10 years. Find myself counting uses of Lord's name in vain in "Catcher." Read dictionary instead.

Friday: wonderful end to depressing week. Reread Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres," beautiful novel of family relationships, which won Pulitzer Prize. Advanced placement English class in Lynden, Wash., assigned to read it in tandem with "King Lear." Principal pulls it after parents complain, although their kid is not even in advanced placement class. "This was written to be stimulating," parents complained. Next thing you know teachers will be assigning books that are thought-provoking. Riveting. Even compelling. Then where will we be?

Consider entire K-12 curriculum of banned books, beginning with "Night Kitchen" and ending with Jane Smiley. Great stuff all. Foolproof pedagogical method: tell students they cannot, repeat, CANNOT, read these books. Too stimulating. Watch reading scores soar. Next stop, Faulkner. Finish "Thousand Acres." Decide oldest child is right. Reread "Bridge to Terebithia." Even better the second time.
 

abecedarian

Well-Known Member
Jesus tapdancin' Christ.

Authors and readers rally to defend rape novel from school ban | Books | guardian.co.uk

I like how they mention in passing that this guy managed to get Slaughterhouse-Five taken out too.


Speaking as a parent, I can understand the discomfort with this book. OTH, I would want to talk to the teacher and see the notes for class discussion. I'd also read the book, so I could talk to my kid intelligently about the issues raised. We're in a small town, where the teachers welcome discussion with parent, so I'd feel perfectly comfortable asking a teacher to explain his or her goals in including a book I might question. In fact, I could email any one of my kids' teachers this morning and ask about reading lists for the year. Some of those teachers are my friends on Facebook so I can talk to them that way too. I just don't see the point of going insane over reading material assigned by a teacher. If I wanted to excersize that much control, I can yank them out and home school them again and be in charge of assigning their books. If parents want to delegate their kids' education, they need to work with the schools.
 

morgani

New Member
I agree with Anderson. If you see rape as sexually exciting and even pornographic, then it's not the book that school kids should be protected from...
 
I think it's a shame that in k-12 education we get slammed with the idea of freedom of speech, when in reality, we are only free to say the things that the majority and people in power want us to say.

Banning any book seems wrong, but it is understandable if some teachers just don't want to teach certain books, since you can't go over every book in a single class.
 

abecedarian

Well-Known Member
Mental note: don't buy NewSouth Editions.

And don't be shy in discussions of the "N" word. I've never understood the banning of Huck Finn. I'll bet just about every kid in the USA has heard that word at least once by the time they reach the reach high school. Best to use a novel like this as a springboard for discussion and teach why the word is so offensive.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
Another follow up article from the NYT Light Out, Huck, They Still Want to Sivilize You
A partial quote...
A new effort to sanitize “Huckleberry Finn” comes from Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University, at Montgomery, Ala., who has produced a new edition of Twain’s novel that replaces the word “nigger” with “slave.” Nigger, which appears in the book more than 200 times, was a common racial epithet in the antebellum South, used by Twain as part of his characters’ vernacular speech and as a reflection of mid-19th-century social attitudes along the Mississippi River.
If some think that word isn't used everywhere, North, and South, they have not been watching the TV series The Wire which takes place in Baltimore, Maryland, or any of the many Law & Order franchises.
 

Peder

Well-Known Member
Actually, I don't think it is such a bad idea that the N-word be allowed to perish from the language. It already was on its way out, once, early in my lifetime (before most people here were born) due to diligent educational processes throughout all the schools I ever attended, from first grade on. It then was revived and embraced, if my recollection is correct, during the Civil Rights Era in the US, and is now heard widely again in shows such as The Wire, as already mentioned.

Perhaps one could simply let free-market forces settle the matter, as the articles mentioned above seem to indicate may already be happening. In public libraries both versions could appear on the shelves, depending on customer demand -- assuming that in years to come there will still continue to be demand at all, and shelf space, for the book. In the worst case, the original editions will continue to exist in archival libraries for those who want to research the "authentic flavor" of the bygone day.
 

abecedarian

Well-Known Member
When I spotted this thread on Ravelry this morning, I knew I had to share. Some stories are just too good to keep to one's lonesome:

Are You One of Those People?
" Yes, I am indeed one of THOSE kinds of people, and DAMN PROUD OF IT TOO! Are you one of THOSE kinds of people?
So I am one of those people that is not ashamed to crochet in public. Even better I am known to tote a pattern book with me if I am currently in the process of making something I need the pattern for! I haven’t any issues sitting down whipping out the book, hook and yarn. I sit quietly in my own little happy yarn world not bothering anyone and pretty oblivious to anything going on around me.
Not terribly long ago I was sitting out have dinner and waiting for our food to arrive, I had gotten the kids occupied with their own activities and without any thought to it pulled out my book, and my hook and yarn. I am working on some scarves for my kiddo’s. As I am sitting there working I feel like I am being stared at, you know that feeling, and I look up and around and see sitting near by a older lady with the utmost look of disgust on her face staring at me leaning in and whispering to the other lady sitting at the table. I checked the kids, yup all behaving, looked at my clothing, yup appropriate, looked around and saw nothing that could bring such a look. What the hell was this woman’s problem? Oh well, whatever let her stare right? Back to work. Shortly later the waitress approaches me and states: I am sorry but we have some complaints and we don’t allow that kind of reading material in our establishment. For a minute I am taken back thinking to myself “Huh? A crochet book? Really?” then it hits….I am reading the one skein pattern from the book: Stitch and Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. I started to laugh out loud and before I could even explain what I was reading, not that the bright pictures probably shouldn’t have given it away right?, the older lady previously staring at me with the disgusted look on her face walks by me and as she walks by she spouts off: People like YOU shouldn’t have children, its disgusting. This of course only made me laugh even harder and proceed to show the apparently blind waitress that I am indeed reading a crochet pattern book. She seemed surprised, I asked her in a joking manner if the brightly colored picture of the scarf didn’t give it away, and she says: Well the title of the book, we thought and she stops mid-sentence not allowing herself to say it well I am going to have to ask my manager if this is ok, apparently the title of the book is offending some of the other customers. I proceeded to tell her not to bother, any establishment that would treat a customer in that manner regardless of what they are reading and catered to the ignorance of others was not somewhere I wanted my kids anyways go ahead and cancel our order, bring me my check for the drinks and we will go elsewhere.
Oh I should add, the manager found out what was going on when she had to approve the waitress canceling the order and apologized profusely and gave me a 25 dollar gift card to return lol. I didn’t ask or complain I was just going to leave, I was floored! But I will tell you what…I will pull that damn book right on back out any damn where I please =D ! I apparently do not learn society fragile politically correct behavior lessons… I am such a rebel. HA-HA".


I've invited Tara to come over here and see what fun we have over stories like this. Couldn't resist sharing.
 
When I spotted this thread on Ravelry this morning, I knew I had to share. Some stories are just too good to keep to one's lonesome:

Are You One of Those People?
" Yes, I am indeed one of THOSE kinds of people, and DAMN PROUD OF IT TOO! Are you one of THOSE kinds of people?

It was indeed quite a funny experience. But one I learned from as well. Learned just how ignorant people can be. No one is going to stop me. At least not until they raise my kids, pay my bills, and are being forced with their eyelids propped open with toothpicks to read what I am....I will read what I want, when I want, where I want. =) Thank you for inviting me, and for sharing my story! NOW I have to get on that pattern searching I promised you eh? :lol:
 

The Butcher

New Member
We can have Okonkwo chop off a guy's head(Things Fall Apart),but not a book that has curse words in it.

I smell hypocrisy.
 

abecedarian

Well-Known Member
Great story abc, so verra happy she got up and left. Best response to that sort of idjut.


Actually, many of us at ravelry feel the better response is for a bunch of us to show up with our yarn, hooks, and Happy Hooker books under our arms and stage a stitch n' bitch event right there in that fine dining establishment. :whistling:
 

abecedarian

Well-Known Member
It was indeed quite a funny experience. But one I learned from as well. Learned just how ignorant people can be. No one is going to stop me. At least not until they raise my kids, pay my bills, and are being forced with their eyelids propped open with toothpicks to read what I am....I will read what I want, when I want, where I want. =) Thank you for inviting me, and for sharing my story! NOW I have to get on that pattern searching I promised you eh? :lol:

Hey Tara, glad you popped in! Stick around, get to know us here at B&R. I am positive we can find you something great to read.:flowers:
 

beer good

Well-Known Member
Brave New World among top 10 books Americans most want banned | Books | guardian.co.uk

Of course, non-fiction books about penguins are still the most horrible thing one can subject children to, but I note that The Hunger Games has also been challenged for being "sexually explicit". From what I recall, the only sex scene in the entire book takes place in the epilogue, is half a sentence long, and about as explicit as Pride And Prejudice. It's almost as if anything being read by young people is automatically offensive. Fancy that.
 
Top