Sunday, September 26, 2010

The First Amendment and Banned Book Week

I am ready to spit nails.  September 25 to October 1st is Banned Book Week in the US, and we need to do all we can to support this event, and keep censorship out of the United States of America.

Why am I ready to spit nails?  Because I just read a piece of garbage by a man named Wesley Scroggins.  This man, who merely displays his total ignorance, is trying to get books like Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, banned from his school district.  Not only that, but he has blasted Slaughterhouse Five, a classic by Kurt Vonnegut, as well as several other books.  The reason?  Well, he considers rape "pornographic" ( are you kidding me??), and SF apparently had the "f" word on every page, several times.  Guess I read the wrong Slaughterhouse Five.

This man is a fundamentalist Christian in Republic, Missouri, whose own children don't go to public school, from what I've read.  They are home-schooled.  Okay, Mr. Scroggins, if you don't want your kids to read these books, that's your perogative, but don't go putting your misguided values and moralistic views on other parents and children.

I wonder if he has even read Speak ?  It is a very sensitively written book about a high school girl who is raped at a party.  She calls 911, but by the time they police get there, she is afraid to say anything, so all her friends think she  just wanted to sabotage the party.  Now they won't have anything to do with her, and she is still afraid to tell anyone about what happened.  Until, that is, the boy tries again, and then all hell breaks loose.

This is a book about date rape...something that adult women, as well as teen girls, experience all the time.  For Scroggins to vilify the book is for him to denigrate all the women, regardless of age, who have had this happen to them.  Every woman, from 14 to 40 and beyond, who is dating, should read this book, and understand that keeping silent from something this terrible happening to them is the wrong thing to do.  SPEAK up and tell parents, teachers, authorities, AND the world what has been done to you and by whom.   Perhaps if more girls and women spoke up, the male sex would (eventually) learn that we are NOT the weaker sex, and we WILL NOT be treated so inhumanely and with such disrespect.

Scroggins is a man who apparently wants to be an know, the "head in the sand" mindset?  He seems to have a problem with any kind of teaching that doesn't adhere strictly to his own very fundamentalist views...he objects to certain parts of history and science courses which teach views other than those of the most fundamental Christian opinions, AND he even objects to certain parts of the Constitution.  This is a man who actually has some sway in school board matters in Republic, Missouri?  I pity the kids who come out of that school district!

Speaking of the Constitution: The First Amendment says:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Book banning is a direct violation of the First Amendment, besides a slap in the face to all of us.  Would you believe that some of the most famous books in history, as well as some of the most powerful new ones, have been banned from local schools and libraries, or have had some very serious debates going on about the need for banning them?  Try these on for size:
Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Uncle Bobby's Wedding, Catcher In The Rye, Twilight, My Sister's Keeper, Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Speak, Slaughterhouse Five, Twenty Boy Summer, and many, many more.

From Uncle Tom's Cabin and on, the religious fanatacism and gross ignorance of only a small group of  people have ignited the flames of censorship.  Tomorrow I am going to post a few of my thoughts on censorship in general.

In the meantime, support your local schools and libraries in any events they may have going on, concerning Banned Books Week.  Keep our freedom and that of our children to read the books we so choose FREE. 

Until later,
that's a wrap.

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