Flip Through

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free people read freely

The right to read is celebrated during the last week in September, and as we have a notably anti-intellectual freedom lady running for Vice President, I'm taking this observance as an excuse to slack off my school assigned texts and indulge in a little Pullman, a little Lawrence, a little Twain.

Here's the list for 2007:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Interestingly, it seems that the emphasis has shifted from race to sex --any kind of sex. After all, everyone knows that "offensive language" and "unsuited to age group" are unimaginative code for "sexually explicit"; heck, within the context of His Dark Materials and And Tango Makes Three, "religious viewpoint" and "anti-family" are clearly indicative of sexual themes. Then again, fearing a natural human function makes almost as much sense as fearing a skin tone. I'm almost glad to see, though, that Huck Finn is hanging on at #5; however, I would venture that cries of "Racism!" are simply a veneer for the real thing fundies fear about Twain's classic: its anti-authoritarian stance. The scene when Huck, fearing for his mortal soul, writes a letter turning Jim in...and then tears it up, declaring, "All right, I'll go to hell", is, I assume, the most frightening scenario any conservative can imagine.

I'm also glad to see that people have finally left off James Joyce. Why bother attempting to ban Ulysses? Anyone who claims to have read and understood it is probably lying.
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