Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Day They Came To Arrest The Book...Uh, Kind Of

The facts are these (have I mentioned my recent Pushing Daisies binge? Because damn Lee Pace's earnest face...where was I...oh):

Parents in Idaho's Meridian School District recently succeeded in  having Sherman Alexie's 2007 novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian removed from Junior Mountain High School's 10th grade curriculum for completely stupid reasons. A group of students organized a petition that got 350 signatures to have it reinstated and, naturally, that's when the trouble started. Kids standing up for something they think is important? Finding a passion and going with it? Great googly moogly, we can't have that. You can read the rest at KBOI but take this image with you: a parent calling the police on a kid for handing a free copy of a book to another kid who wanted one. Are you kidding me?

Today's song is another work that was banned for reasons so stupid that John Denver wound up testifying before Congress about it.  What do you think?



 


9 comments:

  1. if parents think their 10th graders are not already joking around about masturbation on a daily basis, they are deluded. also, if they're afraid of the non-christian subject matter, they could a.)try making their own faith sound more enticing, so the kids won't *want* to stray b.) not take such over dramatic drastic actions; publicly ban something and that's a guarantee that the teenagers will seek it out and find a way to try it ;)

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    1. I've been reading other blog commentary about this incident and someone pointed out (maybe at The Stranger but don't quote me) that what's being labelled as anti-Christian has to do with racial differences rather than religion. It's been on my To Be Read list for a while, maybe I should bump it up.

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    2. Wow! I don't usually comment here but I find parts of this comment as being so ignorant. "Make their faith sound more enticing". Really, that is one of the things wrong with Christianity today. The Bible says hows religious leaders try to "tickle the ears" of their listeners to appeal to them. Serving God is what it is. It does not need to be changed or altered to appeal to people who have no interest. Accept it for what it is or K.I.M. I really get sick of hearing people thinking that God's words have to change or be jazzed up to put up with the degrading morals of today's people. I teach 10th graders, and if you think that all 10th are joking about masturbation at all, then you are deluded. And when does the, "some are doing it so it is ok for all" become the accepted mantra?

      When I was in school as a 9th grader in honors classes, my teacher tried to make us read The Chocolate War. I went home and told my mother who told me I didn't have to read it if I didn't want to, and, the teacher would make an alternate assignment for me. This is exactly what happened. I had an actual parent. My mother was aware of what went on in school, who my friends were, what I saw on TV, what I listened to, and made sure she knew what was influencing me. Serving God faithfully was something I did, not because the message was jazzed up, but because I was taught how to develop my own relationship with God. I think many parents do not teach this so God is just some impersonal being who means nothing to many people, young or old.
      That being said, I think we sometimes forget that everyone does not have the same morals. We do not have to force everyone to think as we do. Parents need to understand that they have the option to opt out as opposed to making everyone opt out. You cannot force people to believe. So what if something is anti-Christian? Not all are Christians. Must they be subject to the same regulations of those who are? I am not in agreement with this action.

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    3. a.)I think the parents in that town could have done as your mother did and make an arrangement w/the teacher instead of petitioning to ban the book for *everyone* and then calling the police on the young people who thought they were doing a good deed by giving away free books. b.)when I said that parents should try and make their own faith sound more enticing instead of banning books, I did not say they should *change* their faith to do so. I was implying that we should spend more time teaching our children what is good about our own faiths instead of what is so "wrong" w/all the others. I, as a Christian mother, teach my children (who do not come from a broken home, btw, and whose mother is highly involved in their lives), that we all have our own purpose and place in this life. my path may be different from yours but different does not automatically equal "wrong" c.)my teenage son, who is an honor student and a boy scout, jokes around w/his peers about masturbation...when he dosn't think any adults are listening. maybe you do indeed teach in a school whose majority of teenage boys keep their thoughts about such matters to themselves, but it's also possible that they're just not doing it within the teachers earshot.

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    4. I am total agreement with you on your point a. As for your point b, excuse my misinterpretation of what you wrote. I was incorrect in my assessment of your meaning. Lastly, for point c, I was trying to make the point that assuming all 10th graders are joking about masturbation and are sitting with their friends talking about sex, is incorrect. It is not impossible to make it through high school without having those kinds of conversations. Improbable, yes. However, it is not impossible. Therefore we should not operate under the assumption that all people are one way and have the same experience - even in the sexually charged world we live in.
      Otherwise, I think we are of similar thoughts. Thank you for this discussion.
      Good night.

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  2. Rocky Mountain High was banned? Do tell.

    I read the book in question last summer, after having been urged by friends for years, and it is a fantastic book. Jazz, I think you would really like it / resonate to it. I'm not sure the subject matter is appropriate for my nieces (and didn't give it to them) but there's no way it's inappropriate for a tenth-grader. My goodness.

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    1. "Rocky Mountain High" was banned in 1972 because it was supposedly a drug song. John Denver testified during the PMRC hearings in the 80s alongside Frank Zappa and Dee Snider.

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  3. "Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education." - Charlotte Brontë

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Thanks for commenting!