08 July 2006

Ban this!

Tip of the pen to Bookshelves of Doom for bringing this to light.

Seems that the Wilsona, Ca., School District is banning 23 books and bringing up rules that the library collection must abide by.
Books now cannot depict drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex, including "negative sexuality," implied or explicit nudity, cursing, violent crime or weapons, gambling, foul humor and "dark content."
Well, that pretty much wiped out the collection. What's negative sexuality, anyway? Is that a grumpy prostitute? Do they write picture books about grumpy prostitutes now? I seem to be missing out on all the fun trends.
"We realize there might be a story about police, but that's not violent crime, that's police doing good," Superintendent Ned McNabb said. "There's no way you can take the judgment out of it. You frame it better so it's easier to know what the guidelines are."
Whew! So Officer Buckle and Gloria are safe ... but wait! Isn't that Gloria on the endpapers, smoking a cigarette? And there she is, playing in the microwave oven! And setting her tail on fire! And rolling the police car down the hill! This book has got to go.
Trustees said one rejected book contained an unsavory hero who was a bad role model for children; another was about a warlock, which they said was inappropriate; and others were books with which they were unfamiliar and didn't know whether they promoted good character or conflicted with textbooks.
Ban first, read later, maybe.
That's the way to do it.

In their haste to get books off the shelves, some Clifford and Disney books got swept into the stack. But they'll put those back later, school officials said. However, Clifford, being a naked dog, will have shorts drawn onto his lower body. And Donald Duck ... what's with him, wearing a shirt but no pants??

The new policy states that library materials must be age-appropriate, taking into consideration the different maturity levels of district students who range in age from 5 to 14.

"For example, most of our elementary students are not dealing with issues of puberty and we do not want to encourage them to try to identify with characters that are," the policy states.

I love how they're trying to protect them from puberty. Makes it all better when the early developers suddenly get hit with it and don't know what the hell to do. (And some kids will start experiencing it in fifth or sixth grade, if I remember correctly.)
"Middle school materials may have a somewhat broader range of information. However, even at the middle school level, there can be a wide range of maturity. Materials for the middle school level should therefore be selected with appropriate limits in mind. An example: romance stories are out - puppy love is okay."
Yep! Puppy love sounds just right for the middle school student with a wide range of maturity!

*scratches head* But don't these school board members have any idea what these middle-school kids are watching on TV at home? And that you can get better, more truthful information about the world from a book? No, wait, books are out to exploit readers, make sex glamorous, make drugs and smoking glamorous. It's like those books with Sarah Jessica Parker and all her friends talking about sex. And there are all these giant explosions and long car chases everywhere in books. You read a book and it makes you get all hopped up and want to go out and wreck stuff.

And that's what happened to me. I read books all the time, and I always got in trouble. From Mom. Because I ... um. Because I spent so much time reading subversive books that I didn't do my chores.

*dead silence*

Um, yeah. I was a bad, bad girl.

On the CD player -- "Ballad of Waterhole #3 (Code of the West)" -- Roger Miller


Writerious said...

Fascinating. People really believe that school is this sheltered environment where you can place kids and somehow they'll forget the influence of parents, peers, television, video games, magazines, movies, and more. In this sacred space they'll turn into innocent little cherubs, untouched by descriptions of unacceptable behaviors, swooning at any mention of violence.

Then Cherub goes home and gets beaten with a belt by his drugged-out parents for making too much noise and interrupting their porn video. Kid you not. The things my husband has to deal with at the rural elementary school where he teaches... brrr.

Melinda said...

Yeah, that's right! I'm going, on what planet do these board members live? These books have to pass through so many gatekeepers before they hit the shelves. Yet these folks act like it's the books that the problems, not the bad influences outside the library. I guess they want to micromanage the things they can control. "Things fall apart! The center cannot hold!" etc.

Sorry your husband has to deal with such things. Lord. I really think all prospective parents should be made to apply for parenting licenses. And if they can't pass the tests -- and there will be a whole battery of them -- then they have to send their kid out for adoption until they get a clue.

It'd save a hell of a lot of heartache, that's for sure.