Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evil Books.

Let's see, yesterday evil basketball uniforms, today evil books. It is a good thing tomorrow is Thursday Thunks or you would be thinking that you had stumbled onto Professor Van Helsing's blog instead of my usual ramblings. I actually was going to talk about something else today instead, but I read an interesting article and I decided to go with this topic. People are always trying to get certain books banned. I was going to write about it last October when the American Library Association held their annual banned book week, but it fell during a time I was blogging sporadically and I decided to wait until next year.

Certain books do bother some people. The Harry Potter series is always popular to those who want to ban, because they believe it will lead children down the path of studying witchcraft. I haven't noticed a huge jump in children becoming witches. I have read all seven books and while magic is there, I read more the themes of friendship, togetherness, fighting prejudice, and the overall theme of good versus evil. This may come as a shock to some, but good wins. Oh darn, I hope I didn't spoil that for anyone. There is a woman in Atlanta who has been trying to get the books removed from the school library for a few years. She keeps losing but keeps coming back and trying again. I believe it is a parents right to chose what their children read, but they don't have the right to decide for others.

So what book started this rant? What is so evil that it must be kept out of childrens hands? The Menifee Union School District in California has banned Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary from their elementary schools, grades K-8. Why? Because a parent complained that their child learned the meaning of oral sex from the dictionary. That is the old mentality, let's take sex out of the schools and put it back in the alley's where it belongs. Good grief. Actions like this insures that most children in that school now know what it means. Trying to hide it only increases the curiosity.

The dictionaries were bought for advanced readers in the fourth and fifth grades. We want our children to learn
and then become shocked when they do. Instead of panicking the parents should be talking to their children. You can't bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. Children are curious and will find out on their own if they aren't helped. Reacting like this sends the wrong message.


A piece of news said...

Lucky parent who even found out, right? So now you have a child who found something naughty and when mom and dad found out, the whole thing turned upside down. Good job, folks. [sarcasm]

What do you want to bet the next thing their little poppy learns that even sounds naughty will NOT be shared with mom and pop?

Howard Bagby said...

I agree. After all, what is the best way to get your child to do something? Tell them not to do it.

Winthrop J. Quiggy said...

Censorship seems to exist more in the right-wing fundamentalist group of people more than any other, although you will find left-wing nutcases who would just as soon as hang up the offending writer by the erogenous areas as let them disparage their beloved global warming "theory". I don't like anyone who tries to take everyone elses right to decide away just because they personally are offended.

Howard Bagby said...

I am with you Quiggy. if something offends me I am staying away from it, but if you like it I am not going to stop you.

Al Penwasser said...

Quiggy's right on both counts. People will ALWAYS find something about which to be offended, but banning a frikkin' dictionary? Oh, my. Since we're on the subject, I thought "oral sex" was when you just talked about it (what I pretty much did all through high school-poor me).

Howard Bagby said...

I agree Al. It is one thing to be afraid of ideas, but another to be afraid of words.