BBW: New Books Facing Challenges, Part 1

Last week, the book blogosphere was in a tizzy over a Missouri editorialist’s condemnation of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson due to two rape scenes. We all know (1) rape does not equal pornography. Pornography is sexual in nature; rape is a violent crime. And (2) the second scene was not a rape.  It was a fully clothed attempt at assault. Main character Melinda’s voice and the female lacrosse team awesomely prevented things from getting worse. Read the book more closely, WS.

Many people came to the book’s defense and the reasons why this book should be allowed in curricula. So I wanted to tackle something different: banning political ideologies.

This person in Missouri (WS) must have thought that his role as John Q. Public was to act in the public’s best interest. After all, he is a taxpayer and his dollars are funding the school program that includes this book in the curriculum. His children are home-schooled.  What we really have here is an adult with his own ideology and presuming that exercising his rights as a free citizen means to ban everyone from things that go against his ideology. The problem with that – unilaterally making a decision from an unqualified position  – that’s not democracy. That’s dictatorship.

Has WS thought of the precedent he’s trying to set? If he, just anybody, can ban a book, so can someone else.  What if a high school library had the religious texts and someone wanted to ban the one he reads because of the content in the book of Song of Songs? He had the freedom to make his choice about how his children were educated, and he acted according to what was right for his family. He is not in the position to decide what is right for other families. Has he thought about the fact he is taking away rights? I thought his kind were against that. If you want your own freedoms, you have to let others have them, too.

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