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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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banned books: really?
children of dune - leto 1
Banned Books Week: Banned Books That Shaped America which lists off some banned books and where and sometimes why they were banned. I'd like to thank Texas for the following, because God knows, this makes us seem sane:

Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851

In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.

...yeah, I got nothing.

(Note: If by community values they meant "our community does not value this level of epic boredom at this length", okay, maybe I can see it. I have a feeling that is not the case.)

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961

The book was actually retained after a 2003 challenge in Mercedes, TX to the book’s adult themes. However, parents were subsequently given more control over what their child was assigned to read in class, a common school board response to a challenge.

I'm trying here, so hard. I'm failing. I--what?

Not Texas (I hope, please), but huh?

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963

Sendak’s work is beloved by children in the generations since its publication and has captured the collective imagination. Many parents and librarians, however, did much hand-wringing over the dark and disturbing nature of the story. They also wrung their hands over the baby’s penis drawn in In the Night Kitchen.

...I have never seen this penis. Jesus, I need to find that book and where's waldo this like, soon.

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850

According to many critics, Hawthorne should have been less friendly toward his main character, Hester Prynne (in fairness, so should have minister Arthur Dimmesdale). One isn’t surprised by the moralist outrage the book caused in 1852. But when, one hundred and forty years later, the book is still being banned because it is sinful and conflicts with community values, you have to raise your eyebrows. Parents in one school district called the book “pornographic and obscene” in 1977. Clearly this was before the days of the World Wide Web.

...where the hell is the porn in here? Did I miss this chapter? What porn?

(Note: Again, boring, and also, the Adultery Baby is freaky like hell; that kid alone might justify banning just to have less hideously precocious babies wandering around. Then again, that was the most interesting part of the book, even if it was born of fear.)

The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002

The works of Chavez were among the many books banned in the dissolution of the Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District disbanded the program so as to accord with a piece of legislation which outlawed Ethnic Studies classes in the state. To read more about this egregious case of censorship, click here.

More details on that here. I mean, it kind of mocks itself just reading the justification, to be honest.

For more adventures in limiting the vastness of the human experience as expressed in literature due to reasons, Banned Books Week website and ALA's Banned Books section.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/952100.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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Gosh. You ban a lot of books in America. If someone tries to ban a book over here it's a really big deal and there's a national argument. Actually, I can't remember the last time, maybe some other Brit will tell me. I think it's just assumed you'll talk to your children about it. Isn't that what they're meant to be doing in class anyway?

No need to Waldo the penis, it is quite obvious, it is on the naked baby. It's nothing shocking, the boy is naked and fig leaves don't fit into the story, ergo penis. It's not like it's an adult or erect penis, it's just a little boy. Are the banners trying to hide the fact that boys have penises? I think at least half the child population knows that, plus anyone who baths with their brother or has a little brother because if there's a way to stop a little boy getting it out I have yet to find it. My boy was so delighted with the easy access when he got out of nappies that he went around showing his to everyone. So maybe there are one or two girls who haven't seen one, haven't traded viewing rights in the playground, isn't it a good idea for them to learn about it young, rather than getting a horrible shock when they're older?

Edited at 2012-09-27 06:05 am (UTC)

It's not really even detailed, iirc. It's just sort of a lumpy looking bit hanging from between his legs.

there's a way to stop a little boy getting it out I have yet to find it
You and me both. ROFLMAO

"DUDE! Put that thing away...I don't need to see it, kthx. We only do that in the bathroom or the bedroom, remember?"
"Oh yeah. RIGHT!" *zooms off to his bedroom*

I remember that penis! I remember staring at it, maybe when I was about ten? Like, "this is...unusual. hmmmm."

I think it's when he's falling into the milk, possibly. Don't ask me what point this comes at, I'm just remembering "penis" and "falling into milk" is the mental imagery I'm getting.

He's naked when he falls into the batter. He gets coated in batter then goes into the milk and the batter washes off so he's naked again.

I have 2 young children and it's a favourite book of theirs. I've read it a lot.

That's a fascinating philosophical question, if you think about it. "If you're wearing no clothes and get coated with batter, are you naked or not? And if the batter is removed, are you naked again...or still?"

Maybe the people who banned it weren't philosophy fans.

I'm pretty sure Stranger In a Strange Land gets banned because of the cannibalism at the end. I vaguely remember people being horrified (or at least complaining) about that at various times. It could also be the main character becoming a religious figure. As the the others I have no idea. The banned books list is always fun to read.

"I'm trying here, so hard. I'm failing. I--what?"

Stranger in a strange land is just awful after about the 1/3 point - it goes from interesting sci-fi to "wait... did the Scientology guy write this?" - but I believe that there's polyamory, atheism, and cannibalism in it.

Personally, I'm hoping that Stranger in a Strange Land was up for being banned because of the appalling sexism, but I suspect that isn't the case! It probably is the polyamory and cannibalism - it would be jsut typical for the cause to be the interesting bits thematically and not the skeevy underlying assumptions about women that still make me want to bite something. Gah, Heinlein. All that imagination and he couldn't imagine himself out of his own mindset.

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