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Kill John Lennon!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CharlesJohnson, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. CharlesJohnson

    CharlesJohnson
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    Banned Books Week is coming up. Organizations, special interest groups in the U.S. still, in the 21st century, look to ban books from schools and libraries. Somewhere, someone knows what is best for you and your family, and they are very, very concerned.

    The 2012 list:

    1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

    2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

    3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

    4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

    5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

    6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

    7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

    8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

    9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

    10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Offensive language; racism

    What's hilarious is the proscribing works for nudity and insensitivity. Goodness. Also the inclusion of "To Kill a Mockingbird," one of the most forward thinking, pro-civil rights books made because of racism. I also had no idea Katniss was a devil worshipper. That suddenly makes me want to mastur- give that one a read.

    List of some books banned by governments. Most are political, some are for sex: <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bo ... overnments</a>

    Most of these turned out to be classics. Like Grapes of Wrath, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Tropic of Cancer. I have a hard time reconciling the idea that Tropic of Cancer, a stark look at casual, dirty sex and hedonistic living through the lens of a pseudo-philosopher has any use in a high school library. But I still think it should be available, if not for the attitude of Miller, but his writing style. To me, it's definitely a game changer book. Thank Jesus it's unrelatable to most teenagers, so parents can dodge that bullet.

    Focus: Should a book be out of reach to anyone, anywhere? Age limits? Would you prohibit your child from reading a book, either at a certain age or at all? Bitch about the ridiculousness, and people that want to make their tiny little world safe and palatable.

    Alt-Focus: Is there such a thing as a dangerous book? There are plenty of hate pieces out there, plenty of books with ridiculous pseudo-science, works containing blatant misrepresentation of facts. Some of which governments have based egregious policy. But on that note, concerning fiction, who deems what is useful?

    Alt-Alt-Focus: The best books people did not want you to read. You dirty, book slut.
     
  2. Crown Royal

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    Focus

    No fucking book should be banned from shelves. Not the Satanic bible, 50 Shades of Superficial Tripe or Mein Kampf (which has no dedications in it. Cold.). I mean, you can buy Cannibal Holocaust on DVD but you words apparently just hurt so bad. It's bullshit. I don't know why we have to live in a world where somebody else chooses what we get to see or not.

    Alt-Focus

    I think that hate books only reach those that are of a lower station of society, because they're the dummies that fall for that shit. I think that books that attract a wide-spread audience are usually money cons rather than gimmicks to gain power. Look at "The Secret". Look how many people fell for its ridiculousness. People spent their money on them, but it didn't turn them into Stepford wives. I think books can sometimes drive crazy people to do crazy things, and I think that a book like The Purpose Driven Life gives an enormous mass people a complete false perception on life, but if you're dumb enough to fall for that shit than I guess that's just natural selection.
     
  3. lust4life

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    I think Huck Finn and The Catcher in the Rye are still banned in the NYC school system. Good educational message there. We had a discussion about that in my American Lit class in high school (both of those were on our reading list for that class) and some joker commented that we shouldn't be reading books that are on several banned lists in a joking attempt to shorten the reading list. The teacher responded with, "I didn't have the guts to put Portnoy's Complaint on the list.". More than half the class was reading it the next day. When my father saw me laying on the couch reading it he said with a smile, "Shame on you!"

    And I agree about Tropic of Cancer. No place for it in a high school class, but an interesting read to say the least.
     
  4. Omegaham

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    The only book that really gave me pause to think, "Should an impressionable child be reading this" was A Clockwork Orange. Not because of the graphic descriptions of rape and violence, but because of how damn seductive the book is. It's written in such a way that you can feel exactly what the narrator is thinking... and it feels good. The slang serves to disassociate the reader from the nature of the violence, and the only thing that is easily apparent is power, a kind of power that a disaffected, frustrated, and impressionable teenager would be fascinated by and want to experience. If there's a book that explicitly glorifies rape, torture, and violence, it's A Clockwork Orange. And no, the cop-out at the end where he realizes the error of his ways doesn't work. The author has already delivered the rush; he can't just say, "Oh, it was actually a BAD thing. Stop feeling good about it."

    Of course, it's a great book regardless, and the fact that someone might take the message the wrong way is no reason to keep everyone else from reading it. But there's a reason why it isn't taught in high school.
     
  5. JWags

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    When illiteracy is a problem and so many children are struggling to read at their level in the US, maybe discouraging reading in any form isn't the best idea...
     
  6. dubyu tee eff

    dubyu tee eff
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    Thinks he has a chance with Christina Hendricks...

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    I would normally resoundingly say no, but I will make an exception for this: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Beach-Nicole-Snooki-Polizzi/dp/1451657080/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348642809&sr=8-1&keywords=snooki" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Beach-Nic ... rds=snooki</a>
     
  7. Juice

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    There are no outright banned books or movies in the United States, not even extremely fucked up ones like the Anarchists Cookbook. As far as books "restricted" from kids? We should just be happy they're willing to read in the first place. Lets not limit their selection.
     
  8. Noland

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    I particularly enjoy the books that someone wants to ban because of "sex education". God knows, if you tell the children about sex, they will all immediately turn into slaves of their genitalia and you will have teenagers trying to fuck anything that moves.

    Focus: Absolutely. I'm not sure if it's possible to draw a bright line and have that apply to everyone across the board, but I don't want my ten year old reading 120 Days of Sodom.

    Alt-Focus: There are dangerous books for dangerous people. The Turner Diaries is a loathsome piece of racist crap that has direct links to a fair number of violent crimes. The shitheels that believe this stuff don't need the book to tell them to do it, however, it just serves as an excuse for them to do it.

    Alt-Alt Focus: I am pretty sure my parents didn't want me reading their copy of The Story of 'O' when I was fourteen.
     
  9. Roxanne

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    I seriously considered becoming a porn star when I turned 18, mostly because I figured my dad already thought I was a prostitute, so I couldn't do any worse. And I could make money!

    Then I read Jenna Jameson's autobiography, and I realized it wasn't the glamorous life I thought it was. I resolved at the close of the book to not pursue this dream I had, but to instead revert to my previous dream of being a cowboy.

    Ironically, my father found the book and freaked the fuck out, thinking that with a title "How to Make Love Like a Pornstar," it was essentially a how-to guide on becoming one and that I was on my way to a life of sex on camera. So he burned it in front of me and told me I was never allowed to read something like that, lest I get any ideas. I told him I had already read it and then proceeded to spend the next year dropping hints that I was trading sexual favors for money and had left videos around the internet for him to stumble across.

    I would say that's a book young girls should read though, if only to scare the shit out of them and stop them from thinking all sex work is a wonderful, glamorous life.
     
  10. Mantis Toboggan M.D.

    Mantis Toboggan M.D.
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    I mean most teenagers (normal male ones anyway) are slaves to their genitalia, it just doesn't have anything to do with any book they've read or haven't read.

    The interesting thing to me about that list is how the justifications for banning books come equally from "traditionally conservative" (sexually explicit, occult/satanic, anti-family) and "traditionally liberal" (religious viewpoint, racism, anti-ethnic, insensitivity) viewpoints. Hell, most of the books on that list have managed to piss off both sides. Just goes to show that, whichever side of the political spectrum they're on, anyone who wants to control what you read does not have your best interests in mind.

    This also speaks to the role of government in society. I read both Animal Farm and 1984 in high school, both as assigned reading. I graduated in 2002 from a private high school--from what I understand, both books (especially 1984) have been more or less blackballed by the US public school system. 1984, in particular, encourages readers to ask questions about government that the people who run public schools probably don't want asked.

    Now, I'm not saying that every 7-year-old should be issued a copy of Tropic of Cancer--some subjects aren't appropriate for very young children. But it should be up to the parents (taking responsibility for your own spawn, how novel of a thought). My dad read Huck Finn to me when I was probably 9 or 10 and when we came across the word "nigger" for the first time he explained to me what it meant, that it's not exactly a term of endearment (this was long before I'd ever heard it in rap music), and that I shouldn't use it, especially around black people. Too easy.

    And I second the above about the absurdity of trying to ban To Kill a Mockingbird for racism. Saying To Kill a Mockingbird promotes racism is like saying Saving Private Ryan promotes Nazism.
     
  11. Nom Chompsky

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    Which is bullshit. It's not fair to ban a book just because it's massively overrated the people that idealize it are annoying.
     
  12. mav_ian

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    EDIT*: This is a good line of thinking, though I can't help but think how fucked up some parents are. At least if it's in their hands and they don't let their kid read a smart book, it minimises the retardation of the rest of the class. My parents withdrew me from anything that taught evolution, but I was already reading advanced textbooks on dinosaurs; consequently I'm pretty sure I ended up with a better understanding of evolution than a high school education could grant me.
    Actually, as religous as they were, I don't remember any books actually being verboten. I was just treated to a lecture on how 'godly' something was to accompany them...


    *After I finally figured out quoting properly...
     
  13. sisterkathlouise

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    I think Ayn Rand books should be banned because they're awful and I'm sick of people basing their entire sociopolitical ideologies around such naive, incoherent drivel. Only really I don't because I don't believe in banning books, I just think Ayn Rand is terrible.

    I read lots of things that I probably shouldn't have when I was young, probably starting with A Child Called "It" at age 9, and working up to A Clockwork Orange when I was 11 or 12. But now I read kids books all the time, so it evens out, right??
     
  14. ghettoastronaut

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    Where man burns books, there man burns people.

    Repeat that until it sinks in, because it's true.
     
  15. MoreCowbell

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    It blows my mind that books on there are removed not because they're racist, but because they DISCUSS RACISM.

    Of course books are dangerous, and that's a good thing. Literature is often hazardous to prejudice, stupidity, and apathy. Uncle Tom's Cabin was dangerous. The Jungle was dangerous. The Feminine Mystique was dangerous. There should be more dangerous books.

    That's hogwash. Plenty if not most public high schools teach Orwell, as optional if not necessarily require reading. He's among the most frequently assigned authors. But you know, liberal conspiracy and such.

    Plus, due to the way education is structured in the United States, the "US public school system" doesn't really decide any of these sorts of things. It's states, and more typically, communities and administrators. Bumfuck, Arkansas elects a few idiots on their school board, and soon enough books are being banned.

    What if your parents had suggested that you shouldn't have read 1984 because it was promoting offensive bourgeoisie beliefs? Or To Kill a Mockingbird, because Harper Lee operated under the misunderstanding that darkies were people? Should the library have been under an obligation to keep the books away from you?

    Where does the right of a parent to keep their child sheltered and ignorant end? Is it, in your view, absolute and fully binding on schools?
     
  16. lostalldoubt86

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    In my senior year of high school, I went on a serious banned book reading frenzy. I think I chose the 10 books that have been on the most banned book lists in history or something along those lines. The most banned books if that makes sense? I have to say that I got a better education from reading those books (in terms of critical reading, style, genre studies, etc.) than I did in the 14 years of schooling I had since. As an English teacher, I hate to see that books are still banned in this day and age. There are some books that I would love to teach, but I would never get away with it because the subject matter would make parents riot. For example, I'm not allowed to teach The Perks of Being a Wallflower because of the subject matter. The books deals with some really heavy topics (suicide, incest, sexual abuse, abortion, and homosexuality to name a few) but it's still a great example of a coming-of-age story. It's a book that the student I teach would relate to. In my eyes, the major issue parents have with these books is that they think their children are little angels who don't think about these things. In reality, teenagers are hormone monsters who don't understand the repercussions of their actions.

    So that's my rant. Feel free to disagree with me in an angry fashion is you'd like.
     
  17. CharlesJohnson

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    Yeah, man. Maybe it's just you folks up in Cackalacky, but in Florida Animal Farm is taught in 10th grade. Everyone loved that one because it was 99 pages. Or it could be the private school. My private school had no problem with Huck Finn because there weren't any black students: Southern Baptists.

    I agree, we need more dangerous books. We need to pervert the youth correctly. I'd rather they read "smut" than watch human garbage on E!. If you're going to do it, do it right. Pick something up along the way. I'd rather they read works of dissension, than spoon fed incomplete histories in class.

    I'm remiss to say anything should be banned from a SCHOOL LIBRARY, but there is a level of appropriateness to address. I like the Tropic of Cancer argument because it is both a book of no literary merit and tremendous literary merit. It's a pseudo-philosopher talking about hedonism and life (virtually nobody pulls this off), but it's also of the most erudite prose and difficult, thought provoking subject matter. Luckily, I can't imagine many teens would want to read that thing, so that whole scenario is dodged for most parents.

    They're teens, not babies. School is supposed to be preparing them for adulthood. Some of them are abused, subject to racism and violence, see parental abuse, alcoholism, rape. They should be exposed to works that speak frankly with that subject matter. Especially considering the good stuff does not glorify tragedy. An effective work instead lets know someone they aren't alone, it speaks for them in some cases. Which also lures in new readers. Ideas are not dangerous, nor is discussion. But fuck you, we have standardized tests to prep for.

    I'd love to see teachers have more autonomy in their classrooms in regards to assigned reading. To do that they have to submit the works they want the class to study, then it goes to review, then it probably gets shot down out of fear of rebuttals. Bullshit. That kind of bullshit is the worst.