When I read something like the following article I found on Banned Books Week , I realize how darn lucky I was growing up in a world that hadn’t yet discovered
political correctness, school book censorship by parents, and banned books because of outside interference. I just don’t understand parents who believe they need to shield their children from books that contain violence, bad language and sex, when more than likely all of these are a daily occurrence in their kids lives.
As a kid, violence was on every channel; I watched The Three Stooges poke each other’s eyes out daily, cowboys and Indians fought, and as I aged, Honey West exuded sexual tension in every step. As for bad language, as a teenager some of the best new books had cuss words, language people actually use.
The idea that parents should have any say whatsoever over the curriculum is outrageous, even it it’s a website “evaluating” each assigned title, not for the message, or literary quality, but for how many swear words, violence, and sex it may or may not contain.
When I was in third grade, I was an unusually scared kid, despite loving haunted house rides and Halloween etc. I read a book of ghosts stories which frightened me. My mother marched to the school asking why this book was on the library shelves. The teacher answered, rightfully so, that although I was frighted by them, other children found them funny which in retrospect, they were. Should my mother’s complaint have been taken seriously and the book removed. H—, no! Thank goodness for a smart teacher, who by the way, introduced her class to marvelous books.
The father who started the school book evaluation website claims he’s not trying to censor anything, just wants parents informed about what their children are reading. OK. And then what? Every student starts opting for different books, perhaps bad ones? Bad meaning, bad writing. Of course nothing offensive will be in them, nor will they teach your children anything new or real about the world.
And does this father honestly believe that if several parents review a book as being highly offensive, they then won’t demand something be done? Dream on.
So, thank you baby boomer world for allowing me to read the Camelot stories with knights fighting to the death on bloody battlefields. And To Kill a Mockingbird, with the N word, incest, rape, and mob violence. Or Stephen Crane’s Maggie, Life on the Streets–a prostitute! And let’s not forget that horribly violent book–The History of the World–what were those teachers thinking, allowing we kids to read about all those bloody wars, when we could have tuned into TV and spared ourselves the trouble.