Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Challenge Not Even Hit Yet

Sometime around mid-week I was listening to a morning show out of Springfield, Massachusetts. The day before they received a letter from someone anonymous stating to be on the look-out because parents are starting to get rankled by a title in school libraries for the start of the term: THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie. The letter-writer stated that while nothing has been made official yet, some parents have been speaking about how the book should be removed because it's far too violent and sexually explicit for teens to be reading.

Had any of these parents actually read the book? Of course not. The source of the letter couldn't be confirmed and I haven't been able to find anything relating to a book challenge in Springfield this year. But people write stuff like this into this particular show because, well, Bax and O'Brien like to mock the shit out of stupidity. How much stupider could one be than a book banner?

They then went into a discussion about what they read when they were younger and asked why stuff like MACBETH wasn't being challenged because the body count in that read is pretty damn high. Of course, they mentioned the accessibility of the internet. Why would parents insist on banning books if their kid could just go on the internet and look up what a blow job is? Or go and play Grand Theft Auto and beat the shit out of some hookers for points? To that I say fucking duh.

You know, we're blue states. We're supposed to be the liberal ones, not wound up too tightly about religion or silly things like book bannings. Apparently. So to hear about something like this going on in my own nominally close back yard in the "liberal" section of the country makes me want to cry. Usually when you hear about book bannings they're coming out of the redder states where people have a larger, and publicly prominent, hold on religion and more conservative family values (states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Virginia). But in Massachusetts? Yeah, the state's filled with obnoxious Red Sox fans but book banners? The state where gay marriage was first made legal? The first state to adopt mandatory medical insurance for all residents (a fart away from socialized medicine) first took hold? Really? I'm shocked.

Maybe my head's a bit in the clouds about this. Maybe I'm polarizing the states a little bit. Are the more Puritanical values ingrained up here too, just a little more in the closet? Or am I just naive? Book bannings can't happen here. We're crazy liberals that want to hug everyone. But apparently there are book banners in our midst. Nowhere is safe. I know that now. There are parents that want to parent everyone's children, not just their own, EVERYWHERE.

I mean, books have been banned in New York recently but that's not New England. They're not REAL Yankees (despite the team). But I guess it's reached New England too. Nowhere is safe from book banning anymore. If it ever really was. Maybe they've been around for a while and it just never made any kind of crazy attention in the likes of the recent Republic, MO issue going on. Still, it doesn't make it any less horrifying. Now I just have a medium where I can physically go to town meetings about this stuff and voice my opinion on challenging idiocy. Oh that's bad.
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