So all the buzz is the buzz about some dude’s editorial, decrying certain books in certain school curriculums as naughty, nasty things that must be removed from children’s eyes. Lest they be blinded! Or corrupted and turned into whores, by this vagrant, pornographic art. These books are Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, which I recently saw on shelves but didn’t care to pick up, mostly because the movie with Kristen Stewart was playing on Lifetime and I didn’t want to watch that either, and one leads inevitably to the other. The others mentioned are Twenty Boy Summer (never read, don’t plan to) and Slaughterhouse Five (thanks for the reminder, sir! I’ve always meant to read this, ever since Kevin Bacon’s heartfelt endorsement in "Footloose". Oh shit, guess that means we ought to ban "Footloose", eh?).
If you’re looking for a well-worded and carefully thought out rebuttal to this editorial, go to your Google toolbar. There are plenty of them, plenty of smart writers taking up the cause, including the lovely Julia Karr. They advocate for the value and worthiness of these books. But I’m not going to, since I haven’t read any of them yet. No no, this post is just a musing on censorship, and how crazy, effing ridiculously impossible it is. It was ridiculous and impossible when they banned Mark Twain. Because obviously, we have heard of Mark Twain. And people will continue to be aware of Kurt Vonnegut, too. Besides, if you want to keep kids from being exposed to condom usage and homosexuality, you probably want to go after Paris Hilton and the LOGO network. Don’t want them to know about drug use? Stop Lindsay Lohan, and House. Really, you would have to shield them from every TV show and commercial, every celebrity and magazine cover and song lyric and every gyrating Justin Bieber. Does Justin Bieber gyrate? Never mind. Just put the youth of the world into darkly tinted bubbles for the first eighteen years of their life and let them watch nothing but PBS. Then let them out. See what happens. It’ll be like a social experiment.
You know, normally I might rant and rave about what an a-wad this dude is, and how by managing to get Slaughterhouse Five taken off the curriculum he has done something bad, but…I don’t think I will. He’s entitled to his opinion. Even if I don’t agree with it. And the people who have decided to bow to this opinion, well, they’re free to make that decision, even though I wouldn’t. Sometimes I worry that the concept of freedom is getting re-branded into "Freedom for those I agree with". What’s that old adage? I disagree with your view, Sir, but I’ll defend to the death your right to have it…or something like that.