September 30, 2010

Banned Books

Earlier in the week I read the "let's ban Slaughterhouse Five from our schools" editorial as written by that esteemed scholar Wesley Scroggins, in which he writes: "In English, children are also required to read a book called 'Slaughterhouse Five.'" Kurt Vonnegut's book is just one he believes is unsuitable for students in Missouri's Republic School District. The main target in his editorial entitled "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" is Laurie Halse Anderson's National Book Award nominee, Speak. Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer is also attacked; I'd like to read it for no other reason than that.

Anderson's cause has been taken up all over the Internet, and with this being Banned Book Week, many people are focusing on why books continue to be banned in 2010, particularly in the age of the Internet. As always, I tend to take a skewed view of things. What I find almost as appalling as the idea that 41 years after the publication of Kurt Vonnegut's now-classic novel, this book still requires defense from people whose heads aren't up their asses, is that this supposedly educated professor seems to have never before come across Slaughterhouse Five. I realize that he is not an English professor, but it shocked the hell out of me that any person who has earned a PhD in any field might not be literate.

FYI...the school district's superintendent reports that Slaughterhouse Five has since been removed from the curriculum. Guess that'll leave more time for students to learn chemistry - doesn't Missouri have one of the highest rates of meth lab activity in the country?



shayera said...

It irritates me no end to read stories about book banners. You know, it's fantastic when parents take an interest in what their kids read. But the decisions they make should be for their children alone. They have no right to decide for everyone.
Missouri's book banner homeschools his kids. It really isn't his business what's in the school library.

Laurie Gold said...

I couldn't agree more.