Friday, May 26, 2006

BOOK BANNING STOPPED IN ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILLINOIS

Welcome to ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, SCHOOL DISTRICT 214 , where a persnickety school board member demonmstrated her "dedication" to education by challenging nine "required" books in the school's honor placement courses.

Personally speaking, I find the idea of book banning, even at a high school level, a little disturbing. It conjures images of German Nazis throwing works of classical literature on tremendous bonfires in public squares--a form of barbraism that should have gone the way of the Third Reich and war crimes. But, here we are having another conversation about the far right and it's never-ending attempt to limit what we can see, read, and listen to in the name of public "morality."




For those of you who missed the latest example of congenital imbecility--and you were god awful lucky if you did-- Leslie Pinney, a semi literate school board member from Arlington Heights, Illinois, challenged nine books, including classics and Pulitzer prize winners. Said Pinney: "Some of the books are covering some very controversial issues, and while we had a controversial issues policy withoin our district, perhaps we need to define what controversy is..." Nope. We wouldn't want to do that. NOOOO. We wouldn't want to introduce American students to controversial material. God forbid they might actually be encouraged to think about serious topics in a serious manner!

The books Pinney opted to challenge were as follows:

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien; Beloved, by Toni Morrison; Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; the contemporary classic, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut; The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan; The Awakening , by Kate Chopin; The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, and Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers.

According to one parent, Janet Levin, "I've been in this district for 21 years. It would be really sad if the kind of situation turned out to be where I wouldn't feel comfortable with my children going to school here anymore or feel comfortable teaching." Fellow would be censor, Karen Everlsen agreed. "It's profane; it's sexual; bestiality. This is totally gonna fill their minds and its gonna project them to that kind of life style."

Of course the whole argument might have been convincing if ring leader Pinney had bothered to read all nine of the books in their entirety. "I read many of the excerpts in the books," said Pinney. "And I've read ah two of the books that I am concerned about."

Let me repeat Pinhead's last point just so our readers will understand why these desperate housewives have no real interest in protecting children or morality. Pinney specifically said that she had, read many of the excerpts in the books, and that she had only read two of the books she was concerned about. In other words, she did not read all of the books, and she only took the time to read what she considered the dirty parts in the other seven!

Despite complaints about violence and sexuality, you really have to wonder why a vociferous white woman like Pinney and her anal retentive goon squad are so upset by this. Why are they chewing the carpet over classics and Pultitzer prize winner?. Oh, jeeze. I don't know. Might it have something to do that one of the books discusses the evils of slavery? Might it have something to do with the fact that others discuss the brutality and futility of war? Topics which might be offensive to a bunch of bigoted, pro-war racists? Might it have something to do that one of the books discusses feminism, a topic which is offensive to abusive, domineering males and doormat females who accept the idea that women are inferior to and should take a subservient position to men? Oh hell, let's come right out and say it. Let's get real. This is just another attempt by a bunch of indefatigable cultural warriors who are trying to impose their totalitarian views on the rest of the society.

How far do we want to take their particular brand of fascism? Should we ban The Lorax by Doctor Seuss because it might be offensive to Lumberjacks? Should we ban Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet because it might promote suicide? Maybe we should burn Shakespeare's Scottish Play because it promotes witchcraft, or censor George Orwell's 1984 because it provides such a vivid description of the kind of world in which Pinney wants to live as one of the ruling class? We could ban Frankenstein and Dracula because they are violent books which deal with the occult; and let's not forget Huxley's Brave New World because it presents such an accurate description of the corporate driven, consumer society. Hell, we could even challenge John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, because it offers a lurid picture of what the American landscape will look like after it is ravished by conservative economic policy. On the other hand, we could ban the Old Testament because it conatins graphic examples of homosexuality, incest, war, murder, and utright insanity, or burn every book except the King James Bible and solve the energy crisis by converting our cars, furnaces, ovens, and water heaters to operate on burning books.

I'm very sorry, but Pinney is not concerned about the school; she doesn't give a damn about the children, and she couldn't care less about public morality. This is nothing more than a political tactic by Pinney and her anal retentive supporters to stir up a little free publicity in the year before an Arlington Height's school board election. The one thing Pinney cares about and the only thing Pinney cares about is her own insatiable craving for power. Anyone who saw Pinney and her acquiescent goons on the WGN-TV evening news broadcast of 25 May 2006 understood very well that this was just so much grandstanding for free propaganda, not a legitimate concern about the young people in the community who these frustrated control nuts so clearly want to dominate and deprive. Contrary to Pinney's deceptive rhetoric, School District 214 has an opt out policy which would allow the students to read alternative titles. But that doesn't matter to Pinney; she and her supporters aren't only interested in limiting the options and choices of their own mentally abused children. They are obsessed over the idea of limiting what every student in the district can read or think about.

Translated into the commonvernacular, Pinney and her narrow minded morality police are living proof of what some of us have thought for some time: that those who would challenge, ban, or burn a book, probably wouldn't have the brain power or the patience to read a book in the first place. And if they did actually manage to read one from time to time, they would probably try to deny their deeply rooted sexual problems by projecting those abnormal thought patterns into an attempt at public censorship,

I'm very sorry, but if anyone thinks little Johnny or Mary are going to run out and have an affair with a Doberman Pincher because someone read about it in a book, then I would highly suggest that Mommy and Daddy have not raised their children properly. As a matter of fact I would be more concerned about the so called parents who are concerned about this sort of thing, because they clearly have some genuinely sick fantasies that they need to deal with-- quickly and effectively.

Luckily, the rest of the school board found Pinney's repressive philosophy as narrow and imbecilic as it really is. The School Board voted down her Gestapo tactics on a vote of 6 to 1 in favor of intellectual freedom.

1 comment:

BEAST said...

Book banning is silly.

Books are but tools for learning, and if some great literature is banned from classrooms for the sex of two verses pertaining to sex or its inherents, then we are depriving our future generations a great piece of literary work.

These right wing fools ought to seriously consider their perverse actions first before acting upon it. For if we were to stick stringently on their "moral criteria", the bible would be the first to go.

Regards
The Beast