Author Topic: The Book Banning Begins  (Read 10402 times)

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2022, 06:06:26 PM »
The American Library Association has issued it's yearly report for National Library Week.

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ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.

“The 729 challenges tracked by ALA represent the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong.

The Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 are:

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1. “Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.

2. “Lawn Boy,” by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

3. “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

4. “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

5. “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.

6. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term.

7. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.

8. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.

9. “This Book is Gay,” by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.

10. “Beyond Magenta,” by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2022, 07:56:27 PM »
I don't know any of these books. I picked one at random, The Bluest Eye, and I think there are fair grounds to question its graphic portrayals - depending on the venue. I could also see people saying that it is an important and poignant book and helps kids open up about abuse they've received. I don't think its entirely fair to portray people who don't want it in their school library as racist or homophobic.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-bluest-eye/user-reviews/adult
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/banned-bluest-eye/

TheDeamon

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2022, 07:59:02 PM »
I'm not even sure 1984 should be in a high school anyhow. Parts of it are quite graphic and even gruesome. Not that I wasn't reading Stephen King at the age of 13...but still, it wasn't given to me by my teachers!

1984 was a class reading assignment for me in High School. I recently have been been playing with an Audible+ subscription, where it and Brave New World are available as part of the subscription. I now know why Brave New World wasn't high school reading material. 1984 gets racy in parts. Brave New World goes well beyond that.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2022, 08:50:11 AM »
I think it is also worth acknowledging how many different ways there are to acquire books beyond the school library. They don't have the monopoly they once did. If some teen wants to read Brave New World, all you need is a phone and know that it exists. The full text is available all over the place. But the cloistering of the youth is entirely founded on the fiction that many of them are already creating their own graphic scenes.

TheDeamon

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2022, 12:01:59 PM »
I think it is also worth acknowledging how many different ways there are to acquire books beyond the school library. They don't have the monopoly they once did. If some teen wants to read Brave New World, all you need is a phone and know that it exists. The full text is available all over the place. But the cloistering of the youth is entirely founded on the fiction that many of them are already creating their own graphic scenes.

After "reading" Brave New World by way of Audible, I can see why that one would be controversial.

Between the scenes involving juvenile sexuality (although it doesn't specify age beyond "children"), and otherwise demonstrating a society that has otherwise adopted a view towards sexuality which in present day parlance would be reflective of "free use" attitudes, complete with multiple orgies being mentioned. I can certainly see why that one has normally been kept well clear of K-12 schools.

1984 was positively tame by comparison, even with one of the major characters talking about having had extra-marital affairs with dozens of men.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #55 on: April 05, 2022, 04:03:23 PM »
I don't know any of these books. I picked one at random, The Bluest Eye, and I think there are fair grounds to question its graphic portrayals - depending on the venue. I could also see people saying that it is an important and poignant book and helps kids open up about abuse they've received. I don't think its entirely fair to portray people who don't want it in their school library as racist or homophobic.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-bluest-eye/user-reviews/adult
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/banned-bluest-eye/

I think it comes down again to who chooses for me.

As you said, some people see it as an important and poignant book.  Perhaps they would like their child to read it.

But others say it is overly sexual and pornographic.  They would not allow their child to read it.

But who are they to deny my rights as a parent?  Who are they to say the book should not be available to my child if I would want him to read it, or have no problem with him reading it?  Why do their parental rights override mine?  Why do they get to decide which books are available in the school library for my child and which are not?

They can always instruct their children to avoid certain books.  But I can't instruct my child to find a book that isn't available.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #56 on: April 05, 2022, 04:45:53 PM »
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They can always instruct their children to avoid certain books.  But I can't instruct my child to find a book that isn't available.
Repo

How is it not available for a parent to give to their kid, or for high schoolers to get for themselves? They have all the choice they need. I don't believe they have banned the book from school premises, although even that wouldn't stop them from reading it. Or from doing a report on it, provided they leave out the naughty bits.

The only thing that's happened in these "book bannings" is that they are not in the school library. Out of all the books in the world, how many titles are in school libraries? How many kids are even reading books out of their school libraries?

Harry Potter books have been challenged because there is witchcraft in them! Is it really such a horror if kids don't have access to a mildly entertaining fictional work?

I don't think the parents arguing against the removal of these books are at all concerned that their kids won't get to read them. I think they're concerned that other kids in the school won't get to read them. Otherwise they'd be a birthday present and that would be the end of it.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2022, 04:51:06 PM »
But you still haven't answered the core question: why do these parents get to decide what books are not available for my child to read in the school library?  Especially important books.

Sure, I could buy them the book.  And they could tell their child to avoid the book in the school library.  So why ban it?  Why say, "We can't have this book in the library because I find it nasty."  Why do they get to say what books can't be in the library and I can't say what can be? 

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #58 on: April 05, 2022, 04:59:46 PM »
No no no. They get to decide what books are in the library. Why do they get to decide? They don't. They advocate, and the school board decides. Just like you can advocate that Hugh Hefner's memoirs ought to be in there.

Maybe they don't want their tax money spent to purchase smut. The board is elected. The board responds to popular opinion. Someone else might object to the Art of the Deal being put up in the library.

Let me ask you, if the local school board decided to fill the library with the collected works of Milo Yiannopoulos, does your argument change or do you stand by the idea that parents can tell their kids not to read it?

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2022, 05:09:05 PM »
Well, Milo's an idiot, so I wouldn't worry about my kid reading him.  He'd probably end up laughing at him anyway. :D

I don't even mind Mein Kampf in a school library, and I had to read The Communist Manifesto for a World History class in High School.  So even those books are OK with me.

If it is pure "smut" (as defined by Tom Lehrer's song :) ), I can understand if it isn't included in a library.  We don't need to fill it up (and spend money) on junk.  But a book that is considered important but offends some parents' sensibilities?  No, that isn't a good enough reason.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2022, 11:03:54 AM »
Now public library boards are starting to be overrun by censors.

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With these actions, Llano [County, north of Austin] joins a growing number of communities across America where conservatives have mounted challenges to books and other content related to race, sex, gender and other subjects they deem inappropriate. A movement that started in schools has rapidly expanded to public libraries, accounting for 37 percent of book challenges last year, according to the American Library Association. Conservative activists in several states, including Texas, Montana and Louisiana have joined forces with like-minded officials to dissolve libraries’ governing bodies, rewrite or delete censorship protections, and remove books outside of official challenge procedures. ...

Leila Green Little, a parent and board member of the Llano County Library System Foundation, said her anti-censorship group obtained dozens of emails from country officials that reveal the outsize influence a small but vocal group of conservative Christian and tea party activists wielded over the county commissioners to reshape the library system to their own ideals. ...

Leaders have taken works as seemingly innocuous as the popular children’s picture book “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak off the shelves, closed library board meetings to the public and named Wallace the vice chair of a new library board stacked with conservative appointees — some of whom did not even have library cards. ...

At the county’s main library in Llano, director Amber Milum said in an interview that she had already taken it upon herself to put some books away in a file cabinet in her office as early as August, including two popular read-aloud picture books aimed at amusing kids: “I Need a New Butt!” and “Freddie the Farting Snowman.”

The moves circumvented the library’s established practices on objectionable content — including a challenge form to be reviewed by librarians. Isolating or removing books because of subjective or “personal opinions” — finding the content offensive or distasteful, for example — could open up a library to a First Amendment challenge, experts said.

Meanwhile, Florida education department has rejected submitted mathematics books because they contain Critical Race Theory and Common Core learning concepts.  Of course, they didn't bother to show examples of these forbidden subjects, leaving everyone to guess how it is possible.  ::)

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2022, 01:55:26 PM »
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leaving everyone to guess how it is possible.

1. If Leeroy's polling station is 3 miles from his house and he can go 1 MPH with his walker, and it will take him 195 minutes to get to the front of the line, and it takes 3 minutes to check his identification, when does Leeroy have to leave the house if the polls close at 6pm and he doesn't want to get turned away?

2. If Chad's polling station is 3 miles from his house, and his limousine driver can drive an average of 30 MPH, and it will take 13 minutes to get to the front of the line, and it takes 30 seconds to check his identification, when does Chad have to leave the house if the polls close at 6pm and he doesn't want to get turned away - assuming the poll workers won't extend the hours for him?

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2022, 05:11:12 PM »
Sure, those examples are possible--if a Republican shrill was writing the problems.  ;D  And those examples are precisely what they want you to think they are.

But you know they aren't that blatant.  No where near.  Most likely, you'd have to stand on your head and cross your eyes to see the CRT in them.  (Common Core is easier, since at it's root is teaching children why the math works rather than just making them memorize the process.)  And if it applies to more than a hand full of problems in the books, I would be astounded.

Which, I'm sure, is why they aren't in any hurry to provide examples.  Because most people would be scratching their heads trying to figure out what was so wrong with them.  ;D

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2022, 09:22:08 PM »
Sure, those examples are possible--if a Republican shrill was writing the problems.  ;D  And those examples are precisely what they want you to think they are.

But you know they aren't that blatant.  No where near.  Most likely, you'd have to stand on your head and cross your eyes to see the CRT in them.  (Common Core is easier, since at it's root is teaching children why the math works rather than just making them memorize the process.)  And if it applies to more than a hand full of problems in the books, I would be astounded.

Which, I'm sure, is why they aren't in any hurry to provide examples.  Because most people would be scratching their heads trying to figure out what was so wrong with them.  ;D

I hope you got that I was joking. I didn't think Floridians even taught math judging from the videos.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2022, 10:34:21 AM »
Wasn't quite sure.  Poe's law and all that.  :D

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2022, 01:43:04 AM »
In case anyone is curious, here are examples of the banned math problems from Florida.

Somehow it's offensive to say that there are a percentage of racist people in the U.S.?  ???

Fenring

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2022, 08:37:46 AM »
In case anyone is curious, here are examples of the banned math problems from Florida.

Somehow it's offensive to say that there are a percentage of racist people in the U.S.?  ???

Frankly that sort of reference is a distinctly left-wing dog whistle, so I'm not surprised they called it out. What I'm not so sure of is what the specific objection is to the "emotional learning" segments. If that's a dog whistle it's one I'm not familiar with. Maybe they just think it's too touchy feely?

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2022, 10:11:45 AM »
I made STEM my specialty specifically to avoid having to empathize or have any form of emotional learning. Pullies and levers don't have implicit bias, and Newton's equations don't have a racial coefficient. I'm not an educator so I can't speak to the value of having cross-disciplinary learning - but it feels like a distraction from the manipulation of variables and data. I'd have the publisher scrap the whole chapter.

rightleft22

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2022, 01:05:21 PM »
Going to sound like the Old guy who walk 10 miles to school each day, uphill... both ways

Schools should focus more on the fundamentals of learning and less on the latest culture war topic.  We expect to much from our Teachers and don't pay them enough to be educators and phycologists, sociologist....


TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2022, 01:48:55 PM »
Now if you've got a history class, you can't really avoid what somebody is going to call the "culture war". You have to choose to depict colonialism one way or another. Even more so, political science and sociology. I don't doubt that Florida will go after those books too, but they were smart to use mathematics to frame the debate.

rightleft22

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2022, 04:46:50 PM »
Schools should just drop history class.
Not like there's any danger of history repeating itself. Were much smarter then our forefathers were.
We've given over our thinking to our phones and can read the history ho we want it to be no need to study it. 

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #71 on: April 25, 2022, 05:12:22 PM »
Here's the next round of "guess the offense:"  "Everywhere Babies."

Yes, a picture book about babies, for babies.

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The district's superintendent, Russel Hughes, told WJGH-TV that it was "necessary in this moment for me to make that decision and I did it for just a welfare of all involved, including our constituents, our teachers, and our students."

Yeah, right.

For those of you who aren't afraid of being morally corrupted, here's the entire book being read on YouTube.  Can you find the offensive content?

My guess is scene at the padded play area (at about 2:42).  (Sorry, no page numbers in this tome. :) ) Can anyone spot a more offensive page?  ;D

Of course, you have to look elsewhere to find why it is offensive:

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She [author Susan Meyers] said that her book has been included in lists of LGBTQ-friendly children's books and suspects that is how the school board determined her book should be banned.

This is what the Florida government is telling it's citizens right now: if you're homo-friendly, you'll be banned and cancelled.  Just ask Disneyland. ;)

So tell me again how Conservatives are the new champions of free speech?  ;D

Fenring

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #72 on: April 25, 2022, 06:22:01 PM »
WS,

To be fair I'm sure all the legislators (or whoever they are) aren't reading each book by themselves, but for better or worse are relying on reports. Your article suggest that maybe because the book is included on an LGTB+ 'friendly list' that it was automatically targeted. That would make it a casualty of having the wrong kind of promotion, I guess. If the odd book gets caught in that type of trap I guess I'm not that surprised. That's not a conspiracy, just bureaucratic imperfection.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #73 on: April 26, 2022, 12:03:03 PM »
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That's not a conspiracy, just bureaucratic imperfection.

I don't think one necessarily excludes the other.  ;D

Seriati

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2022, 07:56:09 PM »
The American Library Association has issued it's yearly report for National Library Week.

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ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons.

“The 729 challenges tracked by ALA represent the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong.

The Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 are:

A lie.  Honestly, its a lie.  Not yours, its a lie of the librarians.  Challenged by whom?   They tracked "tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals."  Notice "challenged" or "removed," in fact, the ALA has repeatedly had to admit that virtually none of these outside challenges result in any of the books actually being removed.  Whereas, the librarians themselves are constantly removing volumes - of their own choice - to clear space for new books.  They systematically and without fanfare remove volumes they determine are offensive - based on their own standards. 

How many librarians, members of the ALA, refused to acquire books they disapproved of or even refused donations of those books?  How many passed over books that were totally appropriate for a library because they personally disagreed with the content or depictions of people in those books?  I guaranty that it was far more than 729 librarians and impacted far more than 1600 books and I guaranty that they didn't count those in their list of "most challenged." 

This is nothing but a list of how often "outsiders" disagree with the librarians as to what should be in the library.  But librarians have no special insight or validity on this matter when it comes to substance.  They do have more time and focus and access to professional resources, but that can be used to cover deliberate bias as easily as to reduce it.  As the list demonstrates, they've overwhelmingly selected certain books that offend many communities morals solely on the basis that they serve certain political goals (of the librarians) in overwhelming enough numbers to cause those complaints.  They are literal activists that are whining that their activist choices are not respected.  They don't tend to donate much to politics, but when they do its usually at a ratio of several hundred to 1 in favor of the Democrats.

In fact, they spent half of the press release you cited just tooting their own horns about how trusted they are by communities and how trusted they should be.  But when you use trust to act in ways that those relying on you oppose, it's really an abuse of trust and over time it will cost that trust.  As a group they strongly deviate from the opinions of the population at large, and the more they exploit trust to push their own agendas to the exclusion of the agendas of the communities they serve the less they should be trusted.

The list could just as easily been called the list of volumes that we have tried to push on the communities that we work for because of our own political purposes but to which they have objected.  Less catchy.

wmLambert

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #75 on: May 11, 2022, 07:07:12 PM »
Most referrals on books are not about removal - but to redirect erotic or offensive books out of youth shelves. I remember seeing The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel in the book section reserved for very young kids. The title let it get past the librarians. Once called to their attention it wasn't banned, just put in the adult stacks.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #76 on: May 12, 2022, 03:21:33 PM »
That would be an appropriate response to many such books.  But I don't think that applies to any of the incidents I've talked about.

They want the books completely removed, if not burned.

Ouija Nightmare

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #77 on: May 14, 2022, 07:22:38 PM »
Most referrals on books are not about removal - but to redirect erotic or offensive books out of youth shelves. I remember seeing The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel in the book section reserved for very young kids. The title let it get past the librarians. Once called to their attention it wasn't banned, just put in the adult stacks.

That’s peculiar. Just what sort of qualifications are required to be a librarian in your neck of the woods?

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #78 on: September 01, 2022, 04:12:52 PM »
Conservatives in a Michigan town wanted all LGBTQ books removed from the local library.  The library board refused.  So they defunded the library.

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The Patmos Library in Jamestown Township outside Grand Rapids will lose 84% of its $245,000 annual budget with the failure of the millage renewal in Tuesday's primary election, said Larry Walton, the library board's president. The millage failed with 1,905 no votes to 1,142 yes votes.

A small group of conservative residents campaigned against the renewal because the library refused to remove all LGBTQ material, Walton said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

This one has a happy ending, though.  They opened a GoFundMe page and made up the difference, with the help of Romance novelist Nora Roberts who donated $50,000 to help cover the shortfall for the year.  In fact, they beat their goal, and will have more money this year than last for running the library. :)

wmLambert

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #79 on: September 01, 2022, 05:15:13 PM »
Conservatives in a Michigan town wanted all LGBTQ books removed from the local library.  The library board refused.  So they defunded the library.

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The Patmos Library in Jamestown Township outside Grand Rapids will lose 84% of its $245,000 annual budget with the failure of the millage renewal in Tuesday's primary election, said Larry Walton, the library board's president. The millage failed with 1,905 no votes to 1,142 yes votes.

A small group of conservative residents campaigned against the renewal because the library refused to remove all LGBTQ material, Walton said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

This one has a happy ending, though.  They opened a GoFundMe page and made up the difference, with the help of Romance novelist Nora Roberts who donated $50,000 to help cover the shortfall for the year.  In fact, they beat their goal, and will have more money this year than last for running the library. :)

That's fine, so long as the library handles the books appropriately. My example of The Valley of Horses was an example of lazy librarians - not activists trying to push an agenda on kids. The title let it get past librarians who never read it, or even suspected thay ought to. Librarians are librarians everywhere. There is no Michigan exception to the norm. As a matter of fact. the University of Michigan is a very progressive place that sends many Left-leaning librarians into the world. Books should be available for those who want to read them - but inappropriate books should not be in the kids' section.

One of the books that more posters in this thread should read is The Existentialists Café by Sarah Bakewell.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #80 on: September 01, 2022, 05:31:51 PM »
But, once again, proper handling of inappropriate material was not the issue.  It was having the material in the library.  Simply keeping it in the adult section was not enough.

As one voter said in the article:

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Cody Newhouse, who voted against the millage, told WOOD-TV that even if books are placed in the adult section of the library, children still can access them.

This is echoed in Walton's statement, where he said they campaigned against library funding because they refused "to remove all LGBTQ material."

It's good that you believe that libraries should be allowed to have all types of books, but your liberal attitude is not being embraced by many of your conservative cohorts.  And they are willing to take steps to prevent you from having access to books in your library they don't like, whether you object to them or not. :(

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #81 on: September 27, 2022, 11:08:15 AM »
It's not just business as usual.

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Lopez [chief program officer of free expression at PEN America] said her organization could not recall a previous year with as many reported book bans.

An organization that tracks book bans cannot recall a year with more reported book bans.  It's bad.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #82 on: October 03, 2022, 10:34:49 PM »
Kansas: The Handmaid's Tale, Watchmen, Slaughterhouse Five, etc.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #83 on: October 03, 2022, 11:55:53 PM »
Kansas: The Handmaid's Tale, Watchmen, Slaughterhouse Five, etc.

You are never going to see me get worked up over the removal of comic books, aka graphic novels, particularly ones that show people having intercourse or being raped, from public schools. Graphic novel adaptations are worthy, I'm not denigrating the art form, but lets not confuse them with literature. I know that's not the entire intent of the ban, but the article focuses on that aspect so I am also.

jc44

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #84 on: October 04, 2022, 07:11:39 AM »
Kansas: The Handmaid's Tale, Watchmen, Slaughterhouse Five, etc.

You are never going to see me get worked up over the removal of comic books, aka graphic novels, particularly ones that show people having intercourse or being raped, from public schools. Graphic novel adaptations are worthy, I'm not denigrating the art form, but lets not confuse them with literature.
If you aren't denigrating the art form then you are at least damning with faint praise.
Do you believe that a story told in graphic novel form is inherently less worthy than a similar story in the form of a novel? I will certainly grant that for some stories graphic novels are a poor choice but for others (e.g. environmental description of the unfamiliar) graphic novels can achieve things that are very hard for a novel to pull off.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #85 on: October 04, 2022, 11:00:32 AM »
I think that the Handmaid's Tale in prose is probably is more thought provoking. The words matter.

Graphic novels are better at provoking emotional responses, which is problematic. While a rape survivor might be upset by the description, I imagine it would be more damaging to see a depiction with the agony on someone's face.

Shakespeare as a graphic novel would be meaningless, why? Because its about the words and the construction and the meter, not solely about the story and how we should be empathetic to Romeo and Juliet.

Fundamentally, I believe a school library should be about education and not entertainment, more geared to thought than emotion. I don't believe graphic novels educate as well. They don't teach vocabulary, don't invite imagination. When you have to picture the character yourself, you are being creative. If you just look at how that character is drawn, you are more passive.

There are certainly exceptions. Art students might have a lot to learn from graphic novels. And they can be assigned those materials as part of the curriculum.

I don't think drawn descriptions of sexual themes are a necessity to a student's education, or even particularly valuable.

I don't ever like to speak from ignorance, which is why I'm focusing on this one title. I found a full rendering of the graphic novel. I've read the original, and seen the movie, and the series. I can understand why some parents might not want their child to just stumble across it thumbing through the book that they idly grab off the shelf. While I might personally believe that a child might be better off with earlier and honest exposure to sexual themes in various media, I can't honestly say that my belief should override that of her parents.

msquared

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #86 on: October 04, 2022, 11:04:28 AM »
How about Maus?

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #87 on: October 04, 2022, 11:13:23 AM »
Didn't know anything about Maus. A quick search shows me in TN they wanted to pull it from the curriculum. I will definitely shift more in favor of defending a teacher's right to include material in their own class. In the linked story, it is useful to note that teachers also objected to teaching that curriculum.

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Tom

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #88 on: October 04, 2022, 11:19:54 AM »
My take on graphic novels is that they stimulate different thought centers, but are equally valid as works of art. The visceral punch of a drawing often carries more weight than an equivalent description, all imagination aside, and the drawings themselves often have intrinsic value. The dialogue often has to be punchier and the descriptions are often replaced entirely, meaning that what you're working with is closer to a play or film script. In this sense, I think graphic novels are roughly equivalent to Shakespeare, in that they're mostly dialogue connected to imagery (although Shakespeare, severely constrained by budget, often put his most expensive set-pieces into retrospective dialogue instead of trying to actually depict them.)

Many graphic novels, though, are seriously hampered by the episodic and repetitive nature of the formats preferred by mainstream publishers. This means that big-ticket books (like, say, most superheroes) are often saddled with nonsensical plots and manufactured emotional beats. They aren't all that way, though, and I'd happily put the best graphic novels up against the best films -- albeit not at a 1:1 ratio.

TheDrake

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #89 on: October 04, 2022, 11:34:18 AM »
Once again, I get myself in trouble speaking from ignorance. Looking up one graphic novel adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, it preserved the original dialogue in its entirety. I see no reason why the graphic novel can't enhance the experience for some readers, particularly those of whom are not familiar with Venice. And maybe someone might try to ban it on the grounds that it depicts suicide or running away from home. And by ban, let's be clear, we're talking about removing it from a student library. I really think that's giving a lot of work to the word "ban" that it didn't sign up for. i won't argue that every proposed removal is for valid reasons. My only point in this game is that reasonable people can argue that some of these titles are maybe not appropriate to be included.

NobleHunter

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #90 on: October 04, 2022, 11:35:06 AM »
I love comic book characters and the way they create sprawling and dramatic stories (when done well). I hate everything else about them.

DJQuag

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2022, 04:39:29 PM »
Conservatives. That's why. Short answer.

Anyone offended would be best invested in sorting out the people on "your" side.

Grant

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #92 on: October 12, 2022, 05:29:02 PM »
How about Maus?

I've read Maus, and Watchmen, and plenty of other graphic novels and comic collections like Cerberus, etc. 

It depends on the library.  A school library doesn't need to spend $ on Watchmen or Cerberus or The Dark Knight Returns or 300, anymore than it needs to spend $ getting a copy of X-Men #1 by Claremont and Lee.  Some of those are really really good stories.  Some of them are works of art, visually and story-wise.  But they have next to zero educational or research value, IMO.  Half of them are already movies anyways.  I don't even like Captain Underpants or Nate the Great books in school libraries, so I'm kind of biased.  I like graphic novels.  I've read the best.  Maus is a different story.  It is a sort of cartoonish way of telling real history.  It belongs in a school library because it describes an historic event.  300 does not, despite somewhat describing a historic event, because it tells it poorly, in a propagandish way. 

When it comes to a public library, if they want to put in Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns, that is up to them.  The public should get what the public wants because they are the ones paying for it. 

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My take on graphic novels is that they stimulate different thought centers, but are equally valid as works of art.

Yes, I have no problem declaring them works of art.  But not all works of art have educational value.  Fine Art in it's pure form has no utility other than entertainment and bringing pleasure.  I can imagine an art school wanting some graphic novels in their library, but otherwise I don't think that Superman:Red Son has any educational value.  This may lead to the question, how does any fiction have educational value?  Why does Romeo & Juliet have educational value and Watchmen doesn't?  Why does To Kill A Mockingbird have educational value, but God Loves, Man Kills does not?

I have no clear answer to this.  I would have to think about it.  Perhaps the difference is age, or perhaps the difference is in the amount of fantasy involved in superhero books.  Of course I would not argue against Tolkien, Lewis, Howard, or Martin being in a school's library.  So there may be some inconsistency with my position.  But I'm pretty stead-fast. 

Tom

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #93 on: October 12, 2022, 05:39:12 PM »
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I don't even like Captain Underpants or Nate the Great books in school libraries...
One obvious question might be: what is the purpose of a school library? Is it to make research material available? Is it to give children access to literary canon? Is it to expose children to a curated set of books they might enjoy, in hopes that they will learn to like reading?

I suspect the answer is a solid mix of all three of those, and Nate the Great falls into the third category.

Grant

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #94 on: October 12, 2022, 07:02:44 PM »
I suspect the answer is a solid mix of all three of those, and Nate the Great falls into the third category.

Hmmmm.  It might also be to sell more Nate the Great books at the book fair, since the library gets a cut.

No.  I don't really buy that argument, but I bet some others might, even you. 

That's fine for Nate the Great, or Captain Underpants, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I still don't think that Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns belongs in a middle school or high school library.  Defiantly not in the same Library as Nate the Great.   There are better offerings at those levels to instill a love of reading.  Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or whatever.  Nancy Drew.  I curmudgeon...

I don't necessarily have a problem with ANY of those books or graphic novels.  I just think that a school library, given a limited budget, needs to be selective.  Given a choice between buying a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows or Sin City vol 1, I'll tell you where I think the $ should go. 

The $ taken out of the equation, say the graphic novels are donated, I would have less of an argument, unless space were an issue.  Still probably need to keep most of those in High School libraries. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2022, 07:05:08 PM by Grant »

Tom

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #95 on: October 12, 2022, 08:27:09 PM »
I remember the scandal that broke out in my school district back in 1987, when it was discovered that my high school had copies of The Chocolate War -- which contained a couple frank but not graphic passages about masturbation and sexual fantasy -- available for check-out. The argument then, as now, boiled down to "well, why should we make that book and its questionable content available, when there are plenty of other books? Surely there are better books!"

I wasn't a huge fan of The Chocolate War, and it certainly wouldn't be on my short-list of books for young adults. But that's the thing: it doesn't really need to be a short list. Libraries don't have infinite resources, but most have enough that they can pick up a pretty wide variety of what's out there. Should a high school library avoid a graphic novel depicting full-frontal nudity? Or one of Stephen King's more explicit books? (I know King himself asked to remove Rage, a late-'70s novella about a school shooting he wrote under the pen-name Richard Bachman, from school libraries and eventually from publication because, despite its enormous popularity with students, he came to believe that the content was inappropriate.)

In general, I'm fine with letting librarians have these sorts of conversations with each other, because literally there's an entire field of pedagogy that deals with this sort of question.

Wayward Son

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #96 on: October 13, 2022, 04:31:57 PM »
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That's fine for Nate the Great, or Captain Underpants, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I still don't think that Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns belongs in a middle school or high school library.  Defiantly not in the same Library as Nate the Great.   There are better offerings at those levels to instill a love of reading.  Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or whatever.  Nancy Drew.  I curmudgeon...

Just remember, oh great curmudgeon, is that you're not the one deciding which books are allowed in the library.  It is being done for you.

So while you might think Harry Potter or Percy Jackson are suitable books for a school library, those who don't want their children's minds polluted with witchcraft and pagan gods might disagree, and decide for you that they should not be there.

Remember, this has nothing to do with what you, the students, the educators, or *gasp* the school librarian wants or think is appropriate.  ;)

Grant

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Re: The Book Banning Begins
« Reply #97 on: October 13, 2022, 05:00:26 PM »

Just remember, oh great curmudgeon, is that you're not the one deciding which books are allowed in the library.  It is being done for you.

Thanks, Captain Obvious.  I wouldn't have known that without you.  Can I still give my opinion on whether graphic novels belong in libraries?  That's what I'm mainly here for.  To rub that poor itch so I can become a scab, as Shakespeare would say. 

I don't pretend for it to mean anything other than equal to every other scab's.  I certainly wouldn't vote for me for Librarian.