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How to Get Kids to Read in One Easy Step
August 2, 2011 11:09 AM   Subscribe

A Missouri school board has voted to remove Slaughter House Five and another book from the library for "teaching principles contrary to the Bible."

A school board in Republic, Missouri voted 4-0 (with three members not present) to ban Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five and Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer in response to a complaint that the books taught principles adverse to the Bible.

Americans for the Separation of Church and State weighed in. Here's the American Library Association's entry on Slaugtherhouse Five's history of being banned.

There are some who are happy with this development.
posted by Leezie (187 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
More smarts for the rest of us.
posted by theredpen at 11:14 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is my firm belief every teenger should read Kafas' The Trial. But I would not want to impose my will nor take away my means for advocation.
posted by clavdivs at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kafka
posted by clavdivs at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2011


Musta banned the Constitution too.
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a clever way to spark kids' interest in reading Slaughterhouse-Five.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [169 favorites]


It seems many parents and school board members are under the impression that their kids still get their "kicks" from reading classic, American novels, rather than going on the Internet, watching television, talking to their friends or doing any number of things.
posted by fuq at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


Disgusting.
posted by lucien_reeve at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2011


Reclaiming Missouri for Christ is not an organization. It is a vision. It is a blurry vision, because we don't understand image file formats.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


"In this book," Scroggins wrote, "drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex."

Huh.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


To quote the man himself:

"All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States -- and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!"
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


I'm torn....

On one hand, I hate banning books.

On the other, I hate Missouri.
posted by gcbv at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


"In this book," Scroggins wrote, "drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex."

Professor Wesley Scroggins is seven years old, or as he describes it, with seven fingers held up, "This many."
posted by gordie at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [52 favorites]


They also banned dancing, but I figure if the town fire trucks have to stop at the train tracks so does the law, we'll just hold the prom out at the flour mill!
posted by dirtdirt at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2011 [23 favorites]


Next they'll start banning the books where people have sex with their genitals.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


Mr. Scroggins must have obvious balloon animal construction skills that did not impress the local girls.
posted by clavdivs at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Another Missouri law prevents teachers from friending their students on Facebook.
posted by swift at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wesley Scroggins looks like he can make chickens explode by psychic power.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't want to seem naive, but the claim was made that they were removed due to age-inappropriateness.

I don't like that, but it's far worse (IMHO) to have done on it on the ground of "teaching principles contrary to the Bible," as implied by the OP. Not all administrative decisions, even in Missouri, are made for the reasons urged by advocates before the administrative body.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2011


"In this book drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to collect fresh water and purify it with UV radiation."
posted by Iridic at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


The teens were on the beach using their condoms to make babies, and I saw one of the babies, and the baby looked at me!
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:21 AM on August 2, 2011 [52 favorites]


Fuck 'em in the ear.

With stories like this, though, I comfort myself by thinking that Slaughterhouse-Five sure as hell wasn't on my high school curriculum, but I read it in high school anyway.
posted by COBRA! at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011


the baby looked at you?
posted by sweetkid at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


rough metafilter poll on not banning books: The "eyes" have it.
posted by clavdivs at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011


The baby looked at you? Get me Superintendent Haughey.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

Oops, Fight Club is probably banned there, too.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:23 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is my firm belief every teenger should read Kafas' The Trial. But I would not want to impose my will nor take away my means for advocation.

"In a position like yours, and you think you can start giving orders, do you? It won't do you any good to get us on the wrong side, even if you think it will -- we're probably more on your side than anyone you know!"
posted by blucevalo at 11:23 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like how "drunk" "teen" "beach" "condom" and "sex" are all equally evil. ...actually, that's probably about right.
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on August 2, 2011


I've linked it before but this seems like an appropriate thread to do so again: First, Kill All the School Boards.
posted by TedW at 11:24 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know Jesus personally. And he would never ban books.
posted by Kokopuff at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


They thought Republic could use a good Scroggins, because everyone knows Missouri loves company.
posted by Floydd at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


My Missouri relatives still send me chain emails about Jesus. I'm not surprised. It's Dumbfuckistan.
posted by JLovebomb at 11:26 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kafka is one K short of being popular in Missouri.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:26 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


To be fair, reading books does encourage literacy, and we certainly wouldn't want that, would we?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read The Trial as a teen and...could not actually finish it :/ Eventually we got to read Metamorphosis, but The Trial was a bit hard to get into.
posted by hellojed at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2011


These are the kind of people who think Jesus looked like Johnny Unitas, right down to the hair. (There's a haircut you could set your watch to!)
posted by entropicamericana at 11:28 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


This problem will sort itself out in due time. Soon there won't even BE schools.
posted by Legomancer at 11:29 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


In which I launch a contest to come up with a definition for a "Wesley Scroggins".

First prize: a sense of pride at a job well done.
posted by ob at 11:29 AM on August 2, 2011


And so it goes.
posted by pearlybob at 11:29 AM on August 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


I read The Trial as a teen and...could not actually finish it :/

That all right, neither could Kafka.

posted by mr_roboto at 11:30 AM on August 2, 2011 [32 favorites]


I guess I missed the commandment "Thou shalt fire-bomb Dresden for days on end. Let fire and misery rain down upon the innocent and guilty alike, for it makes the powerful happy and is entirely justified in the eyes of the Lord."

These are the same people who'd kill Jesus again, thinking he was a lefty-commie-pinko-fag-hippy.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:30 AM on August 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


"Slaughterhouse Five" was on the summer reading list passed out to advanced English classes between junior and senior years in my public high school. I wrote an essay about it and got an A-. In Texas.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


and so it goes....
posted by clavdivs at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


so it goes.
posted by nadawi at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


damn it! lack of preview!
posted by nadawi at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011


Poo tee weet.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


This problem will sort itself out in due time. Soon there won't even BE schools.

Schools are too liberal anyway. I don't want my kids getting taught by some socialist teacher. Let schools be governed by the free market and lower my taxes.

/ignorant rant.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:33 AM on August 2, 2011


have somebody insert here contrarian takedown copy of slaughterhouse five and vonnegut in general before this goes to submit; would be hip/trendy

keep those pagehits coming!

-- Ed.

posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:33 AM on August 2, 2011


What a clever way to spark kids' interest in reading Slaughterhouse-Five.

Absolutely. In fifth grade at my Christian school, I borrowed a copy of Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret from one of my classmates. My teacher saw me with it and gave me a cautionary talking to about reading it.

After that, nothing on earth could have stopped me from reading it.
posted by orange swan at 11:35 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is that part in Leviticus, "thou shalt not lie down with rolling donuts", and all that.
posted by meadowlark lime at 11:36 AM on August 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I read Slaughterhouse Five and didn't actually enjoy it that much. But now I kinda want to read it again.

Should we call this....The Scoggins Effect?
posted by emjaybee at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is confusing. Did they remove books from the curriculum they felt weren't age-appropriate, or did they ban books from the library for contradicting the Bible?

The former is reasonable, the latter is religious censorship.
posted by Jehan at 11:38 AM on August 2, 2011


or, or, the schoolboard viewed the british free corps/george washington brigade recruitment methods descibed in the book as down right treasonous.
posted by clavdivs at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2011


I just found a lovely little torrent called "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" when googling "Vonnegut torrent".
posted by jeffburdges at 11:41 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does it say about me that I love, love (love), love stories about small towns censoring classic American books? I don't know. But I do know this. I really want someone to make a The Falls-esque documentary about every town that has banned a book from the local public schools in the last hundred years. For each town, a narrator reads a two-minute length passage from the book that was banned. Images on screen vary, but for most towns, a simple and straightforward depiction of daily life (kid in barber shop, man on tractor, woman smoking behind a restaurant) accompanies the reading of the text. For other towns, perhaps a bonfire, or a shooting range, or an accidental drowning.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Didn't vonnegut consider himself a christian? How does banning pacifist literature follow any commands from the 'prince of peace'?
posted by MisplaceDisgrace at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2011


Bet this school board is pretty cool with Huckleberry Finn though. Nothing contrary to the Bible in that.
posted by three blind mice at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I weep for my nation. Or, as Guthrie has it, "So long , it;'s been good to know ya."
posted by Postroad at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2011


How does banning pacifist literature follow any commands from the 'prince of peace'?

Didn't you read the part about sex on the beach? With condoms?
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2011


Jehan, this article answers that question. the father complained about the books for contridicting the bible and the school board removed it from the curriculum/library for age appropriateness. now, it's illegal to remove the books for biblical reasons so the age appropriateness very well might be a false reason, but it's the one they give.

personally, i think it's unconscionable to refuse to teach slaughterhouse-five and then send kids into war a year or two later.
posted by nadawi at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm from Missouri. I read Slaughterhouse-Five in high school. I turned out OK. I think.
posted by zsazsa at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2011


Let me summarize the comments heretofore: GRAR.

GRAR!!!
posted by GuyZero at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011


When your problem is that books are not "age appropriate" for a high school in which the vast majority of the student body could in fact get married if their parents consented (the age is 15, in Missouri), a fair number are permitted to have sex with 40-year-olds if they want (age 17+) and some of them are in fact old enough to smoke, vote, and die for their country besides? You're not using "age appropriate" to mean what most people think it means.

It's one thing to say that okay, we probably shouldn't have a Palahniuk section in the library at the elementary school. This is something completely else.
posted by gracedissolved at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


Didn't vonnegut consider himself a christian?

Pretty sure he was a Secular Humanist, but probably considered himself a Bokononist.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"In this book," Scroggins wrote, "drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex."

mr_roboto: Huh.

It's like he's never used a condom before. Or had sex. Except he has kids, who are home-schooled, and thus (one would think) safe from the terrors of sex with condoms. But good professor Wesley Scroggins is thinking not only of his kids, but those other kids, who might get some shifty ideas from books.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My Missouri relatives still send me chain emails about Jesus. I'm not surprised. It's Dumbfuckistan.

Oh, come on. Missouri is home to two large cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, and very nearly went for Obama in 2008. Painting a state of six million people as ignorant based upon the actions of one very small towns' school board is just as ignorant as banning books.
posted by something something at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2011 [41 favorites]


> Didn't vonnegut consider himself a christian?

Wikipedia sez not so much.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2011


Listen:
Wesley Scroggins has come unstuck in time.
posted by Ratio at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


The Trial was a bit hard to get into

You should have tried some more - you probably misplaced some crucial form or failed to appear at the correct office.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


's
posted by something something at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2011


If they don't want kids to read the book, they should put it on the required reading list. It was decades before I ever got around to Moby Dick.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


How thick was the layer of dust on these books when they went to pull them off the shelves?
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jehan: "This is confusing. Did they remove books from the curriculum they felt weren't age-appropriate, or did they ban books from the library for contradicting the Bible?"

Well, this *is* the town that tried to get the Jesus Fish to be part of the town logo, so...
posted by notsnot at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2011


If I were rich, I'd send a complimentary copy to household served by that school board.
posted by jquinby at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2011


Bookhouse I cannot like your comment enough haha.
posted by karmiolz at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2011


did i read correctly that the guy who complained doesn't even have kids who go to the school?
posted by nadawi at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2011


Even worse than the sex on the beach objection is this, in his editorial:

...The cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning.

Where does he think he lives? As someone who grew up in Southern Missouri, I can tell you that this is often reality. How can that be objected to? But this was about Speak, the one they're keeping. Ha!
posted by bibliophibianj at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2011


Dear Professor Scroggins:

Music, movies, and the internet are FULL of sexual material, much of it more explicit than the books that were banned, following your suggestion. Kids can even get this material on their smart phones, away from your oversight and scrutiny.

And now kids at these schools will want to know what is in these forbidden books, which they can get from your local library system. Here, let me show you: Slaughter House Five, is available both as an E-Audiobook and a physical book (which has 8 holds currently), and Twenty Boy Summer is only available in physical form, and all 13 copies are checked out.

Have you heard of Barbra Streisand? Perhaps you should search for her (I promise, it's safe), or just look for her house.

Sincerely,
filthy light thief
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't want to seem naive, but the claim was made that they were removed due to age-inappropriateness.

They can claim anything they want., but we're talking about a high school library. If students are having sex on the beach (with or without condoms), why is it age-inappropriate to read about it?
posted by muddgirl at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2011


Another Missouri law prevents teachers from friending their students on Facebook.

From the bill text (pdf):
(4) "Work-related internet site", any internet website or webpages used by a teacher for educational purposes.

3. No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a work-related internet site unless such site is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian.

4. No teacher shall establish, maintain, or use a nonwork-related internet site which allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a teacher from establishing a nonwork related internet site, provided the site is used in accordance with this section.
Read literally, the definition of "work-related internet" site doesn't limit itself to teacher-student communication, so the plain meaning of this section is that all parents/guardians must be allowed to read teachers' email at will. I presume this also means that student email accounts need a parent backdoor, and that any emails between, say, a student and a school counselor are subject to snooping by parents.

Anyway, I was Facebook friends with a number of my former teachers well before I turned 18, and even saw some of them on social occasions, including one who I attended Macworld with every year. That may be atypical, but the idea here is that teachers, who are supposed to be these inspirational role models to their students, are pretty much banned from any kind of electronic contact with their former students until they turn 18. The truly gifted teachers are teachers whether you're in their class or not. It's awfully sad to ban that as a matter of law rather than addressing the actual issue.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


They'll let pretty much anyone be a professor now.
posted by DU at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2011


did i read correctly that the guy who complained doesn't even have kids who go to the school?

Exactly, they're homeschooled. The error here is expecting people like this to use logic and reason in their arguments.

(people like scroggins, not people who are homeschooled.)
posted by elizardbits at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2011


Okay, so just for the record the "teaching principles contrary to the Bible" quote isn't from the school board itself, it's from this Scroggins guy who wrote the original complaint to the school board. According to this Springfield paper the stated reasoning for removing Slaughterhouse Five was
Citing crude language and adult themes, Minor said "Slaughterhouse Five" was more appropriate for college-age students.

"The language is just really, really intense," he said. "I don't think it has any place in high school ... I'm not saying it's a bad book."
...Vern Minor being the superintendent.
posted by XMLicious at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2011


Twenty Boy Summer!? are you kidding me?

It's a beautifully written YA novel about a teen girl who, while getting over the death of her best friend's brother, with whom she had a secret relationship, has a summer romance. The (single instance of) sex is age-appropriate, safe, honest and well-handled -- it's very, very tame. I mean, the envelope in YA literature is like waaay over there at this point, and TBS doesn't even come close.

It's so utterly random where these censors choose to fling their hysterics.
posted by changeling at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I were rich, I'd send a complimentary copy to household served by that school board.

I'm in a writers' group with Sarah Ockler, and when this first came up, we paid for 60 copies of TWENTY BOY SUMMER, and her publisher kicked in 40 more for an even one hundred. And we gave them away to libraries, including every public library in Republic, MO.

As a note, TWENTY BOY SUMMER was not removed from curriculum, or a summer reading list, or a required reading list. It wasn't required, or part of a class, or even optional. It was simply sitting in the high school library, available to be checked out by high school students if they chose.
posted by headspace at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is the same town that was sued by the ACLU in 1998 because it included the Christian ichthus symbol in its new town logo. As a reporter at one of the local TV stations, I covered the story over the course of several months. While some officials and attorneys defended the logo by saying that the ichthus wasn't exclusively associated with Christianity, the people who lived in the town had it right. At one council meeting, citizen after citizen got up to say that they knew the ichthus was a symbol of Christianity, and since the town was mostly Christians it made sense to have it on the logo. Here were people who simply didn't believe in separating church and state, and were proud of it. So I wasn't surprised to see this latest development.

I must add that reason did prevail in the end, and the council voted to remove the ichthus, leaving that quadrant blank. In my last story on the issue, I was impressed and moved at the thoughtful way people talked about it.
posted by underthehat at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


From the comments on the "some who are happy" link:
What is upsetting to many is that this choice was based on language and explicit sexual content. If it were somehow “academically” challenging and removed I would understand your concern. However, those two books did not teach the children anything about English, sentence structure, grammar, etc.
So the only books that are "academically challenging" are... grammar books? You want people to understand the English language but never actually use it?
posted by brundlefly at 11:59 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The board adopted the standards -- which cover language, violence, sexuality and illegal substances -- in April and those standards have since been applied to the three books.

The board adopted new standards that just happened to eliminate two out of three books complained about? And no other books?

Does the library contain a copy of the Christian Bible? That's a book chock full of violence and sexuality.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you BEEN to St. Louis though, something something? Pretty much every other billboard in that town is a picture of the Virgin Mary crying while holding a fetus made of light in her hands
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


If the requirement is age appropriateness, it would make more sense to make sure Vonnegut books are ONLY in high school libraries.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:01 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Burn.
posted by muddgirl at 12:02 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


and do not add your students to facebook
posted by robbyrobs at 12:02 PM on August 2, 2011


Yes, I've lived in St. Louis. I would not characterize is as an especially religious place.
posted by something something at 12:02 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I ban the Missouri school board for teaching principles contrary to the separation of church and state?
posted by asnider at 12:03 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Slaughterhouse Five is anti-war, and therefore anti-Republican, which means it must be against the teachings of the bible
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you BEEN to St. Louis though, something something? Pretty much every other billboard in that town is a picture of the Virgin Mary crying while holding a fetus made of light in her hands
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 2:00 PM on August 2 [+] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by jquinby at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK seriously though, I read Slaughterhouse-Five in high school, and I don't remember any "intense language" at all, especially considering that it's a book about war.

I mean, they do study war in Missouri, don't they? During our WWI unit junior year, our history teacher spent an entire class period reading us letters from soldiers that were much more graphic than Vonnegut's description of the Dresden bombing.
posted by muddgirl at 12:06 PM on August 2, 2011


Does the library contain a copy of the Christian Bible? That's a book chock full of violence and sexuality.

I'm going to that town to hand-out pamphlets containing only the violent and sexual parts of The Bible.

Who's with me?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:06 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Intense language? Have they never heard high-schoolers talk?
posted by maxwelton at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2011


Man, watch out! I'll bet Ren Mc Cormick will be PISSED and dance or something.
posted by foxhat10 at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2011


Have you BEEN to St. Louis though, something something? Pretty much every other billboard in that town is a picture of the Virgin Mary crying while holding a fetus made of light in her hands

St. Louis Catholics have nothing to do with this story. Southern Missouri is very different (and three hours away) from St. Louis.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:09 PM on August 2, 2011


muddgirl:

"The board adopted the standards -- which cover language, violence, sexuality and illegal substances -- in April and those standards have since been applied to the three books.

The board adopted new standards that just happened to eliminate two out of three books complained about? And no other books?

Does the library contain a copy of the Christian Bible? That's a book chock full of violence and sexuality."

I don't know where italicized language is from. But that language itself doesn't in any way suggest that it was applied to "no other books."
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2011


Ugh. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
posted by sc114 at 12:12 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


*
posted by edgeways at 12:12 PM on August 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


"And on and on it went that duet between the dumb, praying lady and the big, hollow man who was so full of loving echoes."
posted by Smedleyman at 12:14 PM on August 2, 2011


Why are conservative religious people so scared?
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on August 2, 2011


I don't know where italicized language is from. But that language itself doesn't in any way suggest that it was applied to "no other books."

The italicised language is from the first page of the second article linked to in the FPP (I avoid the Huffington Post out of concerns for my blood pressure). I found no indication in that article that any other books were banned, and it seems like something that would be mentioned in an article about, you know, books being banned.
posted by muddgirl at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2011


You know how crappy hosts/MCs sometimes divide an audience into two parts and ask each in turn to make more noise than the other?

I would like to see two half-audiences -- one half the group that seeks to restrict library or school books on religious or other "conservative" grounds, and the other half those who decry anything that seeks to inhibit freedom of the shelves -- and see which can whip itself into a more hysterical frenzy.

I am not sure who'd win, and I say that as someone who has opposed on its particular merits every book removal decision I can recall.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2011


Some more about Wesley Scroggins.

From his News-Leader rant, "Filthy books demeaning to Republic education," in which he argues that my review of the eighth-grade sex education curriculum revealed that children at the middle school are being introduced to concepts such as homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex and specific instructions on how to use a condom and have sex." The article mentions at the end that the school's sex ed curriculum is abstinence-based.

Here's his complaint to the school board (PDF). His complaint is much broader than simply that children are being allowed to read soft-core pornography. I quote:

The school uses textbooks that teach errors about American history and government. The district also teaches evolution in science classes and covers inappropriate content in sex education classes. This is not conductive (sic) to a moral education that produces an educated American citizenry.

Further, he states the action he wants the board to take:

Discontinue the use of textbooks and any materials that create false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth. (Emphasis mine.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


and the other half those who decry anything that seeks to inhibit freedom of the shelves

I think it would be hard to find enough of these people to fill even a half-audience.
posted by muddgirl at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bookhouse, something something spoke of Missouri as being home to two large cosmopolitan cities, St. Louis and Kansas City. That's why I mentioned it, because I would characterize St. Louis by far as being the most religious town I've ever lived in, particularly in some of the poorer suburbs. Missouri is a peculiar place, religion-wise -- there are many Catholics in the cities but the Catholicism is of a particularly evangelical, charismatic kind, again, especially among the poorer people and as you move into more rural areas. I definitely found Missouri to be unusual in its religious attitudes, even in its cities.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the early '80s, Island Trees School District in New York also banned Slaughterhouse Five from its high-school libraries, along with a few other books. A First Amendment case was raised, it went to the Supreme Court, and Island Trees got slapped down.

The same book and the same age group. The circumstances are almost exactly the same, aside from which district did the banning. So yeah, it's unconstitutional.
posted by skymt at 12:22 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why are conservative religious people so scared?

I suspect it's because back in the 70s and 80s they transitioned from their traditional century-old stance of arm's length engagement with mainstream American culture into a confrontational wedge to be used as a tool by socially conservative right-wing politicians and now, two generations in, it's biting them on the ass because sex and drugs and rock and roll and embracing teh ghey are a helluva lot more fun than piety and self-hatred. Just a theory.

We're watching the evangelical bubble pop, I hope.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Clearly Justice Brennan was whipped into a hysterical frenzy.

However, if I've learned anything from Metafilter, it's that weasily language can change whether or not something is unconstitutional. Brenner wrote that
local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to "prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion."
Mr. Minor says the book was removed not because of the ideas or opinions, but because of the language.
posted by muddgirl at 12:26 PM on August 2, 2011


Here's the online text (which someone thoughtfully typed out in a forum somewhere) of Vonnegut's reply to the School Board of Drake, ND, who also banned this book. (Apologies if someone's linked it before in the thread.)
posted by LucretiusJones at 12:28 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hi, I have ran about a dozen school board elections. Let me tell you just how low the bar is for entry. In one of the largest school districts in the state of New York I ran three people for three open seats in one election.
1) An attorney with kids in the district who was passionate and dedicated to reform.
2) A deranged perennial candidate who wanted to bring back corporal punishment.
3) A person so inexperienced so underqualified the only talking point we came up with was that she was a single mom, and even that was stretching the truth a bit.

Why did I run the last two? Because they were still better than the other candidates and existing board members and no one wants to run for an office with long hours and no/little pay, prestige, or results.

School boards attract people who either have ambition for higher office who are competent but otherwise could give a shit about the schools, or people with ambition for higher office who are so awful they cant escape the school board.

And these horrible people who should be serving time rather than serving on a board get elected time and time again (the attorney defeated a 15 year incumbent who rarely showed up to meetings and physically assaulted another board member) because no one votes. I know, I know. People say that about every election. But it is worse here. As in, I can get you a seat on the school board if you promise to get your friends, family, and neighbors to vote for you.

So these stories about school boards declaring Jesus king and evolution bunk are not surprising and I bet if I looked in the voter file 90% of us wouldn't have voted in any school board races before.

I need a drink.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:32 PM on August 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


'In this book,' Scroggins wrote, 'drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex.'

Well, that does sound sinful, unlike wholesome Biblical activities like Lot's daughters getting him drunk so they could "lie with him" or David hooking up with married Bathsheba.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:33 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Missouri, for on occasion making Kansas look not quite as bad.
posted by secondhand pho at 12:36 PM on August 2, 2011


How in the world grown adults adhere to beliefs so shaky that facts, questions, and literature, are seen as THREATS is beyond me. Such insecurity belies a deep philosophical conceit: that said beliefs are contrary to reason, and that said beliefs are, by their very nature, the product of willful ignorance.

It seems we live in a country where inquiry is demonized and leaps of faith have been fetishized as the modus operandi for political decisions, moral questions, and worldview making.

It only takes one light in a dark room to change the scenery. I keep telling myself that. Over and over and over...
posted by whimsicalnymph at 12:36 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


> The baby looked at you? Get me Superintendent Haughey.

Late to the party, but that's Supernintendo Haughey.
posted by davelog at 12:41 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The school board of Republic, Missouri can take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon.
posted by Zozo at 12:43 PM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Here's the online text (which someone thoughtfully typed out in a forum somewhere) of Vonnegut's reply to the School Board of Drake, ND, who also banned this book. (Apologies if someone's linked it before in the thread.)
posted by LucretiusJones at 2:28 PM on August 2 [2 favorites +] [!]


FYI LucretiusJones' link goes to a white racialist forum.
posted by goethean at 12:44 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I definitely found Missouri to be unusual in its religious attitudes, even in its cities.

See, that's interesting to me. I grew up in the Ozarks and lived in St. Louis for many years, and to me the religious ferver of the Ozarks (where this story takes place) is so intense that St. Louis appeared very mild in comparison.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:44 PM on August 2, 2011


"...where they use their condoms to have sex" just has me in stitches. I'm even more surprised he didn't say "to have... *looks around* you know.... S-E-X!"
posted by xedrik at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2011


Does Ms. Gurdon honestly believe that a sexually explicit YA novel might somehow traumatize a teen mother? Does she believe that a YA novel about murder and rape will somehow shock a teenager whose life has been damaged by murder and rape? Does she believe a dystopian novel will frighten a kid who already lives in hell?

Author of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian talks about such silliness.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The good folks at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library are getting a thing organized on facebook where they'll send a free copy of the book to any student in that district who asks.

(Such is my recollection -- I can't access FB here at work to confirm.)

In any event, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is a wonderful institution deserving of your support.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:59 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


something something: "Oh, come on. Missouri is home to two large cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, and very nearly went for Obama in 2008. Painting a state of six million people as ignorant based upon the actions of one very small towns' school board is just as ignorant as banning books."

I have it on good authority that the good parts of each of those towns actually exists on the Not Missouri Side.
posted by pwnguin at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


So what exactly is the argument this guy has against Slaughterhouse Five? If kids read it they will...go to hell? If one were to follow his 'logic' there is no way he could convince anyone that Slaughterhouse Five is somehow more harmful than a whole slew of video games, television shows and movies - that these kids have access to every day. I guess they think if they can control the kids during school hours then all will be well.

It is an odd decision by the board if only because they apparently let one citizen [or one small group of them] determine the ban. But also odd because this will make the kids want to read the books now. If the board said absolutely nothing and quietly took the books off the curriculum the books would stay off the kid’s radar.

So not only is the decision to ban the books odd but they have proved they don’t even know how to ban books. Sheesh.
posted by Rashomon at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2011


Fry and Laurie's take on this from years ago.
posted by juiceCake at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


ZenMasterThis: I'm going to that town to hand-out pamphlets containing only the violent and sexual parts of The Bible.

If you illustrated the stories and made them available in little printed pamphlets, you could probably get them distributed as Chick Tracts.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2011


Maybe they're throwing a bone to the nutjob. It would be amusing if they next banned the Bible, so as to be fair and balanced. And then maybe nutjob would re-consider his ill-conceived ideas about publication bans.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2011


Couldn't we just spank the books? It seems that would keep the corporal punishment people, the book-haters and the bibliophilic dominatrices happy.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:28 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Super! The value of my first edition just went up.
posted by thebestusernameever at 1:31 PM on August 2, 2011


Conservative people are scared because they are conservative. The clue's in the word.
posted by seanyboy at 1:32 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slaughterhouse can be a bit of a gateway drug. This is just preventative action to keep kids from a lifelong Ice-9 addiction.
posted by mannequito at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to that town to hand-out pamphlets containing only the violent and sexual parts of The Bible.

That wouldn't be a pamphlet, it'd be a novella.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes me unhappy when these types of things are used to condemn an entire state.

As an Iowan, I recently was on the receiving end of that when this lunatic right-wing Christian organization published its "Marriage Vow" and tried to get presidential candidates to sign it. The Gawker comments were merciless!

There are some really great things about my state, and some really great people who live here and like it, and who weren't involved in this ridiculous regressive nonsense. I suspect something similar is probably true of Missouri!
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Really, if you just divide the world up between those people who'd put the strange thing in their mouth and those who think this might be a bad idea, then you get a pretty good sense of why liberals and conservatives are different and why we need them both in the world. Of course, this doesn't help when they try to ban books, but its worth remembering when trying to deal with them.
posted by seanyboy at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2011


I grew up in the Ozarks and lived in St. Louis for many years, and to me the religious ferver of the Ozarks (where this story takes place) is so intense that St. Louis appeared very mild in comparison.

I think it depends where you live -- a person in the Central West End is inhabiting a totally different city than a person in Bridgeton. Homeschooling for reasons of religion was rampant in our district, and we had people in our parish who drove in from rural areas and lived 12 to a falling-down farmhouse, that type of thing.

Of course, something something's point absolutely stands -- you can't dismiss a whole state as ignorant based on the actions of a few people. But I think it's fair to say that something odd is going on in Missouri, and I speak as a person who's also lived in places like Ohio and Colorado Springs.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2011


It makes me unhappy when these types of things are used to condemn an entire state.

My sympathies from the great state of Texas. Out of curiosity, is any state exempt from this?
posted by muddgirl at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2011


Banning Slaughter House Five is analogous to banning humanity, or the twentieth century. Or optometry.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, they don't like sexual references, huh?

There's a Saint for that:

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it..."
posted by Slackermagee at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why are conservative religious people so scared?

Because God's watching. A loving, caring god that just waiting to dish out some serious fucking hurt. Duh.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Banning Slaughter House Five is analogous to banning humanity, or the twentieth century. Or optometry.

Oh, don't worry about optometrists. They'll be fine. Try to do anything to them and they'll see it coming.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I went to high school in Branson, Missouri. I can still remember well, having snuck into the rated-R Lethal Weapon movie, being 'discovered' by my social studies teacher and her girlfriend, who sat next to me and lightly teased me when Mel Gibson's ass came on screen.

At the same school, I heard the physics professor once remark, upon seeing his success at requesting a fancy new chair, opine to the class, "damn, if I'd known we had this kinda money to spend, I woulda requisitioned me a new n*****".

Missouri is a place full of people of all sorts.
posted by nomisxid at 1:55 PM on August 2, 2011


Why would a physics professor need a nightstand?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he's sleeping in class he is a bad physics professor
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:58 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, is any state exempt from this?

I don't think so, but people from other states like to feel superior to other other states, so we always end up with a bunch of "man $_State sucks so bad".

I almost think someone should do a 50+ link post with sucky politicians/school board decision, one from each state and major territory.
posted by edgeways at 1:59 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"School boards attract people who either have ambition for higher office who are competent but otherwise could give a shit about the schools, or people with ambition for higher office who are so awful they cant escape the school board. "

Hey, man, I ran because I don't want my kids to go to crap schools and I got tired of stupid stuff that was easy to fix being unfixed. I think I'd rather stab myself in the eye than run for higher office, school board politics is plenty ugly.

"I have it on good authority that the good parts of each of those towns actually exists on the Not Missouri Side."

I'm pretty sure East St. Louis is not the good part of St. Louis.

"is any state exempt from this?"

We had a parent attempt to get "Iggie's House" banned. For being racist. I am sadly not kidding. (Luckily I happened to run into the district media liaison in advance who mentioned what was up, or else I would have laughed out loud in public session when it was brought up, which never goes over well. It's also good when I have 20 minutes to come up with a better response than, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."*)

*Which I suppose is another good reason not to run for higher office.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:26 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sorry about that. Mods--if you could wipe my first link so no one gets On a List. Here's a non-racialist (and better spelled) transcription of the letter.

Relevant portion:

If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young. It was evil deeds and lying that hurt us.
posted by LucretiusJones at 2:29 PM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Living in Springfield, being in the same county as Republic, this does not surprise me in the least. People here believe ignorance is bliss, and opinion is fact.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:34 PM on August 2, 2011


Hey, man, I ran because I don't want my kids to go to crap schools and I got tired of stupid stuff that was easy to fix being unfixed. I think I'd rather stab myself in the eye than run for higher office, school board politics is plenty ugly.

You are correct. I was having a big ol' mug of bitters while complaining about the generally terrible quality of school board candidates and neglected to list the third minority category, which you and the attorney I mentioned fall in to. You have my admiration. School Board politics is ugly and it is next to impossible to get anything done. Thanks for your work, someone has to be the adult in the room.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:06 PM on August 2, 2011


When a friend of mine was in (a US) high school, he got called a Communist (extra phlegm on the capital C) for reading 'Brave New World'.

And now? Look how far we've come! Proof that, while the body might evolve, the mind is liable to dally in the valley. So it goes.
posted by Twang at 3:06 PM on August 2, 2011


Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, William S. Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, Joseph Pulitzer, Tennessee Williams and T.S. Eliot all came from Missouri.

The president who won World War II was born in Missouri. The astronomer who discovered the existence of galaxies outside our own was from Missouri.

It is not, indeed, Dumbfuckistan.

But it could be, some day, if the brand of conservative ignorance on display in this book banning incident prevails. People in other states, take note: this sort of thing happens everywhere. It can happen in Washington state. It can happen in California. It has happened in New York (Slaughterhouse Five was once banned from a school district in Long Island) and Maine and Vermont.

Those of us who believe in the power and usefulness of knowledge and reason should stand in solidarity to fight the anti-intellectualism across the United States. Missouri could use your help more than your derision. If you want to make a difference, write a school board a letter or send some kids some books.
posted by BlueJae at 3:54 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


And here I thought our country was built on the separation of church and state.

Silly, silly me, I suppose.
posted by KodyKeplinger at 4:03 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Swapped the link in the original comment, LucretiusJones.
posted by cortex at 4:04 PM on August 2, 2011


Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, William S. Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, Joseph Pulitzer, Tennessee Williams and T.S. Eliot all came from Missouri.

There are, in fact, a heckuva lot of notable Missourians, many of whom are (or were in their lifetimes) very outspoken Leftists.

Also, Walt Disney.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on August 2, 2011


I live not too far from Republic, Missouri.

That's why I spend all my spare time on metafilter.
posted by crackingdes at 4:20 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, all these religious fanatic, social losers, finally got married to the other losers they could find. Then they had kids. If the kids grow up in a regular public school system, they are going to know their parents are contorted losers, and likely tell them so. You know how teenagers are. These individuals thought if they "did" the right thing, managed to get married, and actually reproduce, they could have a kingdom of their own, with no unflattering mirrors, which teenagers tend to be. The teenager's "biggest crime," is either growing up to be just like their parents, or countering them. Social contortions won't change the fact that these book-banners are losers, losers, losers, with some power but, they is what they is.
posted by Oyéah at 5:08 PM on August 2, 2011


Kody!! Welcome to Metafilter!
posted by headspace at 5:14 PM on August 2, 2011


There are, in fact, a heckuva lot of notable Missourians, many of whom are (or were in their lifetimes) very outspoken Leftists.

Also, Walt Disney.


Disney was born in Chicago and was a Republican.
posted by clavdivs at 5:35 PM on August 2, 2011


Disney was born in Chicago and was a Republican.

He was raised in Marceline and Kansas City, Missouri. (And I said Also, not Including.)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2011


well it's ok then...how about the liberal part or do you have some ACME product for that.
posted by clavdivs at 5:53 PM on August 2, 2011


I propose that 'scroggin' be used as a synonym for 'fuckin' from here on. "Man, I'm too tense; I could use a hard scroggin' right now!' sort of thing. If it catches on, he will have to be banned from Republic schools himself. Problem solved.
posted by barrett caulk at 6:22 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


how about the liberal part or do you have some ACME product for that.

Gah. Dude. I know Disney was a crazy Nazi asshole. That was the point. WAS JOKE

And you seem to be under the misapprehension that he did the Roadrunner cartoons, which, what?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:43 PM on August 2, 2011


Huh. Didn't realize someone had wound the clock back to 1952. Since we're here though, are The Honeymooners on tonight?
posted by dry white toast at 7:06 PM on August 2, 2011


I thought as much.....kurt russellkurt russellkurt russellkurt russellkurt russellkurt russell.
Welcome to ACME Corporation.
posted by clavdivs at 7:17 PM on August 2, 2011


And here I thought our country was built on the separation of church and state.

Silly, silly me, I suppose.


I was actually told a while back by a classmate (barely out of high school, he), that I was going to hell, for believing in that selfsame separation.

I don't talk a lot to my classmates, now.
posted by Archelaus at 7:32 PM on August 2, 2011


The president who won World War II was born in Missouri.

I thought Stalin was from Georgia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:55 PM on August 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, some folks just aren't happy unless they're upset about something.
posted by Rockear at 8:12 PM on August 2, 2011


At the beginning of my senior year "honors" English class, the teacher proudly proclaimed that we would be studying "controversial" works that had been banned in darker times. The enlightenment was upon us and, due to our superior intellects, we could see through the issues that smaller minds had gotten hung up on. Edgy books like Huck Finn, and Catcher in the Rye.

I quickly realized, though, that she was no more enlightened than the rest of the crappy teachers at my crappy suburban high school. She only had delusions of intellect and aristocracy.

Being my senior year, I was on the hunt for colleges (like most of my peers). A front runner in the search was Bennington College. On a visit to the campus, they had proudly claimed Bret Easton Ellis as a graduate, who at that point was famous for the book and movie "Less Than Zero". "American Psycho", also by B.E.E., had just came out.

Having read reviews of "American Psycho" in the New Yorker and the Washington Post, I was intrigued and bought a copy. One day in English class, without really thinking about it, I set my copy of "American Psycho" down on my desk at the beginning of class.

When the teacher passed by my desk during class, mid-lecture, she gasped when she saw the book. "Get that pornography out of my class!" she insisted. I was sure it was a joke. I laughed. She insisted again, she was dead serious. I laughed and said "no". Again, she demanded. I refused, claiming it was literature, reviewed in the most serious publications, a subject of discussion in learned circles, had been written by an alumni from a college I was considering attending.

She sent me to the principal's office.

I explained my case to the principal (who was actually a pretty cool, savvy dude). He agreed with my point, that it was literature, though perhaps too controversial. He asked, as a favor, if I would not bring my book to class. I told him I was going to make a stand, I wanted to point out the teacher's hypocrisy to herself and the class, take a stand against stupid pronouncements of "pornography", against censorship. He knew he was on the losing end of a tough debate, and released me. I walked straight back to class, put the book face up on my desk, and resumed class (to everyone's amazement). She was furious.

That book made the rounds every day before and after class. We would all snicker at the nasty pornographic bits. Because, after all, it was pretty pornographic.
posted by karst at 8:24 PM on August 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


This makes me think of the student who was running a banned-book library out of her locker. Maybe someone will fill the niche here too.
posted by homunculus at 8:30 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone should stand on street corners or go door to door in this town distributing copies of Slaughterhouse-Five. If I lived nearby I'd do it. I'd be happy to send or purchase a copy for this cause. Also, public readings.
posted by neuron at 9:04 PM on August 2, 2011


this is a big win for Twenty Boy Summer.
mentioned in the same breath as Slaughterhouse Five and nationwide free publicity ahoy!
posted by Bwithh at 9:06 PM on August 2, 2011


"In this book," Scroggins wrote, "drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex."

OK fine. I'll be the immature one here. Does anyone else find it ironic (and yet fitting) that the person offended by drunken sex on the beach is named "Scroggins?" Really?

I doubt it is lost on the students impacted by the ruling.
posted by J.W. at 9:54 PM on August 2, 2011


This is bush league, Missouri. I'll be impressed when you finally get around to banning beaches and vaginas.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:56 PM on August 2, 2011


GET YOUR BIKINI, HARRY!
posted by clavdivs at 10:03 PM on August 2, 2011


Small minds, believing in a fragile God.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:25 PM on August 2, 2011


Christ, what an *
posted by braksandwich at 10:42 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


and very nearly went for Obama in 2008

But still it didn't go for Obama. Even INDIANA went for Obama. There is no hope for Missouri. It gave us Ashcroft and I will never forgive them for that.
posted by readyfreddy at 11:11 PM on August 2, 2011


So I dug up some local level election results...

Remember how one of the few bright spots in the 2010 cycle was when Missouri's voters passed that proposition against puppy mills? Not in Republic.

59 percent of its good citizens voted to keep torturing puppies. So that's fun.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:47 PM on August 2, 2011


Meanwhile, in Iran: Iran's supreme leader attacks 'harmful' books
posted by homunculus at 12:15 AM on August 3, 2011


I haven't read Slaughterhouse 5, but Cat's Cradle was pretty existentially upsetting to me growing up. Then again, so was everything.

Still, I wish I hadn't been read The Lottery as a kid.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:18 AM on August 3, 2011


"In this book," Scroggins wrote, "drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex."


I guess you're old enough to know
Kids out on the West Coast are screwing in the surf
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:21 AM on August 3, 2011


Remember how one of the few bright spots in the 2010 cycle was when Missouri's voters passed that proposition against puppy mills? Not in Republic.

Well, to be fair, the wonderful elected legislators of the state turned around immediately and passed a law that substantially revised the Anti-Puppy Mill bill. So obviously, there was some kind of silent majority who wanted to vote against the bill but didn't.
posted by Atreides at 7:11 AM on August 3, 2011


It gave us Ashcroft and I will never forgive them for that.

Funnily enough, Ashcroft was available for the AG position because he was beaten in a Senate race by a dead Democrat.
posted by zsazsa at 8:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aside from the unconstitutional church-state fusion this decision entails, it's interesting that this school board believes that these books "teach principles", anti-Christian or otherwise, at all. They seem to think that since (in their view) the Bible is a prescriptive document not to be questioned, that secular books must operate the same way. They fundamentally misunderstand what literature is.
posted by mahamandarava at 12:34 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


But now, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will give out free copies.

The KVML will be giving away free copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students from Republic, Missouri’s high school (yes, the school that banned Slaughterhouse Five last week from their curriculum and school library). If you are a student at Republic High School, please e-mail us at i...@vonnegutlibrary.org to request your free copy of the book. Please provide us with your name, address, and grade level. We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. We think it’s important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We’re not telling you to like the book… we just want you to read it and decide for yourself. We will not share your request or any of your personal information with anyone else.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:04 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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