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May 24, 2009 1:37 PM   Subscribe

A private school student asks "Is it OK to run an illegal library from my locker at school?"
posted by spock (101 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Does this qualify as civil disobedience? I would be proud of my kid for doing something like this, especially if he was smart enough not to get into trouble for it, but I wouldn't send him to a school that banned books in the first place.
posted by zinfandel at 1:45 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone's got a devastating college admissions essay in the works.
posted by felix betachat at 1:49 PM on May 24, 2009 [45 favorites]


Huh? -- "This question has been deleted. There was a problem performing that action, please try again later."
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2009


It's dead for me now too, but I saw it a few days ago though a link on another site. It was a well written question with a nice assortment of books of various genres the person wanted to spread. The few answers I read at the time were also surprisingly well written and thought out. +1 for Yahoo! Answers.
posted by Science! at 1:53 PM on May 24, 2009


Usually, the answer to any question started with "Is it OK to run an illegal..." is "no." Not in this case, tho. Way to go, kid.
posted by deliquescent at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2009


(oh, and I can see the link fine)
posted by deliquescent at 1:56 PM on May 24, 2009


As cool as this sounds and as much as I want to believe it, I'm certain it's fake.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:59 PM on May 24, 2009 [20 favorites]


This is how Marilyn Manson claims his interest in music got started. None of the other kids had the guts or the wherewithal to buy KISS albums themselves, so he charged them money for his "services" in acquiring the devil-music for them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Question for those of you that can't see the link: Are you at a private school?
posted by spock at 2:05 PM on May 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Rock. On.
posted by flippant at 2:05 PM on May 24, 2009


That kid has been added to my long list of heroes.
posted by aniola at 2:08 PM on May 24, 2009


As cool as this sounds and as much as I want to believe it, I'm certain it's fake.

If the kid exists and is doing what he's saying I'm pretty sure he has his own answer to the question already.

That list looks kind of deisgned-to-be-inflamotory as well. If such a school exist then, well, weird school.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on May 24, 2009


Spock, this is an interesting thing to post. Thanks.
posted by werkzeuger at 2:13 PM on May 24, 2009


I'm not sure if I believe her. Or rather, I'm not sure if anyone cares as much as she thinks people care. But I still think it's pretty freakin' awesome.

Kat Atreides, I'll use your real name so that Google Alerts will tell you that people are talking about you. Assuming your question was at least somewhat earnest, consider joining Metafilter. You'll meet lots of cool people here, many of whom are as intelligent as you are. You can ask questions here too, just like on Yahoo Answers, except both the questions and the answers are more interesting and thoughtful. It only costs five dollars to join. If that's a problem, I'll pay for you.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:16 PM on May 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Devil: Fake. Totally fake.

Angel: It doesn't have to be! Some kids are alright! Go kid!

Devil: Please, it reads like a indie movie script treatment. I bet some new-media-web2.0 bozo is using it to get ideas and then hype up how he got his inspiration "from the internet." gimmie a break.

Angel: Oh come on! That's a lot of effort. A smart kid could do something like this, easy!

Devil: Okay, assuming this actually is a real student, we don't know if they've got the guts to actually DO anything or if this is just some lame attempt to get press or a really good college essay. How much bullshit did you throw around as a teenager? ON THE INTERNET?

Angel: For the love of, this is completely plausible! This kid is a hero!

Devil: A hero on Yahoo Answers.

Angel: WHY CAN'T YOU LET ME HAVE ANYTHING?! NOT ONE THING!! I NEED SOME FUCKING HOPE IN MY LIFE! CAN'T YOU JUST SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH FOR ONE SECOND! I HATE YOU!

Devil: What about all that hope you had at the election? Whatya do, run out?

Angel:

.

....I'm going to smother you with a kitten.

Devil: Now you're comin' round to my point of view.
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2009 [93 favorites]


What the devil is this person's profile picture supposed to be?
posted by lumensimus at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2009


I can now see the webpage. Must have been a temporary hiccup at answers.yahoo.com
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2009


Though I really want to believe it - because it sounds awesome! - some of the details leave me a little dubious. Specifically, the claim that "Most of the books were banned because they contained information that opposed Catholisism." The poster says she goes to a strict private school, and from the comment above, I assume a Catholic one.

However, we read the Divine Comedy in religion class at my strict private Catholic high school. Along with excerpts from Paradise Lost. Animal Farm, the Canterbury Tales, other bits of Paradise Lost, the Picture of Dorian Gray, Slaughterhouse-5, Lord of the Flies, and East of Eden were all assigned reading in various English classes. And we read parts of "the Descent of Man" in our biology class, because the Catholic Church is actually OK with the whole evolution thing, and doesn't interpret the Bible literally. Most Catholic high schools are run by various of the Holy Orders, which tend to be more liberal than your average parish priest, and who - particularly the Jesuits - really try to emphasize learning and knowledge in all the non-religion subjects too.

I guess there might be a rogue Catholic school or two in the middle of nowhere staffed by a bunch of people who don't know much about their own doctrine, but that description sounds really atypical to me.
posted by ubersturm at 2:26 PM on May 24, 2009 [12 favorites]


Her "about me" section: Hey. My name is Katniss, and I am a writer. Lately I've been working on screenplays--

Yeah.
posted by desjardins at 2:27 PM on May 24, 2009 [23 favorites]


Apparently we are so cynical now that we even doubt that teens will latch onto self-righteous rebellion when it is laid down at their feet, simply because it's too cool?
posted by Navelgazer at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


What the devil is this person's profile picture supposed to be?

A rose.
posted by chillmost at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2009


Couple of points. It is a Catholic school. Catholic school bans books they don't like, ooh, scary, film at 11. How is this a surprise?

Also, his library isn't "illegal." There is no law prohibiting what he is doing. It is forbidden by a private school he and/or his parents are choosing instead of a public school. Admirable to be sure, but no real lawbreaking or serious risk involved. The worst that happens is they expel him and he goes to a public school, or another Catholic school. Not a huge hardship.

All that being said, what he is doing is admirable, but a bit quixotic. He is almost certain to be caught, and expulsion could harm his prospects of attending a good college. All of his classmates could easily go buy the perfectly legal books themselves. He is risking his hide because of his classmates laziness, in essence.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2009


Kat Atreides, I'll use your real name

It's not her real name.
posted by desjardins at 2:32 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wanted it to be real so bad I actually made a yahoo account, signed in, jumped through lame hoops just to send her a supportive message and invite her to MetaFilter. I figured it wouldn't be much of a problem to get a free account for someone like that.

But, no, it's probably fake. No reply. Also someone on reddit discovered a link to a yahoo question about a list of banned books from the same user just prior to the one in question
posted by loquacious at 2:39 PM on May 24, 2009


I heard that later this month this kid is going to start a pirate radio station and then hold a dance!
posted by Muddler at 2:51 PM on May 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is totally fake. I mean, c'mon. Banning books pushing kids to read them? Yeah, right. It sounds exactly like some made for TV feelgood movie, or something. Maybe a news story.


Actually, it's a perfect news story, because CNN could say "Local students personal reading times up due to banned classics" and FOX could trumpet "Your child is being exposed to thoughts and ideas BANNED by their school! Find out how! Tonight at 10:00"


Ah, who'm I kidding, no news organization would spin this positively.
posted by graventy at 2:57 PM on May 24, 2009


Yeah, if he's for real, then he's got an admissions essay that'll possibly get him into Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc. Btw, I'm not sure that list if fake if he's attending some ultra-christian school, but I think we're talking beyond the usual catholic school here.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2009


Yeah, in my two years of Catholic school we read a number of the books on that list in class -- and the school's library had a number of others. In fact, the Catholic school library was far more up to date and less "censored"* than the public school I graduated from.

When I went touring for a school for my about-to-be kindergartner, I went to a typical parish school up the road from us. On the tour I watched the 7th-8th grade ethics class debate the existence of God, in full view of crucifixes and pictures of the Pope. I was kinda happy to see that, given that my Catholic school theology class had that same debate nearly 25 years ago.

Maybe this kid is going to some school in the Catholic heartland that is censoring stuff heavily, but I highly doubt it.

* - I wouldn't really call it "censoring" to say that some books weren't stocked in my high school's library because the library barely had money to buy ANY books whatsoever. Many of the history books were bought around when the school opened in the mid-1950s.
posted by dw at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2009


Please, it reads like a indie movie script treatment.

I saw it more as an After-School-Special type of thing.
posted by deanc at 3:11 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would have been more believable if she had taken a look at the ALA's challenged book list rather than listing some of her favorites. Also, listing the Divine Comedy and saying that the books were banned because they "contained information that opposed Catholisism[sic]" is a huge red flag. Not just for a misspelling that a literate private Catholic school kid wouldn't make, but also because Dante is considered a favorite of Catholics. Here's the first line of a 1921 papal encyclical that goes a little bit beyond glowing:
Among the many celebrated geniuses of whom the Catholic faith can boast who have left undying fruits in literature and art especially, besides other fields of learning, and to whom civilization and religion are ever in debt, highest stands the name of Dante Alighieri, the sixth centenary of whose death will soon be recorded. Never perhaps has his supreme position been recognized as it is today. Not only Italy, justly proud of having given him birth, but all the civil nations are preparing with special committees of learned men to celebrate his memory that the whole world may pay honour to that noble figure, pride and glory of humanity.
posted by Llama-Lime at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage's once used a comment he'd have imagined was fake only because the writer said how long they'd been with their partner. I concur that details likely make the story believable, namely that he said his school was catholic and worried about propriety excessively. So I call not fake.

In general, such behavior seems much more likely from an evangelical school, but lets remember there are far more Catholic schools, meaning some are run by not nice people.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2009


I live in a really small town that has banned modern music.

Is it OK for me to illegally organise dance classes in order to eventually run a school prom, eventually winning over the townsfolk and earning the love of a beautiful girl?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:23 PM on May 24, 2009 [21 favorites]


This story, as inspiring as it is on first reading, is setting off my cynicism alarm like a fire drill, and it won't shut off until I post. Kat Atreides's idiosyncratic index librorum prohibitorum raises all sorts of flags. Yes, the Catholic Church had Dante's Divina Commedia on its hit list, but that was back in 1497. "The Evolution of Man" is such a generic title that it's impossible to pinpoint, although I can't help but wonder if Darwin's "Descent of Man" wasn't intended. And several others, "A Clockwork Orange", "Catch-22", "The Canterbury Tales", and "The Witches", coincidentally appear on that urban-legendary list of books Sarah Palin was supposed to have requested to be banned by the Wasilla library.

Kat's previous Yahoo answers post mentioned above, "Can anyone provide me with a list of banned books?", reads:
I find that usually the books teens and other age groups are discouraged from reading are the best. My school doesn't have any banned books, but my friend goes to a catholic private school and the list is list ten pages long. It doesn't even have to be a school list. Any banned books please thanks.
At best, one would have to read quotation marks around my friend not to find this a rather leading question. And if this school is Catholic, then it's Catholic in the same way Mel Gibson is.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:25 PM on May 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


How can a student keep safe 63 banned perfectly acceptable books in a locker not assigned to that student? How would s/he get the key/combination?
posted by Cranberry at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2009


um, make that 62 or any number that comes to mind.
posted by Cranberry at 3:31 PM on May 24, 2009


Her previous question:
Can anybody provide me with a list of banned books?

I'd insert a snarky comment but I'm too tired.
posted by reynaert at 3:31 PM on May 24, 2009


Reddit has more or less outed this as a hoax.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:35 PM on May 24, 2009


I vote fake too.

Assuming for the sake of argument that this is real, what the kid is doing is pretty smart. Any kid smart enough to do something like this would not need to

1. Ask if it's OK to run an 'illegal' library.
2. Ask if it's OK to run an 'illegal' library on the internet where he could get found out.
3. Ask if it's OK to run an 'illegal' library on the internet where he could get found out on Yahoo Answers of all the frickin' places to do it.

So yeah, fakedy fake fake. But it's nice to dream.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:36 PM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why someone would lie about a story like this one, but apparently the Internet seems to make people do weird stuff.

I just don't get it if it's real or if it's fake, unless it's part of some cockamamie sociology experiment or something (how gullible are Yahoo answers users, etc.)

If it's real, and you're already doing it, why the sudden worry about if it's "illegal" (or immoral or against school rules, etc.)? You've already done it and posted about it online. If caught, you will be punished by your school. (Of course it's not illegal, unless you're infringing copyright somehow ...)

If it's fake, why oh God why are you griefing innocent Web users?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do like the idea of a principal saying "Don't read these books. Nope, whatever you do, kids, stay away from these books. Here, I'll print you off a list so you know what books not to read."
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:39 PM on May 24, 2009 [17 favorites]


yeah because a kid could keep 60+ books in a locker, handing them back and forth to kids all the time, who are discussing between themselves all the time, making careful records of it, and the powers that be would not notice. At all.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:40 PM on May 24, 2009


I'd say she already knows the answer to her question and just wants to brag except it is definitely fake.
posted by I Foody at 3:42 PM on May 24, 2009


I suppose it's some young un who hasn't quite grasped the concept of "hoax."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:43 PM on May 24, 2009


I think it's safe to say there are multiple Catholic schools within the U.S. that are Catholic in the same way as Mel Gibson. You know, administrators who ban books just aren't "good people", so overreaching just isn't unbelievable. I'd be curious if there were any concrete objections, like official directives for reading (or against banning) Dante. Otherwise, if the kid exists, he wins, if he doesn't, we don't much care.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:43 PM on May 24, 2009


The greatest use of the Internet seems to be in allowing adolescents a much more efficient means of getting attention.
posted by darkstar at 3:45 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, that and porn.
posted by darkstar at 3:46 PM on May 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


"The greatest use of the Internet seems to be in allowing adolescents a much more efficient means of getting attention."
posted by darkstar at 9:45 AM on May 25

Yeah. I hate old media (newspapers and the like) but as I read more and more things like this supposed question, I realise that their greatest strength was filtering out the whackos who now pollute the internet with their every whim and idle thought.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:48 PM on May 24, 2009


Reddit has more or less outed this as a hoax.

Looks like the same skepticism that's shown up here because of the previous question and the writer thing. I don't see any evidence beyond that, though.
posted by mediareport at 3:50 PM on May 24, 2009


their greatest strength was filtering out the whackos

If that's its greatest strength old media is in even worse shape than we thought. Filtering out whackos is pretty much normal human internet behavior by now.
posted by mediareport at 3:52 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I got in trouble in the 60's for carrying around a Lenny Bruce book with a bright yellow warning on the front: CENSORED. I was asking for it. I probably smirked during my lecture by the ex-coach assistant principal. His blood pressure was bad enough, already I'm sure. Sorry, Mr. Wilson.

By the way, you'd be surprised what books offend some Christians these days. One Mormon family (and Mormons are not typically so censorious) refused to let their kids read Scarlet Letter.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
posted by kozad at 3:54 PM on May 24, 2009


Seems pretty clear it's a hoax, or at least an overly-elaborated request for a list of banned books.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2009


The internet is one big Rorschach Test, eh?
posted by spock at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2009


"Kat Atreides" is also taking riflery.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:02 PM on May 24, 2009


Okay, so maybe it's not a true story, and I was definitely one of the people duped by it. But having said that, it's not that outlandish of a story. Precocious kids do precocious things.

But in the interest of helping out the author, I'd like to offer some improvements to the story. First, scratch the Catholic school. The Catholic school doesn't work, for all of the reasons mentioned above. How about Christian homeschooling? Some evangelical churches have school buildings attached to them for homeschooling families to organize little classes and other activities together.

Over time, the kids start organizing their own classes, with or without their parents' permission. From secondhand stores and estate auctions, they amass an amazing library, which they keep in an unused janitorial closet. It's great because it's a metaphor for everyone's path of self-education. Educational systems really only provide an infrastructure, a place for you to learn. What you put there is ultimately your own decision. And should you refuse to make that decision, you'll end up with a diploma but no education, just an empty closet.

Finally, the parents realize the full extent of what the kids are doing. They're getting a more worldly, liberal education than the one they would have gotten in the public schools, by far. But little by little, some of the parents are also learning the importance of the broom-closet library. They're checking books out from it themselves and reading them and having discussions and arguments with other parents. Eventually forced to quit using the building, they instead buy the building from the church and turn it into a school.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:19 PM on May 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


My problems with her story, from that other blog that (some) MeFites love to hate on.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:30 PM on May 24, 2009


I HAVE to use a pen name! I mean, anyone who picked up a book written by Katniss Roger Atreides would wonder what freaky weird imagination said person would have. (Atreides isn't my real last name, I stole that from Dune, but the Katniss Roger part is.) So, I use one out of three pseudonyms when I write. Gretchen Eaglehart for short stories, Annalise D'Eath for dramatic novels, Chloe Montana-Cruz for comedy books, and my real name for screenplays

She thinks Annalise D'Eath and Chloe Montana-Cruz are less weird than Katniss Roger. I don't think this bodes well for a profitable writing career.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:36 PM on May 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


My problems with her story, from that other blog that (some) MeFites love to hate on.

Hah, makes sense that Cory Doctorow would fall for something like this.
posted by delmoi at 4:37 PM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Interesting that she adds this: Twilight is banned also, but I don't want that polluting my library.
posted by Houstonian at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2009


What made me scratch my head and go "Whaaaaa?" is that she's gung-ho with providing other kids (assuming that other kids can't go to public libraries or bookstores) access to books that were deemed "inappropriate," but then went on to state that she wouldn't include Twilight because she didn't want it "infecting" her school.

So, uh, she's trying to be a kinder, gentler thought police?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:13 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


None of my literate high school students have any respect for Twilight. I wouldn't dis her for not including these books in her tiny library.

This decision sounds like my 17-year old daughter preferring to put her Gossip Girl series books into the paper recycling bin so as to not pollute tween minds by giving them to a thrift store.
posted by kozad at 5:34 PM on May 24, 2009


There ought to be more books on desert survival, tribal cultures, and genealogy in Ms. Atreides' library.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:50 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Arrakis On 20 Cups Of Water A Day.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on May 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


To be fair, reading Twilight is pretty much the same thing as liberally applying raw sewage directly to your frontal lobe. If there's any part of this mishegoss that I'd truly like to believe, it's that somewhere out there in the land of the internets, high school kids have realized this and moved on.
posted by elizardbits at 5:53 PM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


This was the line that made me suspect a fake:

...before I started, almost no kid at school but myself took an active interest in reading! Now not only are all the kids reading the banned books, but go out of their way to read anything they can get their hands on.

See, you took it a step too far and now it's not believable, just glurge-y (the kind of glurge that appeals to the kind of people who read MeFi). Strike that part out of the eventual screenplay--it's enough you've got them reading Orwell and Darwin, don't push it by claiming the protagonist has started a back-to-books revolution.
posted by availablelight at 6:14 PM on May 24, 2009


Glurge?

I love finding new words.
posted by The Whelk at 6:15 PM on May 24, 2009



Finally, the parents realize the full extent of what the kids are doing. They're getting a more worldly, liberal education than the one they would have gotten in the public schools, by far. But little by little, some of the parents are also learning the importance of the broom-closet library. They're checking books out from it themselves and reading them and having discussions and arguments with other parents. Eventually forced to quit using the building, they instead buy the building from the church and turn it into a school.


Make it star Julianne Moore as the repressed mother who eventually comes around to the idea and you've got a hit.
posted by The Whelk at 6:18 PM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's also not actually a question there - it's just "is it okay that I'm doing this really cool thing? Thanks internet!" Not asking if there's legal recourse the school can take or anything like that.

Plus, I don't think a Catholic school student her age would misspell "Catholisism" out of all that post. Once you get that far you've written it in so many essays it just feels wrong to mistype it. At least, I know it did for me just there.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 6:33 PM on May 24, 2009


the Catholic heartland

AKA New York City.
posted by Mister_A at 6:39 PM on May 24, 2009


If there's any part of this mishegoss that I'd truly like to believe, it's that somewhere out there in the land of the internets, high school kids have realized this and moved on.

Yeah, that line screamed bullshit too. Plus, really, it's not like every girl in her 'school' doesn't have at least three friends with copies of the book.
posted by graventy at 7:01 PM on May 24, 2009


Couple of points. It is a Catholic school. Catholic school bans books they don't like, ooh, scary, film at 11. How is this a surprise?

Actually they don't really. I had a to read a bunch of the books on that list in Catholic school for class (Animal Farm, Slaughterhouse 5, Catch 22) and there is no way they would ban Dante or Darwin, that's just silly.

Other reasons it's fake: 1) Catholic school kids know how to spell Catholicism and for that matter probably the word material 2) Catholic school do not have a "school council" that makes these kinds of decision, the various teaching orders do so 3) no teenager uses the term "I was absolutely appalled" in peer to peer conversation on the internet 4) most teenagers don't have "favorite classics", or copies of 62 conveniently banned books lying around their bedrooms 5) "reporters are not allowed on campus" wtf?? and 6) that list of books is something I'd come up with if asked to name books I'd heard were banned and I'm 35 years old, not 17.

Not to mention that must be the most restrictive catholic school in the world if this kid is so worried about books, We had an illegal cocktail bar in the vacant lockers and we didn't agonize over it this much.
posted by fshgrl at 7:17 PM on May 24, 2009


If she's claiming her real name is Katniss then I call shenanigans.

Even though as a librarian-in-training I *so* want this to be real.
posted by fuzzbean at 7:21 PM on May 24, 2009


No Tropic of Cancer? No transgressional awfulness? THAT is a book that would likely be banned from a Catholic school–it used to be, anyway, if my mom is to be believed. I don't think you'd find it in a public school either, FWIW.

Anyway, true story: I discovered HP Lovecraft in my Catholic HS library! Yeah I know, what was he doin' there? Answer: Decomposing rugosely.
posted by Mister_A at 7:25 PM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Not to mention that must be the most restrictive catholic school in the world if this kid is so worried about books"

Well, it seems about on par with that kid who was recently trying to go to another schools prom and is (was? haven't kept up on the story) facing all kinds of problems like being kicked out of school...
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:32 PM on May 24, 2009


I call this fake for a few reasons but at least two salient ones:

I have never seen a school locker that would be big enough for 62 books. But, if I am incorrect and there are indeed lockers this big then the next one is her profile. She writes:
Hey. My name is Katniss, and I am a writer. Lately I've been working on screenplays... I much prefer novels. Nothing published yet, but I've had a few companies say that they're interested in one novel I'm currently writing!
Sounds like she has a minor hit on Yahoo Answers....
posted by Rashomon at 7:35 PM on May 24, 2009


Well, it seems about on par with that kid who was recently trying to go to another schools prom and is (was? haven't kept up on the story) facing all kinds of problems like being kicked out of school...

Catholic school? that seems unlikely unless it's run by Mel Gibson. And the Inquisition should be coming for him any day now.

I'm a lapsed Catholic but it is a fairly educated and urbane faith as they go. Animal Farm is unlikely to be regarded by the teachers as anything more the little fable that it is. We read it in the 6th grade in our school.

This writer would have done better to pretend to belong to one of the more indoctrinate US protestant faiths. And maybe to live with their single mother in a small farm town in the 80s, where the pastors son had recently been killed in a dancing fueled car accident.
posted by fshgrl at 7:49 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously---this could have been called fake as soon as Animal Farm was listed.

The damn thing's almost anti-Communist canon, in the counter-Bolshevik reading list there with Darkness at Noon and A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich and Dr Zhivago. The idea of any repressive Catholic school denying their charges the chance to read Orwell at his most betrayed-and-bitter is as likely as them handing around copies of Engels' little pamphlet about family life or photocopied Anarchist Cookbooks.

No George Bernard Shaw? No Germaine Greer? No Nabokov? No Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

Truly this is the lamest fake repression ever.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:58 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's one other thing that's puzzling to me: Almost all schools in the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest are done for the year. It's in these areas I'd expect to see this sort of censorship.

The schools that are still in session probably have no more than four weeks left -- at most. Most of them will be wrapping up in the next two weeks.

Why would you suddenly offering a "lending library" of "banned books" when you're going to be done with school in the next couple weeks anyway -- and one of those weeks will be finals week?

Something smells very fishy.
posted by dw at 10:10 PM on May 24, 2009


It says right on it that it was posted 3 months ago, dw.
posted by darksasami at 10:31 PM on May 24, 2009


I also came in here to make a Pump up the Volume versus Footloose quip but see I was too slow on the draw.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 PM on May 24, 2009


I belong to a web site that's quite strict. Only the best of the web can be posted. I want to post a single link to a yahoo question of dubious authenticity. Is it okay for me to make a crap post to Metafilter?
posted by sid at 11:11 PM on May 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Spock regrets the posting.
posted by spock at 4:39 AM on May 25, 2009


How is libabby formed?
posted by fire&wings at 6:16 AM on May 25, 2009


Stay gold Ponyboy.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:05 AM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, it seems about on par with that kid who was recently trying to go to another schools prom and is (was? haven't kept up on the story) facing all kinds of problems like being kicked out of school...

Prom date costs student graduation date
"An Ohio senior is suspended today from the fundamentalist Baptist school he has attended since kindergarten for attending a public school prom.

The Courier in Findlay, Ohio, reports that Tyler Frost, 17, danced and held hands with his girlfriend at the Findlay High prom, attended by about 800 students.

Heritage Christian School forbids dancing, hand holding and rock music. Frost's grandmother, Karen Frost, who teaches at Heritage Christian, said she had been praying for her grandson to 'make the right decision' and skip the prom.

But Frost told the website he never wavered from his decision to attend with Rebecca Smooty.

Heritage principal Tim England said Frost will receive an 'incomplete' on remaining assignments and will be banned from graduation ceremonies, but will receive his diploma after completing his finals.

Frost's father, Stephan Johnson, said the suspension is unfair and that he plans to sue the school."
posted by ericb at 9:06 AM on May 25, 2009


The Katniss thing is ridiculous, obviously not a real name but stolen from another very popular book series.

What we've got here is a creative but immature writer throwing plots against the Yahoo Answers wall to see which ones'll stick.
posted by misha at 10:25 AM on May 25, 2009


It says right on it that it was posted 3 months ago, dw.

Neeeeevermind.

Wonder why it suddenly bubbled up on Reddit etc. in the last few days, tho.
posted by dw at 11:24 AM on May 25, 2009


Fake, fake, fake. Love the comments, though, especially ones like You're school is being moronic.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:26 AM on May 25, 2009


Kids in my school did things like this, too, but with drugs.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:11 PM on May 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Cranberry wrote: How can a student keep safe 63 banned perfectly acceptable books in a locker not assigned to that student? How would s/he get the key/combination?

At my high school (and junior high), students provided their own combination locks. Lockers did not have built in locks or keys.

The requirement was that you had to use one of the lock series they had a master key for. I knew of several folks who used other ones without incident, however, but if they wanted to look in the locker, they specifically reserved the right to cut unauthorized locks with bolt cutters.

So if you wanted an extra locker, it was just a matter of finding an unassigned one and throwing some stuff in there. You could even get away with putting a lock on it if you so chose. Nobody really cared. These days the teachers and staff are probably more observant when it comes to unused lockers suddenly having locks on them, though.
posted by wierdo at 12:13 PM on May 25, 2009


roll truck roll wrote: Some evangelical churches have school buildings attached to them for homeschooling families to organize little classes and other activities together.

Some evangelical churches have real schools attached to them, sickeningly enough. I used to live down the street from one. The one whose property Jim Bob Duggar used to reside on.
posted by wierdo at 12:17 PM on May 25, 2009


Wonder why it suddenly bubbled up on Reddit etc. in the last few days, tho.

I've seen things bubble up to the front page of Reddit that I remember seeing years ago. Nature of the beast with a voting system like that, I guess.
posted by brundlefly at 12:18 PM on May 25, 2009


Atreides isn't my real last name, I stole that from Dune...

Looks like her school needs to start banning Homer.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:45 PM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


blue_beetle: "Stay gold Ponyboy."

*weeps*
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:04 PM on May 25, 2009


Can I run an illegal medical marijuana dispensary out of my private school locker?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:16 PM on May 25, 2009


My Catholic grade school censored a book about Italian art by drawing underpants on the statue of David. But I still call BS on this one.
posted by fermezporte at 7:24 PM on May 25, 2009


Well, having read a lot more of the opinions on why this is probably fake, I may have changed my mind since my previous comment...

No, wait, I haven't at all, actually. This still seems totally plausible to me, and in fact far more plausible than the implications of the reasons offered here for why it must be fake.

1. She misspells Catholicism!: She also misspells "buy" and some other words. She clearly didn't proofread the question before posting, which shouldn't be, you know, shocking on Yahoo Answers, or at least I hope not, considering I've had entries as embarrassingly typo-filled over here. (I just had to try sever times to get "embarrassingly" right, and then typoes it again on repetition.)

2. She had a previous Yahoo Answers question about banned books!: The only problem that arises out of this is that she says it's her "friend" who is at the repressive Catholic school. This is the most (and only) kinda-sorta-damning piece of evidence here, and even that is pretty easily explained if either (a) she was lying about it being her friend, or more likely (b) the two friends hang out outside of school and used the same account to write the questions about the subject.

3. She says she's a writer! And that she writes screenplays!: The whole of her profile there could've been mine at the same age. And the aspiring writer is going to be far more likely to (a) care about repressive policies about books and (b) to have some of those books lying around or else find them elsewhere.

4. Catholic schools aren't repressive! I know because I have experience with Catholic schools which aren't repressive!: Most Catholic schools I've known of have been pretty cool about this sort of thing. Some aren't. It has a lot to do with who's heading the administration, and I've known a lot of public school principals who were this bad.

5. What the hell Catholic school would ban Dante?!: Okay, this seems weird to me too, but not enough so as to make it unbelievable. At the most, it makes me think that she might be embellishing to get some support behind her idea (which is, obviously, as much of a "question" as is asked by the post.) Still, those who ban boks are going to be ignorant by default, so not unfathomable.

Beyond the fact that I remember High School pretty well and can absolutely picture this sort of thing happening, and becoming a "thing" which would lead otherwise disinterested kids into checking out that which was "forbidden," the details make me believe it, such as:

1. She only lends to those students her age and higher, because anything younger would maybe be inappropriate - who would think that way other than a self-absorbed teenager making an excuse for an action she deems possibly "bad"?

2. She makes such a point about not including Twilight - again, the only purpose to this is an ill-considered plea to those who she's hoping for approval from.

3.Some obvious books left off the list (like the Harry Potter series) speak to either a haphazard list made up by the administrators, or something she considered unworthy of mention for her library, but not of something invented by a person just looking for a list of banned books to claim to be lending out in an unnamed school.

As in all things, I could be wrong, but I can imagine this happening too clearly to assume it's bullshit out of hand.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 PM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


"So if you wanted an extra locker, it was just a matter of finding an unassigned one and throwing some stuff in there. You could even get away with putting a lock on it if you so chose. Nobody really cared. These days the teachers and staff are probably more observant when it comes to unused lockers suddenly having locks on them, though."

Even easier is to appropriate the locker of a student who dropped out. The locker will be assigned so no trouble with the lock being on it and if the locker is the type with built in locks you just have to bribe them for the key/combination.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 PM on May 25, 2009


I went to Catholic school, albeit state and in the UK. We didn't have any 'banned' books, just books that weren't in the library - I could get all the Judy Blumes but Forever, and Melvin Burgess' Junk was kept behind the counter as the librarian wanted to make sure that it only fell into the hands of kids mature enough to read it. (This was up until I was 16 in 1998, btw - pre Twilight and Potter.) Our library also carried a couple of broadsheet newspapers, one quite liberal that carried articles on Adult Concepts.

The one things that were strongly disapproved of (there was not an official ban, but they got confiscated) were More and Just 17 magazines. More had 'position of the fortnight', J17 a somewhat graphic problem page. God forbid kids know about sex.

I went to Catholic sixth-form too, and the idea of school authorities telling 16-18 year olds what they could and couldn't read was ridiculous. I wouldn't have gone to an establishment that had such little respect for their charges.

I read H2G2 from my school library when I was eight.
posted by mippy at 4:45 AM on May 26, 2009


Also, I read The Perks of Being A Wallflower when I was sixteen and Jesus God was it awful.
posted by mippy at 4:47 AM on May 26, 2009


What the hell Catholic school would ban Dante?!: Okay, this seems weird to me too, but not enough so as to make it unbelievable.

Obviously, this isn't impossible, but it is very, very unlikely. Really, the Commedia isn't just one of the greatest Western poems ever--and therefore unlikely to be banned by any educational institution (even Bob Jones U. teaches Dante)--but also the greatest Catholic poem ever. It is much, much harder for me to believe that a Catholic school would ban one of the Church's favorite dudes than it is to believe that someone is telling a story on the internet.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:28 AM on May 26, 2009


When I was in middle school, we did a project where we read two "banned books" (books that were banned somewhere in North America) and compared them by theme and controversy.

I love my school system.
posted by tehloki at 1:04 PM on May 26, 2009


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