Friday, December 07, 2007

More Stupid Banned Book Stuff

Once again the forces of good and decency that exist to protect the rest of us from the nightmare of totalitarianism have taken up their cudgels against the forces of badness. That's right, there's another "banned" book controversy that has brought out all sorts of silly drivel from various library types.

You might have heard the story of some kid's book called the Golden Compass written by some guy who claims his books kill God or something like that, as if God is in any danger from some kiddie writer. My opinion is, if God can't handle some kiddie fantasy writer, then he doesn't deserve to exist. A Catholic School Board in Canada is reviewing a complaint about the book to decide whether to remove it from their school libraries. Keep this in mind. Catholic schools. Canada. Reviewing the book. That seemed to be the start of it, but no subject is too remote to bring out the high minded drivel of the "banned" books folks.

The Glorious President of ALA of course had something to say, though I'm not sure why anyone in Canada would care what she says. Most people in this country don't even care what she has to say. Nevertheless, she made sure to tell us about how bad "censorship" is, not that any censorship is going on here, of course, since the Golden Compass seems to be widely available. I understand there's even a movie now, which will probably make the book more popular than ever. Unless it goes out of print soon, which is unlikely, it should be around for anyone who wants to read it. If the thought police come to your door to take your copy, please leave a comment on the blog so I can revise my story.

Of course she also mentioned that this same insidious "censorship" is occurring in America, since some Catholic hillbillies in Kentucky have also removed the book from the open stacks of their Catholic schools. Oooh, how frightening. Some Catholic school kids in Kentucky won't be able to check out this book from their school library. They might have to go to their public library for the book. Horror of horrors!

You might have noticed a theme here. Some Catholic schools in Canada and the United States have questioned the appropriateness of this book for their own school systems. The book is widely available in public libraries and bookstores. Nothing has been banned. Nothing has been censored. Some Catholics have decided it's not appropriate for their Catholic students. How is this of any concern to the ALA?

By far the silliest response to this has been by the blogger at Library Juice. His response was to give us a self-righteous paragraph about how we're all free to criticize religion and if anyone was aware that it was illegal to criticize Catholicism would they please let him know, because if it is he'll have to change his plans to emigrate there someday. Yep, emigrate to Canada, we're dealing with one of those. This is the silliest response because it's by far the most irrelevant. What does this pseudo-controversy have to do with citizens of either the US or Canada publicly criticizing religion? A totally ridiculous response.

Since when can't private, Catholic schools decide what is appropriate for their libraries or curricula? This has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of speech or censorship or anything else. These are private and Catholic school systems. Besides the book not really being banned or censored, since you can get it anywhere, I just don't see how this concerns anyone at all but the parents and students of these schools. How about taking a poll to see if any parents sending their children to these Catholic schools want this book on the shelves? Whatever their answer, it'll certainly be more relevant than the drivel about free speech and censorship coming from librarians in America.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Less gin, more vermouth. Or perhaps, a nice cool glass of water now and then. Annoyed is one thing, downright cranky is another. Sarcasm wears thin if a sense of humor is evidently lacking.

Sarah said...

Just an itty bitty little correction. Ontario Catholic schools (where this controversy takes place) are public institutions funded by the provincial government. It's a wacky constitutional holdover or some such ensuring publicly funded catholic education in the province so that might increase everyone's sense of entitlement to get involved.

It is true though that, in general, in this part of the world, the best way to make your book popular is to have it challenged.
I bet there really is censorship going on somewhere in this part of the world ...it's just we never hear about those books... because that's what successful censorship does.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, in Ontario there are two school systems which are publicly funded. The "public" school boards, and Catholic school boards. Ontario is the only province in Canada in which there are two publicly funded boards in every municipality. This separate school system has been ruled unconstitutional and faith-based school funding was a hot-button issue in the most recent provincial election in Ontario. But it's not going to change any time soon. And it's not the parents who choose to send their kids there who pay for it.

Your overall point is still well-founded and it's not like the book is being banned from the public library in Burlington (that I am aware of). But the argument that it's a private or Catholic school loses some strength once you understand that the funding is very much public.

The Eeyore Librarian said...

Yup, publicly funded Catholic schools in Canada. As such, they can still 'ban' whatever books they want from their library because you still have a choice whether to send your children to get a religious education (plenty of protestants enrolled as well) or go to a secular school. This brouhaha is even more embarrassing than even the Da Vinci code crap from a few years ago. The Index of Forbidden books officially died with Vatican II, let's not be in a big rush to resurrect it!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, let the private religions ban what they want, because we have it here in our public libraries!

!

Oh you are smooth, AL, Somoooooth!!!!

So many are blind to your whoolery, but kat sees! Kat sees!!!

So, where should we put the ropes and the the chains and the racks and the stocks in our public library? All these new Catholic school girls...ahem, I mean, Patrons!

aheh, ok ok, kat's laying off the cherry grenadine!!!

But honestly, Very Nice setup for increasing support for Public Libraries, disguished as support of the freedom of religion, of private religious censorship and disdain for the ALA! Very Nice!!

Merc Kat!

Anonymous said...

"though I'm not sure why anyone in Canada would care what she says."

We don't. :)

"and if anyone was aware that it was illegal to criticize Catholicism would they please let him know, because if it is he'll have to change his plans to emigrate there someday."

Ha. What amuses me about that post is the emphasis on freedom of speech. It seems like such a very American viewpoint. A cultural difference that I think explains why hate speech is a criminal offence in Canada, but probably never will be in the States, with the First Amendment and all.

(Not saying freedom of speech isn't important to Canadians - of course it is. But by and large we don't seem to place quite the same importance on it. Or we see other things as being sometimes more important; take your pick.)

Anonymous said...

Isn't the guiding principle of collection development the idea that a library's collection should be tailored to suit its community's needs?

And isn't it trivially obvious that a book whose baddies are an undisguised Catholic church would be antithetical to the needs of a Catholic school?

So much "banned book" foofaraw boils down to the notion that a book selector is incapable of error. She or he knows a community's needs better than the community itself, and to suggest the selector was mistaken is the gravest of heresies. I guess it's good to know that a semester spent yammering with my fellow students about how censorship is bad has granted me infallible discernment, but it seems a little condescending.

To head off the inevitable: I'm not saying a book should be pulled over a single complaint, or even after a campaign for removal. Don't be an idiot. I'm saying that mistakes will be made, and that rectifying those mistakes will sometimes mean removal of a book that shouldn't have been purchased in the first place.

(Also, books being removed from required reading lists? Not censorship, not banning, and doesn't involve librarians at all. Why, then, do such cases fill up 90% of each year's Banned Books Week travesty list?)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it seems like over-reacting, but over-reacting is appropriate in this case. Taking a book off the shelf for reasons other than the usual weeding criteria is the camel's nose under the tent. If that's allowed to go without comment, then the next book could be about evolution, or astronomy, or democracy. Even private schools and homeschoolers are subject to some minimum standards, because it's in the best interests of all of us to live in an educated society.

Anonymous said...

1) The author of the book has publicly stated that the book is anti-Catholic. So if is is publicly acknowledged that the book is anti-Catholic, why should a Catholic school have it in its collection anyway?

2) If pulling a book from a collection because it doesn't meet the needs of the patrons is considered censorship, then libraries censor books all the time when they weed books.

3) If the books are still available in public libraries and at book stores, then how can there be censorship? Sorry I think of Cuba, Soviet Russia, and Nazi Germany as employers of censorship.

Privateer6

Nathan said...

After giving the LJ author, Rory Litwin, a quote from this blog, I wrote the following:

So why is this so f-ing upsetting? As a Christian, I will certainly want my children to be able to understand the arguments of this book and to be able to discuss it intelligently, as I am sure many of these Catholic parents would like as well.

Perhaps you might say something like “one has to learn to evaluate the behavior of other people, not just blindly copy them”, and I agree, but I wonder *when* this process should start. I have to say as a father, that in a child’s early years at least, children really don’t seem to need much explanation for why you believe something is right - and explicitly introducing them to alternative viewpoints to “evaluate” would seem to only breed unnecessary confusion. I suppose I tend to be quite “traditional” and “intolerant” in my values. For example, even if I myself might enjoy sharing a beer with a NAMBLA member, listening sympathetically to him about the merits of his case, hell would have to freeze over before I gave him access to my seven-year old son (he’s actually about 5 right now) so that he could convince him of the richness and beauty of man-boy love. “Eight is too late” indeed!

All things in due time. “Age-appropriate-ness” is key."

So I don't think this is rocket science.

I will say, however, that if the Catholic school is receiving gov't funding, they may want to reconsider how they do things, because it does allow more room for people to critcize their decision.

Anonymous said...

How did the book get on the shelf in the first place?

Anonymous said...

AL, did you realize that you had such a Canadian following. Wow. You are international. Now, please (or have you already) discussed something regarding libraries/librarians in Mexico so that you can be covered by both North and South. You go girl!

JJ Scmidt (that's my name too...) said...

Oh you spammer !

Below is the message I received when I followed your link to the reply by the ALA Pres.
My personal opinion of ALA and its anti-censorship ideals should probably be censored, so I will keep them to myself (i.e. if you can't say anything nice.....)

403 Forbidden
Please stop referer spam.
We have identified that you have been refered here by a known or supposed spammer.

If you feel this is an error, please bypass this message and leave us a comment about the error. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

If you are actually doing referer spam, please note that this website/b2evolution no longer records and publishes referers. Not even legitimate ones! While we understand it was fun for you guys while it lasted, please understand our servers cannot take the load of all this cumulated spam any longer... Thank you.

Also, please note that comment/trackback submitted URLs will be tagged with rel="nofollow" in order to be ignored by search engines.

Anonymous said...

Whether the Ontario Catholic school board, or any other Canadian Catholic organization for that matter, recommends that Catholic schools or Catholics in general not read The Golden Compass, does not make the book any less accessible to those who want to read it. Walk down to Chapters or Indigo Books in downtown Toronto, the book is there. It isn't banned!

In seems like in the blogosphere, as it is in the world, there are some who are permitted to voice their opinions, however harsh or blunt, without a second thought. The American Left hates George W. Bush with a passion. Hate him. But that's all right to voice that kind of commentary. However, if some small Canadian Catholic school board argues against a book, by God, how dare they. They, that crumbling corrupt institution, how dare they speak their minds like that. They are not allowed. They are not progressive and enlightened as we are.

If Catholics do not want to read or watch The Golden Compass. That's fine. In Canada, we are free to decide what we want to read or watch.

Dances With Books said...

If the Catholics don't want to read the book, so be it. I am sure there will be plenty of Protestants, other religious people, and heathens who will be happy to buy it and read it. I was not really even thinking about it, but this fuss now has me curious enough I may go out and get a copy to read it.

To an extent, I agree with Anon. @ 7:54:

"Even private schools and homeschoolers are subject to some minimum standards, because it's in the best interests of all of us to live in an educated society."

Sure, they can go ahead and keep their book out of their schools; it is their right. But if it starts slipping along to the public library, then the griping at the bookstores, well, you get the idea. I guess my question or concern, if you can put it that way, is that I have no faith in people. With very few exceptions, they are mostly sheep. Next we take out the books on evolution, after all, "it's only a theory," so let's teach also the alternative of creationism ("oops, intelligent design."). Oh well, I can look at it in the positive way: when those uneducated/undereducated folk make it to the workplace, more chances for my kid to get a job.

Anyhow, for the Golden Compass, if it rocks your world, read it. If not, don't, that's cool. Just don't try to deprive those who want to read it.

Rory said...

You and Nathan misundertood my post. I was complaining about the coverage in American Libraries Direct, and its uncritical use of the word "accused" and "alleged" in reference to Pullman's anti-Catholic and atheist viewpoint.

Talking Books Librarian said...

Wow AL, I think this topic has hit a chord with many librarians out there!

Anonymous said...

"Since when can't private, Catholic schools decide what is appropriate for their libraries "

Since when can't ANY library decide what is appropriate for their libraries (contrary to ALA dogma). Public libraries do it all the time *gasp*. Shhh, Don't tell anybody... and dont claim you dont... if you have a finite budget, you do.

I never fully got the 'banned book' terror either. You can always go to a bookstore and buy it,,, and if you do not have the money you can sit around in the cozy chairs they have at most of those large bookstores and just read it... spilling crumbs into it so that when I come and buy it I get a bonus. *is irritated with crumby books*

Canada is far far too chilly to emigrate to. It hurts to breath in the wintertime. Who want to live where breathing hurts? (I digress)

-Minks, the preacher of Mediocre

Michelle said...

I wonder how long those books sat at the Catholic school on the shelf before anyone realized what they were even about? Hmmm, I'm guessing it wasn't until recently when the movie came out and people started getting riled up over it. They haven't quite figured out that when it comes to this kind of publicity, it pretty much guarantees that people are going to go out and read the book to see what all the hype is about. As for why people are in the private, Catholic schools business... my guess is that they have nothing better to do with their time.

AL said...

Rory, you're right that I didn't address that part of your post, and I agree with you that the coverage in AL Direct was strange. I still think though that your later comments on free speech and such were a rant irrelevant to the issue.

Anonymous said...

AL - are you feeling well? Because I don't see the humor today. Maybe it is because I went to an intolerant Catholic school but I really think it is a good thing to have open, public, criticism or religious institutions - otherwise they start doing some crazy ass things.

AL said...

Am I feeling well? No, I'm not. I've been cranky, irritable, and sick since Sunday, and am looking at everything through jaded eyes. Probably i shouldnt even be posting.

Cincinnati NAMjA said...

This is a real sticky subject. I am not sure what education merit this novel has, but some people justify censorship of books because they want to protect its readers (in this case, children) from harm. Who said learning is not supposed to be easy? The best lessons learned in life are sometimes the hardest lessons to learn.

Stephen Denney said...

On Rory Litwin at Library Juice,you say: "His response was to give us a self-righteous paragraph about how we're all free to criticize religion and if anyone was aware that it was illegal to criticize Catholicism would they please let him know, because if it is he'll have to change his plans to emigrate there someday."

Where does he say he plans to emigrate to Canada?

Anonymous said...

Just to fuel the censorship fire a little more, here's a story about a challenge to a public library, in the United States, over a children's book that depicts homosexual marriage:
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5king.6161310nov30,0,2885794.story

Perhaps the most upsetting part is near the end: "Lawmakers in Oklahoma voted last year to withhold state funding from public libraries that don't place books containing homosexual themes in a separate section in response to complaints about 'King & King' and other books."

School libraries exist in a grey area because they are tied to curriculum and what gets TAUGHT to all children, whereas public libraries provide options for people to choose from. As soon as that choice becomes limited, we're looking at censorship in the big bad C kind of way, not selection or a we-don't-have-enough-money-to-buy-everything kind of way.

Michaela B. said...

I work at a public library. A coworker will no longer speak to me because we had a disagreement about the Golden Compass. I was simply defending a book she called anti-god--she immediately turned it into a lifestyle discussion. She said that parents should only allow their children to read books that mirror the parent's values. I was dumbfounded, and so forgot the golden rule of the liberal--don't get into a debate with a religious conservative because there is no way to "win" (in fact, there is no way to debate, in the true sense of that word). Even though I was making no judgements, she was, and claiming personal superiority based on religion is something I will not tolerate. So guess who 'won'? I did, because I no longer am worthy of her attention, and this is fine with me.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic church has a long, deep history of influencing the reading habits of Canadians. The Church's influence was one reason why Quebec's public libraries were stunted.

AL, you might want to read a little about the Maurice Duplessis era before reacting to Canada's unease with Catholic censors.

Anonymous said...

Micheala,
So you say that children should NOT only read books that mirror the parent's values. So what you are saying is that in addition to conservative parents allowing their children to read material they deem inappropriate, you are saying that liberal parents should allow their children to read material that they deem inappropriate. Therefore will you let your children read Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, et al since they have an opposing viewpoint and it is only fair for the children to get all viewpoints?

One thing you forget is that parents have a responibilty not only to their children, but also to society to instill moral values in them. Parents have the responsibilty, obligation, and right to transmit their values to their children. That can be very difficult in today's age, and is the reason why some parents take their children out of public school and place them in private school, or homeschool them.

If you ever want to see what a society that indoctrinates youth to values that are foreign to parents, I suggest looking at the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and other totolitarian countries.

More later.
Privateer6

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the potent double-whammy of the library-left: censorship + nasty Christians.

Hey Angry Left, try criticizing Islam why don't you. Then you'll have reason to move to Canada or, even better, another planet to keep your sorry hides safe.

Anonymous said...

Privateer6, Sooner or later the kids grow up, and if they come to doiscover that all that mom and dad said is false, and those values they clutched so dearly to for so long were for all the wrong reasons, the parents lose.

Very simple, if parents teach their children to have rational analysis skills, and the ability to decide form themselves why something is right or wrong and explain Why Without the Parents Coaching, their children will be far more mature about a far broder range of subjects then the rest of the people around them and at a sooner age.

Otherwise they will end up like the the kids around here...they swear up and down by mom and daddie's rules, but they are also sneaking out and having sex at an average age of 15...GOOD JOB MOM AND DAD!!!

~merc Kat.

AL, do get better. In the meantime, feel free to write more, it is in these doldrums that we write our most, shall we say, humorous moments. Well, that is, when we look back on them in future years and laugh!

Anonymous said...

Privateer6,

Um...I'd let my children read whatever they wanted to, whether it was material I agreed with or not. I don't believe in censoring other people's reading, period, full stop. And I believe children are people too. Although some conservatives don't seem to agree with that...

But letting kids get information from opposing viewpoints is important. How do you expect them to learn to formulate logical arguments - or be able to poke holes in the arguments of others - if you never let them hear but one side of the story?

That isn't protecting them. It's keeping them dangerously ignorant. And vulnerable to anyone who's plausible on the surface, because they don't know how to look any deeper.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Ah, merc Kat beat me to it. :) Yay rational analysis skills!

Lynn

Leo Klein said...

Rory: "I was complaining about the coverage in American Libraries Direct ..."

Ugh, I unsubscribed when they started dedicating column space to electronic trinkets totally unrelated to librarianship. See here for more...

On Banned Books, librarians are the canary in the coal mine.

In the ALA Press Release, Loriene Roy says:

"It is one thing to disagree with the content of a book or the viewpoint of an author; it is quite another thing to block access to that material because of that disagreement. Removing a book from a school or library because the author is an atheist, or because a religious group disagrees with the book's viewpoint, is censorship that runs counter to our most cherished freedoms and our history as a nation that celebrates and protects religious diversity."

I think most librarians would agree with that.

Also, it isn't completely accurate to imply Roy was focusing on "Catholic hillbillies" since the article she links to also discusses the decision of Conkwright Middle School, a public school, not to remove the book from its shelf.

I'm no apologist for the ALA, but its stand on Banned Books is something we can all be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the decision of the schools to ban the book may lead to more sales for Pullman. The average kid, in my experience, will see the movie and try to get the book from the school library. When the school doesn't have it, the kids will decide the library is, once again, lame, and go buy a copy.

More people may even go see the movie because it is about a book banned by the Ontario Catholic schools.I remember cheerfully stepping over the legs of kneeling picketers back in the early 90's when I saw "Jesus of Montreal". I am sure all the Catholic disapproval of that film drove its sales up - I went to see what the fuss was about.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Pullman has a right to write what he wants. Readers have a right to read what he writes. Catholics have a right to say, "You know, I'm not going to provide shelf-space to another anti-Catholic screed." Sounds like everyone's within their rights here. If they were trying to get publishers to stop printing it, or recall copies that were already out there, I could see the case of "OMG! EVIL CATHOLICS TRYING TO SUPPRESS FREE SPEECH!" But just saying, "You know, I don't think I really want this in a Catholic school library"... not so much. That, after all, is also free expression. You're free to say anything you want. I'm free to metaphorically roll my eyes and walk away. And I'm not obliged to let you do it my living room.

Now, an argument could be made that it would be wise to have them on the shelves because it's important for Catholic students to understand the various and sundry accusations against the church, but I think the question comes down to whether or not Pullman is to be taken quite that seriously.

Anonymous said...

"It is clear that censorship is not a cut and dried issue. There is a danger in thinking it is, for then the debate falters and understanding ends. We must realize that censorship will be with us always. It is a weapon to protect the order of society and the peace of communities. However, it is a two-edged sword and must be handled with care and caution. Of all professions librarianship must ensure that both sides of the debate remain alive. If the censorship side predominates, truth and moral progress suffer; if the anti-censorship side predominates, the drift to selfishness and anarchy presents a clear danger to the cohesion and order of the social system, the destruction of which brings us to barbarism, tyranny, and the loss of all freedom."
— "A Clash of Values: Censorship", Canadian Library Journal, February 1988, pp. 35-39
S.D. NEILL

Anonymous said...

Kat,
Yes kids do grow up, and their is the chance that a parent's values are wrong. While alienation may result IF the child as an adult realizes the error of their parent's ways, most of the time they child grows up to mirror the adult. At least that is my experience. The young adult may go through a rebellious stage, but as they mature, most return to the values of the parents. Excellent example of this is the Amish.

Lynn,
Yep you are correct in that children are people too. However they do not have the rational capabilities of an adult at the 5-14 years of age, and they are only beginning to reason as adults at 15- 25 years of age. (an aside, the 25 years of age for fully developed adult reasoning is from some of the latest scientific research. Personally I think that is the case, but if it is it may the result of declining education standards. Look at the WWII generation and what they accomplished).

My point is that young children need guidance in what they read. You say it's ignorance to keep some works away from children, I say it's taking responsibility for being a parent and instilling in your children the virtues and morals you want instilled in them. Then as they get older and can reason with them, allow them to read the questionable material and then discuss it with them.

Grant you not many parents take time to even read to their kids, let alone talk to them these days.

privateer6

Anonymous said...

My comment is in response to this:

"Lawmakers in Oklahoma voted last year to withhold state funding from public libraries that don't place books containing homosexual themes in a separate section in response to complaints about 'King & King' and other books."

This was not passed. The House voted passed it, but the Senate let it die in committee. And we breathed a sigh of relief.

Anonymous said...

Privateer6 - ITA.

One thing you forget is that parents have a responibilty not only to their children, but also to society to instill moral values in them.

I'd take this a step further. Parents have a RIGHT to raise their children as they see fit. If some posters don't like how parents are raising their children and what books they are allowed to read - then go out and have your own kids! But DO NOT tell a parent how to raise his/her child.

AL - I don't always agree with your posts, and have never found them funny as I just don't care for sarcasm, but I think you have written a decent piece.

Anonymous said...

Very simple, if parents teach their children to have rational analysis skills, and the ability to decide form themselves why something is right or wrong and explain Why Without the Parents Coaching, their children will be far more mature about a far broder range of subjects then the rest of the people around them and at a sooner age.

Uh, yeah, so what? That's the parents choice. Not yours. I suggest that you respect other people's choices, which includes other people's religion. Just because YOU personally decided that you didn't like your mommy and daddy doesn't mean that all children will do so.

I am so disgusted by these comments! I really believed that librarians would be more open-minded than this. Maybe AL is on to something after all...

Anonymous said...

Lynn - you said, "Um...I'd let my children read whatever they wanted to, whether it was material I agreed with or not."

I respect YOUR decision to raise your children as you believe best. Why can't you respect other people's decision to raise their children as they believe best?

Anonymous said...

Pullman has a right to write what he wants. Readers have a right to read what he writes. Catholics have a right to say, "You know, I'm not going to provide shelf-space to another anti-Catholic screed." Sounds like everyone's within their rights here.

Wow - what a great best! I completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Pullman has a right to write what he wants. Readers have a right to read what he writes. Catholics have a right to say, "You know, I'm not going to provide shelf-space to another anti-Catholic screed." Sounds like everyone's within their rights here.

Wow - what a great post! I completely agree.

Norma said...

Books are "banned" all the time by librarians--it's called not purchasing them in the first place. When questioned, they'll say it wasn't reviewed in the appropriate source, or the binding wasn't substantial, or it doesn't meet the collection criteria.

Anonymous said...

I say it's taking responsibility for being a parent and instilling in your children the virtues and morals you want instilled in them.

ITA. There are so many parents that don't bother to instill morals in their children, but I believe that is the basic fundamental responsibility of parenting.

Although I respect Lynn's comments regarding teaching opposing viewpoints, and I agree with her, I also agree with privateer6 that this should be done when age-appropriate and it is the decision of each parent as to when this is best.

What is so amazing as I always thought of myself as a farily liberal person. I respect other's right to religion, even religions I do not agree with. I would never dare tell Jewish or Muslim parents that they are teaching their children wrong. But apparently, some posters on this board believe that Catholics are doing just that! Perhaps I'm not a liberal after all?

I also apologize for not signing my earlier posts - they are the 4 immediate postings to this one, and they are all mine.

- Audrey

contrarian said...

Of course the response at Library Juice was self-righteous and irrelevant. What do you expect from one of the leading ideologues and pseudointellectuals in the Social Responsibility Round Table?

Anonymous said...

You either teach them how to be rational nd let them read what they want to read, or they will read what they want nd not tell you.

Face it, kids these days have a much larger window of "freedom" then ever before [myspace, etc: if you think your kid does not have a myspace and yet all their friends do, it's because they won't tell you about their page] and the one thing they need most is clear definition on what is right and what is wrong. Anything you don't want them seing, they already know where to see it.

This age group called "teen" did not exist until about 1900 and it wasn't until 1935 that it was even in common usage.

So what happened to "teens" before this time? When they got to 7th - 8th grade, they took a choice of either high school or the work force. There, these kids were regarded as young adults and that was the end of it - the measure of their worth was in how hard they could work, and that was it. No wonder people got so much more done in those days.

If your child rearing is so superficial that a book will adversly affect the values you have instilled in your children, then perhap you need to rethink your method.

Crumbly said...

Don't like censorship and like all such the removal of this book will turn out to be a way of getting a foot stigmata by the Catholic hierarchy shooting themselves there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:01
You are very correct in that at 8th grade, if you got that far, you either went to work or continued high school.

BUT you should also note that education standards were much higher than today's. Have you read any of the elementary textbooks from that period? Heck have you read any of the children's literature from the period. A lot more advanced than today's works. Let's face it, to get a job that 30 years ago just needed a high school diploma now requires an associates, if not higher, degree. Why becasue the eductaion standards today are too low.


As someone who taught high school and college, my experience points to several problems with education. And removing the Golden Compass is not one of them.

More later.

Privateer6

Anonymous said...

Ok I'm back. Here are some problems I've encountered in thge eductaion system, both secondary and post secondary. An banned books have nothing to do with either.

1) Lack of discipline. With all the restrictions placed on teachers, and the threat of lawsuits from parents, there is no way to enforce disciple to create an environment conducive to learning. One example was a student I was tutoring. The individual was failing history and I was asssigned to tutor the individual. Everything was scheduled to as inconvenient to the student as possible, yet they refused to show up. An the teacher, counselor, and vice-principal were powerless to do anything. Obviously that student failled, and then I was blamed for the failure.

2) No sense of responsibility, only a sense of entitlement. See above for secondary example. For post-secondary example, best one is the student who told me "You have to give me an A because my job is paying for me to go to school." Yep this came from a college student.

Better example is the prof I had who now refuses to teach again
at Harvard becasue he was threatened with a law suit for giving a student a "B" on a test.

3) Low Standards. Teachers have too many roles,i.e. teacher, counselor, confidant, parent, parole officer, ad nauseum, and cannot focus on the primary role: Teaching. Therefore standards drop. Don't believe me, look at children's literature and textbooks from the 1950s and compare them to the same materials today. You will see the difference.


Privateer6

She thinks she's Carrie Nation said...

I don't get the uproar. Catholic schools are private schools. Some private schools have beliefs they would prefer not be challenged, especially in their OWN library that THEY pay for. Presumably, if you send your child to a private/religious institution you agree to these beliefs or at least agree not to challenge those beliefs.

In addition, most private schools cost a lot of money. There may be exceptions where students receive scholarships but on the whole these children come from families who are not impoverished. I'm sure they could spring for the price of the book if they didn't want to borrow the item from the public library or through ILL.

In addition, not reading the Golden Compass will not prevent a student from getting a good SAT score or prevent them from being accepted by the college of their choice. Catholic schools do still teach things like biology, math and physics, you know, stuff thats actually on those entrance exams.

Susie V Kaufman said...

http://www.soapboxxer.com/soapboxx/10247

TOPIC: "I Read Banned Books"