28 September 2009

Banned Book Week, What Book Did I Read You Ask? #bbw

Howdy. I have two posts in celebration of Banned Books Week. Sounds strange I know but I look at this week as a way to celebrate my right to read whatever the hell I want to, without interference from teachers, parents, or so called do-gooders.

First, Non and I read, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Pete Parnell with illustrations by Henry Cole.

This book is numero uno on the ALA's most challenged book list for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Reasons given:

anti-family - Actually, this book isnt anti family. In fact, it is rather pro family. It just isnt the kind of family a person who tries to ban books would like. It's a non-traditional family.

homosexuality - I assume they mean that the book promotes homosexuality. Non, the nine year old who read it didnt pick up on that. He certainly understood that the two penguins were male, and that they didnt hang out with the female penguins, but he didnt walk away from the book saying, homosexuality is great! He didnt even use the word. (He thinks homosexuality is fine of course but this book didnt tip him in that direction)

religious viewpoint - I am not sure what religious viewpoint the people who challenged the book were talking about. From reading it, religion wasnt mentioned and didnt play a part in the book at all. I assume they meant that by not talking about a specific western religion that the book was trying to push some heathen pagan religion but as an atheist, i can attest that there was NO religious point of view in this book at all.

unsuited to age group - Hmm, I suppose this would depend on the age of your children. There wasnt even the slightest hint of penguin baby making, or penguin anal sex. Unless you are disgusted by homosexuals, you can read this book and take nothing more from it than those penguins hatched an egg and now are a family. If you do hate homosexuals, then yes Crazy, this book is trying to indoctrinate your little butterface.

anti-ethnic - This is my favorite reason of all. This is the reason that I went all ranty over chicken with the family and Q had to talk me down. I had to actually m-w.com the word ethnic because the traditional meaning of "racial, tribal, national, cultural" didn't seem to apply. I wasnt aware that religion was included in the meaning, however. After I scoured the book for any mention of ethnicity and checked out all the photos to make sure brown black yellow cracker and red were accounted for I determined that folks who challenged this book must have decided that it was anti-religion. That really angered me. No where in this book is god or religion mentioned. The authors dont bag on christians. There aren't protests of the penguins by Westboro baptist church members. There is nothing anti religion or religious at all in this book. However, thats the problem right there...

There is a significant and loud subset of christians who think that when you dont talk about religion, that you are actively being ANTI religious. Ricky Gervais is dealing with similar criticism about his new movie The Invention of Lying. Critics have said it was anti-religious when in reality the movie says nothing about god or churches or anything else even remotely religious. The fact that Gervais doesnt mention a god at all is what people are referring to when they say it is anti-religious. Isnt that doublethink? I always thought it was okay for me to just be my own little atheist, not out trying to convert. But now i find that if i write a book that neither bashes nor praises the western christian god I am anti-religious?? Fuck, if NOT talking about a god I dont believe in means I am anti-religious then we are all screwed right?

After finishing the book Non declared it, "good, something kids should or could read." I asked him if was anti-family and he said no, because it was about families. I asked if it was anti-ethnic and he didnt understand what that meant. I asked if it was anti-religious and he said, with that distinctly nine year old whats-wrong-with-you-face, "...they are penguins."

From the mouth of babes....


Later this week I will be talking about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz which is ALA's number one most challenged book from 1990-1999.

For more information on Banned Book Week Events in your libraries and bookstores check out this link.

Happy Reading!


19 September 2009

"If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem."*

Fox recently placed an advertisement in newspapers that asked...

Good Question Fox, the only problem is that all the stations listed there DID in fact cover the rally in Washington D.C.

"CNN provided live coverage of the rally in Washington on Saturday, dispatching more than a dozen personnel, including multiple camera crews and the CNN Express Bus, to cover the event. Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser was live at Freedom Plaza; Correspondent Kate Bolduan reported live from the Capitol and throughout the crowd; All Platform Journalist Jim Spellman provided live hits all day after traveling for weeks on the Tea Party Express Bus; and CNN Correspondent Lisa Desjardins was live for CNN and CNN Radio from the National Mall."

If you read the story you can see that all of the other stations mentioned in Fox's ad also covered the rally.

Why did Fox lie? I cant stand that. It makes me so angry and what really kills me is that it is a ludicrous lie. A lie that can easily be disproved; that's a textbook definition of a pathological liar everyone.

Why would Fox risk looking so partisan and foolish? Its because they know that once the lie is out there, it is all that people will remember. People wont remember that CNN spent an extraordinary amount of time covering the rally. No one ever remembers someone being exonerated, they only remember them being accused. The moment a story leaks it becomes fact.

So Fox feels comfortable lying because the fans of Fox News will feel galvanised and will accept the ad as fact. The folks who dont like Fox will blow it off as some partisan bullshit and will forget about it in half a week when the next politician hits on a lobbyist.

But civility and honesty dies a little and Edward R Murrow spins in his grave.

~tweet tweet goes the cynical bird

*Abraham Lincoln

14 September 2009

Banned Books Week

Its that time of year again. Banned Books Week is September 26 - October 3 2009.

Last year I read The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier. I found it completely un-ban worthy. Honestly its the kind of books that kids can relate to. One that is didactic without beating you over the head with it (Can you tell I am studying for the GRE?).

This year I am going to read And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Its a children's book based on the true story of two male penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo who formed a couple and were seen trying to hatch a rock that was shaped like an egg. Zany penguins.

Its been #1 on the top ten list of most frequently challenged books for three years. The common reasons given are that it is anti-family (you mean anti-the type of family I think is okay), homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and anti-ethnic. I cant imagine what the hell that last one is about. Unless the penguins get into it with some African elephant.

Anyway, soon I will know and will, of course, pass that information along to you.

If you would like to read a banned book (which you totally should!) you can check out lists here. Also, check out the National Coalition Against Censorship website. Tons of good info (there is a perm. link on the right margin as well).

This is an issue near and dear to my heart so expect a couple more posts about it.

Happy Reading

13 September 2009

Donks and Musings

The season opener was sad and funny and sad all at once (yes, only two things).

The first play, a bungled punt return was a visual representation of what the entire season will be like. Whenever Orton trotted onto the field i watched the game through my fingers...yikes.

If anything, the crazy touchdown in the last 30 seconds just made me feel worse. Sure it was exciting but....if the Donks get a win, that's how it is going to have to happen all season long. So sad and funny.

Also, my fantasy football team has a new name, Dino Eats Jesus based on this photo

I will let you know how it goes. Right now, I have 169 points but he has a couple of players on Monday night so...
I get the Denver Post on Sat and Sunday because I am a sucker and when the kid came to the door to sell it to me I couldnt say no. I hate that crap...

Anyway, i hate getting the paper but am lazy (you noticed that already didnt you?) and havent called to cancel. Every week I remember why I dont like the newspaper... i swear there is no new news. Everything I had already read before, online or whatever.

But, today-finally- something I missed, though I am shamed to admit it. When did the Avs pick up Craig Anderson? Jeez, i stink! Didnt even see it. Burgundy White game is this Wednesday everyone. Pre-season opener on the 17th and the season opener and retirement of Sakic's jersey on October 1st.

Arent you glad I started blogging again? You're welcome America.


10 September 2009

Five Weeks?!

Wow, what kind of slacker am I?

Lets see, whats been going on.

Got married yesterday, watching football as we speak (yay, real football), am currently fighting my new companies discriminitory PTO policy, and am working on Vocab words for the GRE!

I've been busy but more than that....lazy. Not sure what is going on with that. I will try try to post more. Right now, brief alaska stuff.

Alaska was wonderful. I saw a buncha moose, like just hanging out in people's front yards peeing and eating the bushes. It was crazy. Also, five bald eagles. I wonder if it isnt as neat to see them if they are hanging out on telephone poles all the time.

Most importantly Q and non and I saw a buncha glaciers. We walked on one and took a boat to the other. It was freakin amazing and made me want to move there immediately.

Luckily Q reminded me of the winters and the lack of sun and so we arent moving but I will be going back.


Okay i am out. That's a lot for my first time back. I need to pace myself people!