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18 June 2015 @ 03:36 pm
SpeakLoudly  
The latest instance of censorship is taking place in a rather unusual setting, at a community college in California. Here is one piece about the challenge: http://cbldf.org/2015/06/college-student-wants-four-graphic-novels-eradicated-from-the-system/

Basically, a young woman (20 years old) signed up for an elective course and objected to the required texts for the course on graphic novels. She and her PARENTS protested to the college itself, citing that all 4 novels were "pornographic." The college affirmed that the professor for the course had the freedom to require texts. They also noted that this student was not forced to take this course. She and her parents demanded that warnings be issued for required readings. And now they will more than likely take their battle to the university bookstore. I suspect it will go much further than that.

There are so many things about this instance that are incredibly sad. A recent article indicated that this student who is objecting to the books is seeking a degree in English. I wonder what she expects future texts to be. Will she be offended by other required readings? Hawthorne? Poe? Chaucer? Shakespeare?

She expected a course on graphic novels to be about Batman. That demonstrates a total lack of work on her part. If she was signing up for a course, she could easily have discovered more information about requirements and about text. Instead, she signed up for a course she suspected would be about comic books. This is unsettling.

Her parents are part of this challenge even though the student is 20. This is not a case of helicopter parents; these parents are drone parents: they come in firing. And what a poor model they are, making snap judgements about the required reading. I am fairly certain they have not read the books in their entirety nor know anything about their merit as literature worthy of study.

And now the college wants instructors to warn students about content for the required readings. Shall we begin to use labels now. Scarlet Letter gets a PG-13 for sexual content? This would be something championed by Lynne Cheney who once proposed doing just this. Maybe we can direct this student and her parents to Common Sense Media for their ratings before another English course is selected? (JK)

The entire thing seems too silly for words, and yet it speaks to a deeper problem of how readily someone can cause a storm simply by asserting a book is pornographic and not worthy of study or of existing.

Time to #SpeakLoudly.
 
 
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