Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly

I live in Southwest Missouri. I love books. I love reading. I have never believed in banning books and I think it is the epitome of stupid to attempt to censor thoughts. And I love Missouri, too.
Lately, though? My state is making itself look stupid.
(Oh, goodness. My career in politics is gonna be soooo wonderful.)
First, there's this. Guess what? Stockton has an amazing lake. It's school is small, and there's some really pretty houses out there. One July, we set fireworks off on the shore. But guess what? No one knows that about Stockton. They just know that it banned a book. It was a stupid move. But that is not Missouri.
And now there is some asshat who wants to ban Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. Here's Ms. Anderson's post on it. 
And guess where he lives?
Not so far from me. The place has a great pizza parlor. It has a goat in its school yard and a really good debate tournament. The Ruby Tuesday is like, the center of the town.
He works at MSU. I know MSU. One of my parents went there. One of my best friend's sister goes there.
And my paper posted his comment about how Speak is basically 'soft pornography'.
What the freak?
My newspaper. Mine. Mine and hundreds of other readers. People who love books. This isn't okay, okay? This isn't what the community thinks. He wants to talk soft pornography? Okay, then don't let your kids watch Titanic, Avatar, Twilight -- after all, they deal with relationships.
You wanna talk about Speak? We aren't talking relationships. We aren't talking pornography. We are talking rape. We are talking about a book that is strong and true and honest.
Ms. Anderson mentioned on her blog that no one in the community responded. And I'm so sorry. I know that it's probably true, at least when it comes to the paper. This is me, responding; he's an idiot.He talked about Twenty Boy Summer, too. Slaughterhouse Five.
But please. Don't think Missouri is a bunch of nuts and crazies and book banners. We aren't. We just have some stupid people, but I'm sure South Carolina, Georgia, Oregon and Montana do too. For that matter, so does England, Japan, and probably Iceland. The comments  on the article are true and honest and brave. But please don't stereotype us.
That said . . . This guy is ridiculous. But you know what'll be more ridiculous?
If his voice is heard more than the rest of ours. It's not okay. It's not all right. Reading about rape isn't going to make me lose my morals -- it's ridiculous and insulting to say that. Reading about drugs or alcohol isn't gonna make me go get smashed. Saying this is 'Christian' is such an insult to the entire faith.
So this is me, adding my voice to everyone else's.
This can't happen. If it does get banned, I can promise you this, though -- the uproar won't only be that of the literary world. It will come from this community as well.
Show your support. Banned Books week comes next week, so I suppose it couldn't have happened at a better time.
You've seen the hashtag on Twitter, I'm sure, but it's more than true.


Maggie said...


Our whole community is getting the backlash of the one guy's opinion and it sucks. There are so many people here that LOVE these books, and the whole of Missouri is coming across as narrow-minded. Our area especially.

But it isn't true. This is one guy. And this whole situation kills me. :-/

Krista Ashe said...

I couldn't agree more. That's why it's so important to speak up and have our voice heard. So glad you posted and gave some perspective on MO. I know that it's not all asshats like this b/c since I'm in GA, I know what it's like to be lumped together with a bunch of asshats sometimes, lol

Girlinbetween said...

Great post! Thank you for speaking loudly against this! It's just as important to show the world we will not stand for this

Christine Fonseca said...

Such a great post! THANK YOU.

Aspen said...

OK, I have nothing against religion, as long as you keep it to yourself. I really hate the way prominent Christian figures have been behaving lately.

I could rant on and on and on and on and on about religion, so I'm not gonna. I'm just gonna say Sam, you're right about Iceland.

There is a minister here, kind of well-known because of stupid actions, who recently lashed out at Iceland's biggest meat factory. Why? Because they wanted to process our meat a little differently so they could sell it to arabic/muslim countries. They were not granted approval because this minister spoke up and said that "meat slaughtered under another prayer than our own is not edible for Christians".

I'm not going to say anything. i think you know how ridiculous I think this is.