I'm not sure how much more there is to say that other people haven't said already, or that I haven't already said in posts past. So let me talk about some slightly different things in this post, things that I wonder why people like Wesley Scroggins never realize when they voice their opinions in support of censorship.
1. Out of dissent, heartbreak, and attacks against basic human rights is born community.
When LHA blogged about the Speak issue, hundreds of blog posts from supporters poured forth. I feel like I've been reading such posts nonstop since Sunday, and have teared up more times than I can count. For there is no good way to describe the sheer number of people who shared things about their past that, in most other situations, they would've rather not had to think about. Stories of sexual/physical/mental abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, mental illness, and more poured forth, which not only makes the message of Speak loud and clear, but has completely backfired against Scroggins' design: these so-called taboo subjects are experienced by all, and (sadly) for many people who've experienced these things in their lives, the YA lit community has been the most open, the most loving, supportive, and healing. I think Scroggins would do well to consider the fact that, from the looks of things, thousands of teens and adults who still remember being teens take comfort in the written words of people they may never have met before, rather than from their own local community.
2. Adult lit contains "smut" too.
|Oh, no no no. Excessive smuttiness:|
bared shoulders. Must. Ban!
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Teen virgin gets raped by sleazy older guy.
- The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Rape, and lots of it. And the girl is, like, 10.
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Murder!! And guy steals from lady he murders!!
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Kids going crazy and killing other kids.
- Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Incest and patricide.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Murder of a mentally disabled person.
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Double suicide at approximately 14 years old in the name of love.
- The Stranger by Albert Camus. MURDER! And not feeling bad about it.
(Please note that I DO like most of the books I just listed above.)
What's the difference between these classics and the YA books that are so often being challenged? One cannot even argue "different audiences," for a large number of teens will read one or more of the books listed above for school. And, Scroggins (I refuse to address you with the prefix because you are attempting to deprive others of basic human rights of education and knowledge, which is, as far as I'm concerned, ungentlemanly behavior), don't even think of accusing me of approaching these book descriptions "narrow-mindedly" if you're going to describe Speak as porn on account of a rape scene.
Not to mention the utterly bewildering fact that references to sex, whether consensual or nonconsensual, in YA lit is a no-no, but it is totally okay to teach dozens of books containing homicide, suicide, fratricide, patricide, matricide, prejudice, sexism, etc. in the approved secondary school English curriculum. Killing someone is okay; having sex for the first time with your long-term partner isn't. By Scroggins' definition, we've been reading lots and lots of porn in high school, and generations' worth of teachers, librarians, and academic scholars have been praising this pornographic reading list. Ole!
3. Therapy plz?
|Well, that helps.|
I'll be less snarky. Let's draw some attention to the fact that you now claim you never called the books you are challenging "soft pornography," despite the, uh, obvious fact that, er, it says so right in your original article. So now we have a case of someone with questionable sexual thoughts, who's denying responsibility for something for which evidence is being shoved right in his face that he is responsible for doing. Sounds like the faltering defense of someone who is badly losing his case in court. See you in therapy, Scroggins. It sure would be embarrassing to be related to you right about now.
Okay, that ended with copious amounts of snark. Whatever: I'm getting tired of dealing with the same type of people each time this issue comes up in the same way. Let others be the mature ones in this argument. I'm going for ridicule this time.