What follows is an outstanding article coincidentally illustrating why so many American Library Association [ALA] claims of censorship are false, why so many arguments the ALA makes for allowing children access to sexually inappropriate material do not ring true. Various arguments are set out as examples. And it describes why sexually inappropriate material should not be pushed on children, from the viewpoint of eighteen year old student Dia Darcey, no less.
SafeLibraries has been saying that the ALA recommends sexually inappropriate material for children without providing any warning as to the nature of the contents. See, for example, "P-rn Pushers -The ALA and Looking For Alaska -One Example of How the ALA Pushes P-rn On Children." And that is exactly what this student argues: "But in lieu of that, I need some form of warning, a label, a rating or even hint on the outside of literature to let me know the extent of objectionable content therein, no matter how highly the talk shows recommend it or how 'enlightening' it may be.."
This student has written a truly outstanding article. She is an example for all. Therefore, I am reprinting her letter and urge you to read it, keep it in mind, and bookmark this page.
"An Argument for Book Banning . . . Or At Least a Forewarning of Content," by Dia Darcey, Tulsa World, 11 August 2008 (emphasis added and hyphen added to p-rn).
My advanced literature class has introduced some truly enlightening literature this semester.
"Yay! More black-and-white p-rnography!" I exclaimed as we students were assigned the latest required reading by our English teacher.
In Advanced Placement, we are offered both timeless classics and newer, popular titles to challenge and advance our thought processes. Still, at times, I feel that I'm being subjected to more detail than may be found in an X-rated movie. This kind of p-rnographic content should be banned, or at least censored.
Heck, I'd even appreciate a warning scribbled on a Post-It note inside the front cover.
Personally, I would prefer that my primary sex education NOT occur accidentally during English class. When teachers require this material, they condone the content, whether they like it or not. How can administrators sleep at night when they're promoting this double standard?
"Here, read about this and this and this. Aren't we learning a lot? Whoa, hey! Stop that! Where ever did you ever get that idea?!"
'Monkey see, monkey do' goes doubly for teenagers, and as much as we teens try to prove our maturity, the facts still stand firm: Raging hormones, developing frontal lobes and social stresses combined with ever-widening freedoms create more judgment problems for teenagers than any other age group.
How can intelligent parents block cable, V-chip MTV, ban HALO III and punish us for dirty language, but not bat an eyelash as we pull out our homework assignment to annotate the (at least) R-rated "Beloved" or "Catch-22"?
What, you think it won't affect us because it's on a page? Because it's not a series of moving pictures or graphics? Because it's in print, it requires an advanced vocabulary and increases our comprehension? Some of the most influential mediums in the world were and are books. Anyone ever heard of the Bible? "Mein Kampf"?
What we listen to, what we watch and, believe it or not, what we read, affects us.
When faced with my resistance, my English teacher does her best to give me a few reasons that we, as high school seniors, are exposed to these kinds of books:
Art is art, and those who would define, refine or confine it lose its very essence.
Who is to say what is acceptable and what is not, and how long will it be until the tyranny of politically correct editing creates a real "1984" state?
The truth is only truth when it flows without barrier or constraint, letting loose the human soul to spring unfettered across the wide expanses of creativity!
Only illiterate, ignorant zealots want to censor books — we fear what we cannot understand!
Truly discerning readers are able to appreciate the author's purpose in including any language, events or descriptions.
Personally, and as an AP literature student with a kick-butt ACT reading score, I'm a bit skeptical of the generalizations that all censorship is the product of ignorance and can be placed on the same level as cannibalism, deforestation and Hitler. It seems to this ignorant National Merit Scholar (not to drop titles or anything) that everyone is anti-censorship because none of us wants to be labeled a philistine.
Book-banning is bad, of course — it's censorship. It is simply un-American to chain the creative tendencies of our budding authors because of fogey old ideals.
I am not advocating censorship. I'm asking the schools and publishers alike to consider my point of view. Even as an 18-year-old "adult," I would like a choice in my exposure to gratuitous sex, violence and language, even in the name of learning, literature or art.
I would prefer compelling literature without the public-pleasing passages that "elevate" the book to best-selling status. But in lieu of that, I need some form of warning, a label, a rating or even hint on the outside of literature to let me know the extent of objectionable content therein, no matter how highly the talk shows recommend it or how "enlightening" it may be.
In every other entertainment industry, producers are required to rate their product so the public can make an informed decision. Which is the greater travesty? Depriving the reader of information, judgment and free choice and calling it freedom of speech, or risking the buzzword "censorship" to facilitate knowledge and choice?
Voltaire is credited with the remark: "Though I may not agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it." It's a truism of freedom of speech and indeed, of all American liberties.
I would not like to contradict, but rather augment, this passage with another phrase: However, I do not have the obligation to read, listen to or analyze whatever garbage you have randomly passed off as "art" this afternoon.
Dia Darcey (918) 581-8336
Jenks graduate and rising Brigham Young University freshman firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dia Darcey, Satellite Correspondent
Copyright © 2008 , World Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
CREDIT: The Tulsa World