Sunday, May 4, 2014

Conservative Parents Go To Great Lengths To Prevent Anybody From Reading A Book They Hate, Fail Spectacularly

I never know whether to laugh or cry at ultra-conservative parents, who, when they object to a book that goes against their beliefs, try to prevent anybody from reading it.
A few conservative parents in Idaho tried to get
people to stop reading this book. The move
backfired spectacularly, as expected.  

Such was the case recently in a school district in Idaho, where the parents succeeded in getting the young adult novel "Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie off the school's reading lists and, says the Idaho Statesman. 

The book is popular among teens and critics and won a National Book Award.

However some of the parents in Meridian, Idaho say the well-acclaimed novel has problems such as language "we do not speak in our home," that it has "references to masturbation, and is "anti-Christian."


Now, I don't have a huge problem if a parent does not want their kid to bring home a particular book and read it.  Denying the kid a book might help stunt their intellect or craving for knowledge a bit, but parents do have the right to determine which reading material is in their home.

But I have a real problem with these parents trying to stop everyone else from reading it.  (The solution here would have been to get students to read another book if parents objected to this one.)

These censorship efforts usually backfire, though, and this one did, too. First of all, news media attention to this issue increased interest in the book.

Then, a local bookshop, Rediscovered Books, started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a book for each of the 350 kids who had signed a petition to keep the novel on the reading list. The campaign raised $3,400, enough money to pull this off, says the website Death and Taxes. 

From there, local kids and the bookstore began giving away copies of the novel to anyone who wanted it.

You go kids!!

When the ultra-conservative parents heard these kids were out there giving the book away, well, the horror! They called the cops on the kids to put a stop to that business.

Hilarious, I know.

Only trouble was, the cops didn't shut down the book giveaway because the kids weren't breaking any laws or causing any trouble. They do have the First Amendment right to peaceably hand out books and literature.

The police basically told the bookish kids to have a nice day, then left.

On top of that, the book's publisher sent the kids another 350 copies of the book. Another book giveway is planned, and any of the Meridian kids who still want to read the novel can go to Rediscovered Books and pick up their free copy.

The bottom line is, as always, the parents who didn't want anybody to read the book because it would somehow poison kids' minds managed, through their actions, to get a LOT of people to read the book.

The author, Sherman Alexie, should think about hiring these parents as his publicity director.

And maybe it's time I read that book, too.

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