You Can’t Read That!

You Can’t Read That! is a periodic post featuring news about banned and challenged books.


That rumor I mentioned in my last YCRT! column?  The one about the racists going after ethnic studies at the universities, now that they’ve “fixed” the high schools?  Looks like there’s some truth behind it.

Here’s another disturbingly Orwellian bill working its way through Arizona’s unhinged legislature: HB 2549, which will ban the use of language meant to “terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend” on electronic and digital devices.  I’m worried about that “annoy or offend” … might not describing Arizona lawmakers as “unhinged” annoy or offend?  God, I hope so.  Oh, wait, is that Sheriff Joe pulling up out front?


The author of ttyl gets mail: “lady your sick. what’s the matter with you. you make me feel dirty. maybe you got a brain infection. please keep writing books so you don’t ever use your infected brain to act with. I wouldn’t want anybody getting hurt. by your demented interpretation of sense making.”  And she’s at the top of the ALA’s ten most frequently challenged books of 2011 list!  Guess I’ll have to add Lauren Myracle’s YA novels to my read & review list.

Interesting reflections on the chilling effect of book bannings and challenges by the author of The Book of Negroes (which was actually burned in Amsterdam last year, and which I reviewed here).

Banned & challenged video games?  Sure, if they have Teh Gay!  Why can’t all video games end with Mario planting a kiss on that cute Princess Peach?  Is that too much to ask?

The public library in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin won’t stock Fifty Shades of Grey.  The librarian’s argument is that the book is erotica, not literature.  Okay … but is the accusation true?  I mean, if parents in Pennsylvania think cowboys in bathtubs is porn, how do we know this Wisconsin librarian isn’t cut from the same cloth?

Oh yeah, you read that right: there are parents in Annville, Pennsylvania who think a drawing of a cowboy in a bathtub is pornography.  To the pornographer in question, those parents are being ridiculous.

A disturbing look inside the mind of Eric Adams, a book banner who got his teabag in a twist over Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed (which I reviewed here).  And here’s some good news to offset that last link: the Easton, Pennsylvania school board found Mr. Adams’ arguments without merit and shot him down.

More good news: the Cairnbrook, Pennsylvania school board that was asked to ban Jeanette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle has decided to keep the book on its 10th grade reading list.  I plan to read and review this book soon.

What’s with you guys in Pennsylvania lately?  You’re never going to top Arizona!

© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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