The Baltimore filmmaker John Waters (Desperate Living, Hairspray) attended a strict Catholic high school. He said that every Friday, a monk would stand up and list the movies that the students should avoid that weekend. Waters made note and promptly went out to see every one of those movies. He said without the help of that monk, he never would have become a filmmaker.
The same holds true for banned books. If you get your mitts on the list (it varies, giving me a welcome pass on linking), you'll find some of the most fabulous works of world literature. Huckleberry Finn is always on it, and for my money it's the best novel ever written by an American.
Lately there's a new banned book on the block, and if I hadn't had grade school kids when it was published, I would have missed it.
Tra-la-la! Introducing Captain Underpants!
There are a series of "Captain Underpants" books by writer/artist Dav Pilkey. In the books, two elementary school boys named George and Harold cause mischief and draw comic books making fun of their hated principal, Mr. Krupp. So potent are these comics that Mr. Krupp winds up actually becoming the character, a doddering superhero who wears nothing but tighty-whiteys.
This is LOL funny stuff! And it has been banned from some school libraries. Why? Because "it encourages a disrespect for authority figures."
Sorry, book-banners, but we at "The Gods Are Bored" feel that this nation needs more, not less, disrespect for authority figures. Elementary-school-aged boys ought to be encouraged to draw comics of teachers and principals they hate. It's creative! Lets 'em blow off steam! Encourages them to question the fearless leaders of our nation!
If you know a youngster, especially a boy (but my daughters, The Heir and The Spare, loved this series), run out and buy "Captain Underpants" before it's banned from the stores!
And thank you for supporting Banned Books Week and books in general. Reading and writing is what separates us from other primates. If you don't do either, have a banana.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS