Saturday, September 24, 2011
Banned Book Week: Some Modest Proposals
You know what great, safe, and improving literature is regularly overlooked? Instruction manuals! Don't believe me? Go find the manual that came with your IPod or your microwave. Better yet, read that fascinating sheet that came with your Ikea book case. You won't find swear words, sexual situations, or violent content in there. And it just gets better, because instructional manuals fold up so nice and cozy -- you won't need the book case you just bought. Take it back!
I'm a school teacher, so it's very important for me to be aware of all these banned books. Such evil works as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men can be found all over my school! But worry not, dear reader. I'm tossing that smut and replacing it with helpful and instructional literature. This week I made copies of my Verizon monthly statement for my entire class. Of course I blacked out HBO first, because we all know what kind of filth runs on HBO.
You might think cookbooks are safe. And I agree, so long as they don't have any recipes that are high in fat, salt, or sugar. The trouble is that a smart student, when given a Weight Watchers cookbook, will figure out how to re-introduce the salt, sugar, and fat into an otherwise slimmed-down recipe. So be warned. Cookbooks are not acceptable.
I'll tell you something else that should be banned. Used book sales. There's no oversight in these things! Kids can wander around and just choose whatever they want to read. Chances are that Mom is over looking at the tennis or yoga paperbacks. She won't even notice her susceptible youngster poking a curious eyeball into Leaves of Grass.
The very best way to protect innocent children from banned books is to not teach them to read in the first place. How many times have I had to remind you people that the entire Captain Underpants series is banned, banned, banned! And it's written for third graders. You can't have third graders reading about a character named Professor Pippy P. Poopypants! This will warp them for life. Better not to read at all than to be tempted to read a banned book.
Further banning: the bestseller list. Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or any of its sequels? Horrific! (I actually mean it. Turned my stomach.) And yet ... and yet ... that book is in my school's library! Heck, let's ban bestsellers and the library. Purity of mind, purity of mind.
I have been trying to decide what core curriculum I should teach my sophomores next, after they're through with the Verizon bill. Aha! Here's my high school yearbook! (*Anne blacks out the ribald comments by her classmates*) What a relief! My students will love this.
This is at least the tenth post I've written about banned books. Lately I've been wondering why I get all riled up about them. I hardly ever see anyone reading a book anymore, unless it's a student who's been told they have to read. So we stop teaching students to read, and then no one will read, and there will be no reason to ban books.
I say, give everyone a Droid and burn all the books. A modest proposal.