Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Books Week: My Personal Favorite

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" in the midst of Banned Books Week! Every year the American Library Association sets aside a week to remind us that the banning of books continues apace in school and public libraries.

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.



sageweb said...

I think they need to do a documentary on the people who go around trying to get books banned. I would be fascinated at what makes them tick.

THE Michael said...

But maybe I don't WANT to be seperated from the other primates! Maybe I WANT to have sex at the drop of a hat, rather than pulling a gun and shooting someone I disagree with. Some chick disrespects ME, YEA, baby, pull down them jeans, we gonna work out our differences!

Bonobo apes are who we should have been.

Anonymous said...

My 7 year old son LOVESLOVESLOVES 'Captain Underpants', and we re-read them constantly at bedtime.

Personally, I find the humor a little low-brow (how I groan when he pulls it out to read), but then, I'm not a 7 year old boy. ::shrug::

I imagine I read far worse stuff when I was seven.

Maeve said...

One of my youngest child's favorite books is Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen". awesome fun book.

People really do manage to get their "delicate sensibilities" too easily upset, don't they. And it's astounding how much energy they put into trying to control what other people do.

yellowdog granny said...

I have a book that I bought to read to the granddaughters when they were little called 'There are an awufl lot of weirdo's in the neighborhood'...and it had been on someone's ban's a terrific book, with great illustrations.
in honor of banning book week I'm now reading "Deer Hunting With Jesus, dispatches from America's Class War."
that'll teach 'em...

democommie said...

I have fond memories of "The Horse Is Dead" which was one of my first gratuitously inane reads.

mrsb said...

They'll never get rid of Captain Underpants! Those are great books. Anything that gets a kid reading is a good thing.

And you want respect for authority? Earn it! A book won't change that!