Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Those Who Wish to Police the World (or I Hate Those *Bleep*in' *Bleep*ers!)

Tip of the Day: Get all your political news updates from The Colbert Report. You won't be sorry.

Two weekends ago, I went to a library-sponsored panel talk between Bruce Coville (hilarious and brilliant) , Vivian Vande Velde (edgy and cool), and Cynthia DeFelice (sweet and charming).

They discussed the challenging, censorship, and banning of their books.

Yes, people, you heard me right. These lovely faces above have been CHALLENGED.

Oh, I shouldn't base the book on its author's pretty face?

OK, here is one of the books that just screamed SATANIC to a crazed parent.

Get ready for it....

Brace yourself.....


I know, I know, you had to sheild your eyes from the demonic image bc you also agree that the reference to the COLOR SILVER in this book screams DEVIL WORSHIPPER, and the fact that the dragon is fed chicken livers means the author is a satanic himself.

(I just need to add here in case my sarcasm isn't detected that if I heard someone make these arguments about a book, I'd probably have to be held back so as not to remove their tongues with my bare hands.)

I also learned that the three authors above have dealt with the following:
1) Children coming to school book talks, then lying about why they have to sit in the front row so they can secretly tape the story and then give the tape to mommy sho she can cry "Evil!" to the school administration.
2) The word "church" being removed from a picture book story when reprinted.
3) Parents asking why so many people have to die in their books.
4) The presence of witches in their stories get them challenged.
5) The presence of the word "devil" in book titles get them challenged.
6) "The color green is evil!"
7) "The color black is evil!"
8) "The color red is evil!"

If I go on, I will just get more angry at those who want to parent the world.

What I took away from this panel was that (1) these authors rock, and (2) any nut job can find any reason -- ANY reason -- to challenge a book.

I guess that's not too surprising in a day when the most challenged book of the last year is about boy penguins who raise a baby penguin together, and is based on a true story.


(Cue Psycho knife stabbing scene music here)

In the book my agent is shopping, I think the magical elements would be the first things to be challenged. HARRY POTTER is challenged all the time bc of its "witchcraft" persual.

What would be the first thing to be challenged in YOUR book?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped


D. Moonfire said...

Heh, for my YA novel, I would have to say the whole bringing back a teenager to life bit. And probably the shape-changing bits, because changing shape is evil! (Well, spiritual werebear, but still...) I seem to recall there is green all over the book, so thats probably evil too.

Though, the person I wrote it for told me, half way through the book, she hates bears. :) So, that was already a challenge.

I'm bothered by the penguin one though, the horror. But, it sounds like really cool people.

Kate Fall said...

Great post, Deena! Bruce Coville and Vivian Van de Velde are such talented writers (and now I have a new author to look up and read). Do people who challenge books ever read them? Think about what the words actually say? Maybe they don't but thankfully readers do!

Also, I thought chrome was the color of the devil. Huh. I guess it's a long list. "The Satanic Rainbow." (At the end, not a pot of gold but a pot of YOUR DOOM.)

DeenaML said...

Yes, bringing ppl back to life = bad, like CD's skeleton story.

And no, many of the challengers have NOT read the books they question. They take sections of it out of context and claim they know what's up.

Lisa Schroeder said...

bleepety bleepety bleep.

Mine has a ghost in it. Some people think that's sinful or evil or something probably.


Emily Marshall said...

...Criminal behavior would probably get challenged in mine. Or child endangerment.

amuse me said...

Great post. Ironically, it is interesting you mention watching Stephen Colbert (by far the best way to see the hypocrisy in today's media, politics, etc.) while dealing with those that want to challenge book content. I keep wondering when Colbert or Stewart will be banished because someone can't stand to hear the sorry truth. How can we ever form intelligent opinions if we aren't given all sides of issues or types of stories?

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Steam spewing from my ears...

Oh, my book would definitely be condemned as satanic--Native American rituals, spiritualists talking to the dead, Good triumphing over Evil...


Oh, I would have loved to hear these authors speak! They rock! As a teacher, I've heard lots of these accusations and been called to the mat for reading certain things or showing certain movies in class. Most often the objecting parent had never read/seen the item in question. They just took things out of context and went ape.

But even if they had taken the time to view these things, they would have gone nuts...that's just who they are!