Category: Ideas


Banned Books Week 2014

Welp, time to read some banned books.

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2013

Top Ten Challenged Books Lists by Year: 2001-2013

Find out if your favorite book has been banned or challenged by exploring the top ten lists of the 21st century below. For more information on how many books were challenged in a given year or for reasons why these books were challenged, please explore the top ten list by year.

2013

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

2012

Out of 464 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

2011

Out of 326 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

2010

Out of 348 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

2009

Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2008

Out of 513 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

2007

Out of 420 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons:  anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, sexism, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, violence
  3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
    Reason: religious viewpoint
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Reason: racism
  6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. ttyl, by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reason: sexually explicit
  9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reasons: sex education and sexually explicit
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

2006

Out of 546 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, and unsuited to age group
  2. Gossip Girls (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
  3. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  4. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: anti-family, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  5. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  6. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons:  insensitivity, occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, and violence
  7. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
    Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  9. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and violence

2005

Out of 405 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: abortion, homosexuality, nudity, religious viewpoint, sex education, unsuited to age group
  2. Forever, by Judy Blume
    Reasons: offensive language, sexual content
  3. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language, unsuited to age group
  4. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language
  5. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
    Reasons: racism, offensive language
  6. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
    Reason: sexual content
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexual content, being unsuited to age group
  8. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: anti-family content, unsuited to age group, violence
  9. Crazy Lady!, by Jane Leslie Conly
    Reason: offensive language
  10. It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: sex education, sexual content

2004

Out of 547 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  2. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, violence
  3. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael A. Bellesiles
    Reasons: inaccurate, political viewpoint
  4. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
  6. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, sexually explicit
  7. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  8. King & King, by Linda deHaan
    Reason: homosexuality
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, violence

2003

Out of 458 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language, unsuited to age group
  2. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: occult/Satanism
  3. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reason: offensive language
  4. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael Bellesiles
    Reason: inaccuracy
  5. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reason: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexual content, violence
  6. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Reason: drugs
  7. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reason: homosexuality, nudity, sexual content, sex education
  8. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
    Reason: offensive language, sexual content
  9. King & King, by Linda de Haan
    Reason: homosexuality
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reason: occult/Satanism, offensive language

2002

Out of 515 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: occult/Satanism, violence
  2. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  5. Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton
    Reason: offensive language
  6. Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group
  7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Reason: offensive language
  8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reasons: occult/Satanism, offensive language, violence
  9. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
    Reasons: unsuited to age group, violence

2001

Out of 448 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence
  2. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group
  7. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit
  9. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Advertisements

The Original: Females

Does the book contain one or more female characters? Yes

Do these characters have names? Yes: Sarah, Ernestina, Aunt Tranter, Mrs. Poultney, Mrs. Talbot, Mrs. Fairley, Milly, Mary

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes

Do they discuss something other than men? Yes. Mrs. Fairley and Mrs. Poulteney talk about Sarah. The one time that conversation is witnessed by the reader, however, they discuss Sarah walking through what serves in the story as the red light district. Therefore, while the conversation is not about men, it does indirectly pertain to men.

Other-The fascinating thing about a Victorian novel being written in the late sixties is the perspective and self-awareness The French Lieutenant’s Woman has. While the 60’s were not as advanced when it comes to feminism as we are, today, the author is surprisingly advanced for his time: “What are we faced with in the nineteenth century? An age where woman was sacred; and where you could buy a thirteen-year-old girl for a few pounds–a few shillings, if you wanted her for only an hour or two. Where more churches were built than in the whole previous history of the county; and where one in sixty houses in London was a brothel…Where the sanctity or marriage (and chastity before marriage) was proclaimed from every pulpit, in every newspaper editorial and public utterance; and where never–or hardly ever–have so many great public figures, from the future king down, led scandalous private lives…Where the female body had never been so hidden from view; and where every sculptor was judged by his ability to carve naked women…Where it was universally maintained that women do not have orgasms; and yet every prostitute was taught to simulate them. Where there was enormous progress and liberation in every other field of human activity; and nothing but tyranny in the most personal and fundamental” (p266-267).

Racism:

Does the book contain one or more characters of a minority race? No

Other: “My dear Charles, if you play the Muslim in a world of Puritans, you can expect no other treatment,” the doctor tells the main character. While there are no minority characters in Victorian England, this statement does imply that there is awareness of other races, at least in the more educated population of the country.

Heterosexism:

Does the book contain one or more gay characters? It is unclear, though the book does make mention of the question, during a scene in which the main heroine is seen in bed with another woman: “But some vices were then so unnatural that they did not exist. I doubt if Mrs. Poulteney had ever heard of the word “lesbian”; and if she had, it would have commenced with a capital , and referred to an island in Greece . . . But what of Sarah’s motives? As regards lesbianism, she was as ignorant as her mistress” (p. 157-158). Is Sarah a lesbian? Maybe.

Classism:

Does the book contain one or more lower-class characters? Yes. There is a significant amount of time spent on the romantic subplot between two lower class characters.

Do these characters have names? Millie, Mary, Sam…

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes, frequently.

Do they discuss something other than the upper class? Sam and Mary discuss their love, marriage, as well as make some small talk. The conversation that the reader is privy to does tend to revolve around the larger plot, Charles and Sarah, so the instances of Mary and Sam talking, unrelated to their employers are few, but existent, none the less.

Other– The narrator, in his more “enlightened” viewpoint, seems to have interesting opinions about the Victorian class structure. Mr. Freeman, one of the only financially successful characters in the novel offers Charles, his future son-in-law at the time, his business. This immediately pits Charles in a quandary. Though he has no money, it’s so plebeian to work for money. Gentlemen simply don’t do that. The most respectable character in the novel, Dr. Grogan, is both learned, middle class, and self-employed in the business of helping others.

Also important to mention is the distinction and time the author spends on Sam’s position: “Of course, to us any Cockney servant called Sam evokes immediately the immortal Weller; and it was certainly from that background that this Sam had emerged…But the difference between Sam Weller and Sam Farrow (that is, between 1836 and 1867) was this: the first was happy with his role, the second suffered it. Weller would have answered the bag of soot, and with a verbal vengeance. Sam had stiffened, ‘rose his hibrows’ and turned his back.” This paves the way for much more characterization and time spent on/with Sam, but it only ends up being foreshadowing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my profile picture lately.

It’s zombie Marie Curie saying,

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.

It probably seems stupid that I’m still reeling from the whole Effie’s Club Follies fiasco. Why would someone as talented and motivated as myself waste time even thinking about such people or organizations?

Because I refuse to use all of my time wisely?  Because I can’t help myself. Because that event uncovered some deep seeded, repressed fears–fears of becoming motivated by negative emotions, becoming bitter and resentful of those trying to help me; fears of failure.

In actuality, nobody would care if I failed at this. If the boylesque troupe Tim and I are attempting to start never got off of the ground and Burlesque Beta fizzled out over time, nobody’s life would be ruined. I have very understanding friends.

The pressure to succeed is self-inflicted. I think that’s the best kind of pressure. Society, I can hide from, but I can’t hide from myself.

If you know you can’t look at yourself in the mirror if you fail, it takes the option of failure away.

The Sex Trade

After reading PÖMZ‘s idea for building a better brothel via the video game system (The Happy Escort Studio), I began thinking that the problem he is attempting to solve transcends a simple brand reboot. While the idea of combining the oldest profession with one of the newest is sound, the root of the problem is not prostitution, but how society views the trade.

At the time of first watching the video, my views were also influenced by the New York Time’s The Disposable Woman by Anna Holmes about how Charlie Sheen’s abuses of women are written off due to the professions of and the way society views the women who accompany him. In the article, Holmes talks about Charlie Sheen’s abusive behavior toward women being ignored and somewhat condoned by society because the recipients of these acts were deemed lowly (i.e. “sluts”). There is a certain amount of dehumanization that we, at some point in time, have been trained to call upon when reacting to those women in the line of sexual business such as porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes. While there’s no doubt that there is a stigma involved with women who sell their bodies, the odd part is where we, as a society, draw the line. This mindset is much more removed in response to other realms of the industry such as lingerie models, cam girls, or your mainstream pop stars.

The part of this video that didn’t appeal to me was the focus on the youth of the girl in question. The fundamental issue of today’s sex trade is sex trafficking, which tends to prey on underage girls. One would hope that anyone who argues for the legalization of prostitution would be against such atrocious acts. Despite the glorification of youth that constantly pervades our society, there is no fine line between sexual titillation and pedophilia. An important part of legitimizing the sex trade would involve separating the trade’s image from all of the nasty stigmas it possesses, including its link to the young girls it currently victimizes. This would take place after the trade was put under strict regulation to ensure there was no longer any real world basis for these assumptions.

Vegas does it right. The porn industry does, too. To make prostitution a viable product in the United States, there needs to be strict oversight. Pimps would have to make a strategic move up in the world, as well–give up the pimp lifestyle and learn how to manage people and money in a respectable manner. STD tests and protection need to be commonplace. And, of course, paying for a woman’s services should not be the financial equivalent of going grocery shopping. For many years, a prostitutes talent was based on how much she charged, but the affection of a woman, be it real or faked is an expensive item and should be treated as such. Hell, maybe these women could even unionize.

I think part of the problem is the disassociation between the actual women and the hyper-sexualized beings they’re presented as. “Our job requirement was to be someone unreal, a hyper-sexualized girl who danced and deferred, but in the dressing room, we could be ourselves, neither distorted by fantasy nor brutalized by judgment. We could fix our makeup, wiggle our toes, count our money, goof around and just talk,” says Lily Burana in When we were strippers. The whore-madonna complex is so pervasive in our society, that it’s easy to marginalize women in the sex industry. Men are not the only ones at fault.

The only defense these women have against the fictionalized world society creates for them is their co-workers. “What made that dressing room so special was that it was infused with the sex industry’s scarcest commodity: trust….That trust fortified us against the seamier aspects of the job: the cover stories quickly conjured to sustain a double life, the burnout, the dirtbag customers who thought it was OK to show up for a lap dance with reeking hair and wandering hands, management favoritism, and ever-changing, ever-more-demanding club standards.” Through one another, these women are able to create a defense against the weapons their customers and jobs fire against them, but what happens when they leave the safe space they’ve created? In marginalizing this group of people, society has made it even more dangerous for these women once they leave the club, the street corners, the studios where they gain their reputation.

It’s no secret that violence happens in the sex trade, specifically within the field of prostitution. There seems to be a correlation between the perceived amount of regulation behind the deal and the amount of violence that occurs.  According to “Solicitation: Part Four,” by Rachel Rabbit White, both Scott and Atchinson [sex work researchers] report that violence is more common in unregulated venues, like the street.” The article is full of first hand accounts of violence against sex workers, as well as acts from tricks that hurt these sex workers business (bad reviews on Craig’s List, ect.). The sheer suggestion of someone regulating the deal that is being made cuts this type of behavior down, perhaps due to perceived repercussions.

But there are no repercussions. In a system with no legal repercussions, the only threats one faces are those enforced by those in charge, and those in charge care nothing about these women.

The Original: Females

Does the book contain one or more female characters? Yes

Do these characters have names? Yes: Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle, Catherine, Lucille

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes

Do they discuss something other than men? Yes. Travel (p.34)

Other-Though Fitzgerald seems to be less sexist than many of his contemporaries, the predominant sexist attitude of the time tends to slip through on occasion. For instance, when Nick first describes the lavish parties at Gatsby’s house: “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths” (p.39). One could make the argument that, like many of the wealthy men of today, the men of Gatsby’s parties are attracted to women very much their juniors, and therefore, Nick is simply describing the party-goers as he sees them. However, when speaking about his lover Jordan, this bias becomes clearer: “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply” (p.58). Clearly, Nick can’t hold Jordan to the same moral standard as he would a man, because she is just a weak woman. The last sexist moment doesn’t come from Nick, but rather from Tom. Tom serves as the window character to show some of the more repulsive commonly held views of upper class society members of the day. Near the end of the novel, Tom makes Daisy drive home with Gatsby shortly after Gatsby reveals to him that he is in love with Daisy and that he intends to run off with her. For some reason, Daisy agrees, showing that both she and Gatsby are powerless in the face of Tom. To add insult to injury, Nick tells Gatsby after the fact, “I don’t think she ever loved him…You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her things in a way that frightened her” (p.152). Ah, yes. Women are known to betray every emotion and relationship they’ve ever had once they get excited, just like a dog that urinates on itself.

Racism:

Does the book contain one or more characters of a minority race? Yes: “A Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove. ” (p.4)

Do these characters have names? No.

Other: Fitzgerald uses Tom to show the worst traits of upper class society, therefore making him a racist, along with many other things. Tom goes on and on in long rants about his views of minorities: “The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be–will be utterly submerged…It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out of these other races will have control of things;” “Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white” (p.130). This racism also extends to Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, but to a lesser extent: “I almost married a little kike who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me” (p.34). However, the idea that Fitzgerald is using racism as a literary device falls through once the narrator starts saying things a bit off color: “As we crossed Blackwell’s Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed  aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry” (p.69); “A pale well-dressed negro stepped near” (p.139).


Heterosexism:

Does the book contain one or more gay characters? No.

Classism:

Does the book contain one or more lower-class characters? Yes and no. The book is aware of lower class characters, and even pitches Nick as one of them, as he is not super rich. However, someone whose parents pay for him to take a year off after college to find himself is pretty far from poor by any standards. The book constantly refers to these characters, but treats them as mythical creatures that they’ve all been told about in fairy tales: “One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer / The rich get richer and the poor get—children” (song p.95). Oh plight of the lower classes, you’re so funny.

The Bechdel Test Project

In this article  Frank Kovarik wrote for Jezebel, he began applying the Bechdel test to the classic literature he teaches in high school. For those of you unfamiliar, the Bechdel Test, created by Alison Bechdel in a 1985 Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip puts movies to three simple questions:

  • Does a movie contain two or more female characters who have names?
  • Do those characters talk to each other?
  • And, if so, do they discuss something other than a man?

A surprising number of films do not pass even the first of these questions, and very few can answer “yes” to all three.

You may think that it’s unfair to apply this test to classic literature. After all, we know that the majority of literature was written by old, white men, (in some cases young white men) but it is also true that these works are and have been extremely influential in American culture. After all, we all must read some amount of classic literature before we graduate any level of education, be it middle school, high school, or upper level education. Applying the Bechdel test to sexism, racism, homosexism, and classism and seeing how literature’s perception compares to the real world could give some insight into the collective consciousness of America.

So that is exactly what I intend to do. I’ve compiled a list of 78 books taken from 3 100 best novel lists: Modern Library, Time Magazine, and the New York Times. If a novel made more than one of these lists, it made my final list. I now intend to read every one of these books and analyze them in terms of sexism, racism, homosexism, and classism. Wish me luck.

  1. *ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. *THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. *A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
  4. *LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. *BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. *THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. *CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. *THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  9. *UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  10. *1984 by George Orwell
  11. *I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  12. *TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  13. *AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  14. *THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  15. *INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  16. *NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  17. *APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA by John O’Hara
  18. *A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  19. *ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  20. *A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  21. *AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  22. *THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  23. *GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  24. *THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  25. *LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  26. *DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  27. *A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  28. *THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  29. *TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  30. *PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  31. *LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  32. *ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  33. *THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  34. *DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
  35. *THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  36. *A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  37. *OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  38. *HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  39. *THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  40. *A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  41. *THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark
  42. *BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  43. *THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH by Saul Bellow
  44. *THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  45. *RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  46. *THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  47. *LOVING by Henry Green
  48. *MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
  49. *THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  50. *WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  51. *UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  52. *THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  53. *ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand (cheat)
  54. *THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
  55. *TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  56. *DUNE by Frank Herbert
  57. *GRAVITY’S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
  58. *SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  59. *GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
  60. *A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
  61. *THE STAND by Stephen King
  62. *THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN by John Fowles
  63. *BELOVED by Toni Morrison
  64. *THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams
  65. *BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
  66. *ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute
  67. *GREENMANTLE by Charles de Lint
  68. *THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis
  69. *AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS by Flann O’Brien
  70. *WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
  71. *NAKED LUNCH by William S. Burroughs
  72. *ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Ken Kesey

73. *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
74. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
75. The Golden Notebook (1962), by Doris Lessing

76. Herzog (1964), by Saul Bellow-?

77. Possession (1990), by A.S. Byatt-?

78. *Watchmen (1986), by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Couples Therapy

me:  if we’re going by the mississippi, id like to do that thing where they make the barges out of trash
gderekadams:  of course
i’ll sleep those days, and learn shamanism from the local natives
me:  i shall become a river rat. we can reunite after that
gderekadams@gmail.com:  let it be so

Goldfish on the Brain

I came dangerously close to buying a goldfish, yesterday.


I don’t know why, I guess I’ve just had

Goldfish


on
the


Brain

Illiterary Society

California Library May Stop Stocking Books

Do you remember the scene in The Time Machine when the Time Traveler finds all the old books that are in ruins? The implication in that scene was that no one in that society read because they were all unbearably stupid or vice-versa. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, because you haven’t read it. Fortunately, it was on Wishbone.

So I think you see my point. Without books in libraries, we’re all going to have to rely on little dogs to communicate classic plots to us (along with all the rest of the knowledge that can be found in books). As the owner of a small dog, I will warn you, this is not a good system. Emerson is terrible at communicating with anyone other than me. You won’t be able to understand him.

I hope you’re happy with the choices that you’ve made, America.

Life Inspirations

Now that we’re in the middle of January and everyone’s failing their new years resolutions and getting tired of being cold, I’ve decided to post some videos to remind you why you made those resolutions in the first place–because life is fun.

 

I find the first part, the frame narration, of this video more interesting than the guy’s quest, but that’s just me.

 

I’m pretty impressed with this kid. He’s the one who did the Pale Kid Raps Fast which has the epic lyrics: “If my baby’s gay, I’ll say/you go gay baby/work that crib/work that bib…” and ends with him improv-ing a meta chorus in which he sings about how fast he raps. The point is, he’s got talent. I’ve already watched this video three times.

 

And just to remind you not to have too much fun…