Tag Archive: Books


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

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.

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.

Turn [off] the Lights

On the radio the other day, I heard the censored version of Kanye West’s All of the Lights. Normally, I’m indifferent to censorship. I think it’s a bit absurd, but if people feel they need to build a wall between themselves and curse words, well, I feel bad enough for such people that I’m willing to overlook any minor inconveniences it has on my life. Lately, there have been a few song edits that have bothered me. The first is changing the lyric, “Fuck you” in Cee-lo’s Fuck you to “Forget you,” which messes up the rhythm of the chorus. The second is Malaysia’s garbling of “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby” in Lady Gaga’s Born this Way, which Lady Gaga discusses in her Google interview. The last is, of course, the censoring of “I slap my girl” in All of the Lights.

The chorus, functionally the thesis of most pop songs, metaphorically explains that in order to begin to fix the problems in our society, we need to bring them into the light. The song discusses (in order) prison sentences, infidelity, a lack of father figures, custody battles, unemployment, poverty, and drug use through two first-person perspectives. In the context of the song, all of these problems are related, and they all stem from the narrator “slap[ping his] girl [who] call[s] the feds.” To censor an event in this song defeats the message the song is attempting to convey, and, moreover, perpetuates the major problem the song is discussing.

In order to begin solving these problems, we must begin a public conversation. The unwillingness to put this lyric out on the airwaves, only makes deniability of the problem easier, and further isolates women who are in such situations. Shrouding such a situation in silence gives it a type of power; the only route to solving this problem is through the education and openness that results from public admittance and discussion.

**

The poorly thought out reasoning behind this censoring seems to be based either on the assumption that if domestic violence is mentioned in music the song is encouraging such acts, or that silence and ignorance will prevent listeners from committing such acts themselves. This thought process is somewhat reminiscent of abstinence only sex education, and is a mindset encountered frequently in the Bible Belt.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. A fellow audience member asked his why his books are inappropriate for in-class high school reading, though high school aged readers make up his target audience. Diaz launched into an allocution about the separation of art and religion. He discussed our penchant for viewing all art through a religious/moral lens  and the various problems with such a mindset, mainly that art, the purest form of human expression, doesn’t subscribe to morality–just because it’s wrong to feel something, doesn’t mean you don’t feel it. Diaz theorized that morality and religion are based around struggles for power, which art is unconcerned with.

I don’t want to begin the argument of whether the music Kanye West makes is “art”. Regardless of your feelings, the argument can be applied to this song and situation. All of the Lights attempts to make a convincing argument in favor of morality, but that argument is censored to the point that the listener may not know what parts of the song are even about. When your morality is so extreme that it hinders an educated message in its favor, it’s no longer morality, it’s fear, and such a fear is far more dangerous than any topic it’s trying to censor.

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.

Lisbeth Salander

"I admire Lisbeth Salander. She's tougher than I am. If I had been strapped down for a year when I was thirteen, I would probably have broken down altogether. She fought back with the only weapon she had available--her contempt for you." -Annika Giannini when cross-examining Dr. Teleborian in Stieg Larsson's The Girl who Kicked a Hornet's Nest

Lisbeth Salandar always gets her revenge.