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Friday, August 5, 2011

A Good Cause

  This summer, Kurt Vonnegut satire classic Slaughterhouse-Five was banned in the public high school of Republic, Missouri after tight-ass MSU professor Wesley Scroggins bitched that the four-letter words in the World War II-based book offended his virgin eyes. He was also upset that Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer shows girls having too much fun and classified Speak as "soft-core pornography", evidently because the sole offending passage, involving a 15 year old being raped, turned him on. All and all, Mr. Scroggins claims the possibility that kids could actually read literature and decide for themselves what offends them is contrary to biblical teachings.

  Thusly, The Scrog's complaint went to the board, where 4 board members decided that the 4500 students were far too immature to read two of these books, that being Slaughterhouse-Five and Twenty Boy Summer. Superintendent Vern Minor stated that the "intense" language led to the decision, not any feelings about the author per se. As for Ockler's book, he charged that the book "is just not good" and that he might have liked it more if there was a better ending or consequences to the teenage escapades. Speak slipped through because the board liked the ending, where the girl is able to thwart a second rape and, outside of being emotionally scarred, is victorious.

  Naturally, there has been some backlash against the banning of books in public schools based on a complaint from a guy who home schools his kids. Ms. Ockler took to her own, expertly written, blog to apologetically defend her work and the free speech of other authors. The piece is good and I suggest you take a read.

  Naturally, Kurt Vonnegut is not alive to defend himself, though I'd suspect he'd issue a gigantic "fuck you!" if he were. Because of this, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in the writer's hometown is giving away copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to any highschooler from Republic who wants one. The library is also accepting donations to help offset the costs associated with shipping the books to kids. To find out more, go to their website and check it out.

  The school board of Republic, Missouri may have banned words from their schools, but they cannot silence free speech. If you have a teenager, I strongly suggest purchasing copies of Slaughterhouse, as well as Catcher in the Rye and all of the other dandies that Christocrats are trying to prevent from the public educational facilities of the western world. Books written in the past can teach relevant lessons today, but if we don't fight censorship, the words written by great minds really could be lost in the coming generations. It's up to us to ensure this doesn't happen.

To send a kid in Republic, MO a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five for $5, go here

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