I would like to say a few words about a recent example of censorship.
I would also like to point out that not saying the particular words that sprang immediately to mind isn’t an act of censorship, but a personal choice.
There is a difference.
Ellen Hopkins is a young adult author. Among other things, she writes about drug addiction, bad relationships, teen pregnancy, suicide, hate, incest, rape, bad parenting, and abuse of all kinds. In other words, she writes about real stuff that happens to real teenagers.
According to the New York Times bestseller lists, a lot of people think she does it pretty well.
Is Ms. Hopkins in favor of drug addiction, bad relationships, rape, abuse of all kinds, and so on? I’m going to say no. Do her stories show these things in a favorable light? I’m going to say, hell, no.
But then, I’ve read her books.*
I’m going to assume that the middle school librarian who allegedly decided that it was inappropriate for Ms. Hopkins to come to the Humble ISD Libraries’ Teen Lit Festival hasn’t read them.
I’m assuming that the handful of parents who were swayed by the alleged opinions of this librarian and protested Ms. Hopkins’ invitation haven’t read them.
I don’t have to assume that the superintendent of the school system, who revoked Ms. Hopkins invitation to the event solely on the advice and complaints of the Moral Minority, is far too busy to read them—he said so.
I have three questions for these people:
a) Why are you against having your teenagers talk to someone whose work teaches the consequences of drug abuse, the difficulties of teen pregnancy, and that suicide is not the answer?
b) At which point did you mistake keeping children in ignorance for education?
c) Do you really think you have the right to tell other people’s children what they can’t read? Please, please try it with mine.
And a few more for the ‘librarian’ who allegedly started all this:
You do know that the service paradigm for librarians shifted, oh, about fifty years ago, right? Ever hear about the ALA Code of Ethics? What kind of librarian are you?
Never mind. I already know.
* Not all of them. I’m still on the library waiting list for Tricks and Burned. And I made the personal choice not to read Glass when it came out—Crank nearly did me in. I may change my mind later, but it’s my mind to change.