Thursday, August 11, 2011

If it's a day with a "y" in it, someone's banning this book

I'm not a big fan of anonymous donors in every imaginable instance, but this time my hat's off to the person or persons unknown who stepped up to help the students at one Missouri high school survive the process of their own education:
Most of us regard Kurt Vonnegut's classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five as a masterpiece of thought-provoking science fiction, but the School Board of Republic High School in Missouri felt differently. They decided to ban the novel.

And in response, the Vonnegut Memorial Library offered to provide a free copy to any of the 150 students who were originally supposed to read it.
The cost of the copies was covered by an anonymous donor, who has our grateful thanks. The trigger that led to the banning?
Vonnegut's novel filters his World War II trauma through the lens of time travel and alien abduction, and in the process creates some fascinating insights into trauma, history and brutality. But the high school banned the book for creating "false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth."

The School Board took the Vonnegut classic under consideration after receiving a complaint from Missouri University professor Wesley Scroggins, about that book and two others.
One wonders if Professor Scroggins (who appears to be on the business administration faculty at Missouri State University, not the University of Missouri or the nonexistent Missouri University) would take kindly to having his own textbook selections second-guessed by community members concerned that modern management principles don't always square with Biblical morality either, but let that pass.

The Vonnegut Library's statement included this message to the Federal HS students:
We think it's important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We're not telling you to like the book… we just want you to read it and decide for yourself.
Any student who wants to read the forbidden book -- and, ironically, the school board probably couldn't think of a better motivator than telling the kids it's bad for them -- simply has to email the library name, address, and grade level (although their personal information won't be shared).

At that time, they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still.
Kurt Vonnegut, 

For more posts about banned books, go here.

For more posts about Kurt Vonnegut, go here.

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