"we assasinate thousands of little imaginations every day"
Well put, DanB.
In my experience as a middle school teacher, I have observed that students want to read a book even more if someone forbids them to read it. (Maybe I should apply that principle to their homework!!) We have an extensive procedure in place to follow when a parent does not want their child to read one of the class novels. Our eighth graders read "Catcher in the Rye," and this year about a dozen families opted out of the novel. Interestingly, all of them attend the same church, and the minister there had actually done a spread sheet on how many times and on what pages the F word was used. Personally I think anyone who has the time to do something like this is in bad need of a life. I respect parents who get involved in their child's education, and I don't even mind if they opt out of a novel. I fully respect their right as a parent to make these decisions. This particular group rubbed me the wrong way though, because they tried to get the novel banned for everyone, and implied that all who studied it were sinners. What I'm getting at though, is that several of these students were sneaking peeks at the novel, when they thought no one was looking. I'm sure they will read it on the sly. Anything that gets their parents so shook up has got to be appealing to an eighth grader. So much for banning books!!
I do think it is important to respect the rights of parents to choose the reading material that their children are exposed to. I only wish I had more confidence that the majority of these decisions were well-informed. Somehow I don't think counting up the F-words in a book gives much of an indication of it's value.
And I'm growing quite tired of morality watch-dogs who use children as an excuse and a sheild to impose their values on the rest of society.
Disallowing a child to read a book is one level of parental involvement, and it's better than book burning. But I think parental involvement is at its best when the parent and child read the same book, and can intelligently discuss the issues raised and the values represented.
In my own personal experience....
... the closer I permit Scripture to permeate my life, the more that I am willing to give up sinful stuff and let the Spirit of the Word, in Scripture, come on in... then all the books of the world begin to become ...hushed !
And if I do pick up a book and read, and should I find it there, I am attracted to where God "spoke" or left something of His, thru that specific writer, or perhaps unknown author in some verses of poetry. And what is one of the captivating ingredient of the Gospels, or the Epistles, or the Psalms? It says...reading scripture is likened unto a man who begins to truly see himself like onto a mirror. I begin to see who I am as seen by God, who birthed me into being...
I have always had this thing about Ray Bradbury's prose.
And it is this:
God struck his pen this way and that all over the pages of Ray's manuscripts. The ink oozes with the shining examples of God's Grace.... I read his short story, "Death and the Maiden" and weep when the old lady, behind the walls and door of years of gloom and darkness, peers thru the keyhole to see the man she was to have married when she was a young maiden. He is as young as that special day so long ago. But this day... he comes as 'death', and requests that she sleep with him...forever. Those words are entwined and embraced in such exquisite artistry, that I taste the sweet death God has for His own.... How? How can this be? How can someone convey this so effectively?
No other way.
And what befuddles me is ...when someone who has the gift, just doesn't quite see the connection to a personal Saviour. Tis a mystery of mysteries....
Nard: This isn't the "Why Everyone Else is Blind and I Can See" topic - It's about book burners...Although they both stem from similar philosophies, so perhaps your message is pertinent after all.
I don't classify parental descretion on what books their children read as being related to the idea of book burning. Childrens' maturity levels vary and I really believe much material is or is not age-appropriate. This is not censorship or book-burning, it is just monitoring your kids' reading material to be sure it is appropriate for his/her age and maturity. In fact, I would view a parent who does NOT carefully monitor their kids' reading material as being lazy, irresponsible and of abdicating a fundamental part of their responsibilities as a parent. Sometimes being a parent means saying no. Many parents forget that. I also think that part of good parenting is in being in touch with your kids' maturity level and allowing them more and more choice and exposure to life as they get older. It is too easy to apply simplistic "rules" and be over-protective of our kids. This does not allow them growth. But it is also possible to ignore the responsibility of parenting and then raising kids with no boundaries.
As far as Nard's comments. I think the question of intuition, inspiration, influence, etc., in writing are very difficult to define as I believe there is a lot of overlap between them. Bradbury says in the morning, stories, characters and ideas almost "pop" into his mind. This doesn't happen to me. In his case, is it inspiration of God where He inspires art to elevate man or to teach us something of man's existence? Do these ideas pop into Ray's mind because he has such a creative bent? Do they pop into his mind because his subconscious is wrestling with some problem or question -- and that comes up through images? Has he read/heard a story/idea that has come up in a new way for him? I don't know, but I suspect that many of us would have different ideas of where his ideas are originating.
Ah! But it IS about book burning.
Instead of 'burning', I used..."hushed". Instead of 'censorship' in it's broadest sense, I also used..."hushed.." This is the ultimate book burning, where God's wrath burns upon those things that do not reflect His infinite character. (You remember about the tares and the wheat?)
Hey, I'm going to be burned up too, someday. (My soul escapes if God's character is formed in my spirit.) In fact, that's probably the way this world ends....including Mars and the Sun is always burning, someday to burn itself Out!
You 'burn' a book by 'ignoring' it...
When God turns away from something, it "burns.."
Mr. Dark, I whole-heartedly agree with your comments.
The point I may have been stumbling toward is my fear that a great many parents are not exercising judgment based on their child's maturity level, rather they count the F-words in Catcher in the Rye, or the N-words in Huck Finn, and I think that's a pretty shallow assessment of a book.
And I may be wrong to mention book burning and parental discretion in the same breath, or put them on a continuum together. It's just that I would prefer to see a parent steer their child toward an alternative to Harry Potter rather than burn it. What does book burning teach a child?
I am also concerned about the number of times parents attempt to extend their discretion to the neighbor�s kids, so to speak, as in the example lmskipper gave. In cases like these it seems to have less to do with the child�s maturity level than the maturity level of the parents.
I agree with your post.
Concerning Parental Responsibilities...
I found an advertisement last year, in an old Life or Post Magazine, and it pictured a bunch of kids sitting around a TV set, while the parents and other family are in the kitchen and dining room, immersed in conversation and preparing supper.
(They used the good word "supper" back then, for "dinner" nowadays, How did that happen?)
Anyway, the ad is 1949.
The advertsement was for Muntz TV Company.
And it read...
Now ease those anxieties of everyday responsibilities. Let your new television set baby sit the kids while you go about your work..."
[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 05-03-2003).]
You would have made a good preacher, say in Salem, in the 17th century ... Or an even better witchfinder.
Regardless, your reply to my post was very Pythonesque. I think I'll go watch 'The Life of Brian' now.
Interesting little article, WritingReptile. My love of and support for the Harry Potter books is already noted on this string.
When I lived in San Jose, CA, there was an effort to take several books out of the HS library there. The movement was by Christian fundamentalists (kind of a broad label, isn't it? What else can we come up with? Not all Christian fundamentalists favor censorship! Seems unfair to keep throwing the label around.).
Anyway, I published a letter in the paper arguing that it wasn't the school's job to teach religion and its "mythology", doctrines and teachers to kids -- it was the parent's responsibility. I even quoted Proverbs 22:6, where it states: "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." I thought this was pretty "big" of me.
I received a phone call, the day the letter appeared, from one of the parents involved. She thanked me for my letter and for its expression of both sides of the issue and asked if I would be interested in her view. Of course, I agreed. She said that part of her job as a parent was to try to have an influence on the kind of society her children were raised in. I had no ready retort, except to say that I thought that should occur in the home rather than forcing other families to toe the same line they have chosen to follow. Nevertheless, she was not just a close-minded fanatic. She was a loving parent who took her responsibilities seriously.
While I still oppose banning/censoring books (except to keep books with adult-only content from kids), and find book burning horrendous; I have tried to harbor a bit more understanding that they (banners) are not all Salem witch-hunters. Many are just good people trying to do a good job with thier kids.
I have tried, as a result, to ratchet down my own rhetoric when I see parents involved in this. That doesn't mean I support the effort, and it doesn't mean I don't oppose it; but I understand what they're doing, and refuse to just castigate them all as narrow-minded, anti-intellectual bigots.
Thank you for sharing that, Mr. Dark. I sincerely hope that people like the lady you spoke to are the rule and not the exception. This whole thread has given me much to think on.
The originally referenced article, posted by Green Shadow, reveals that the Four Freedoms Speech of Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 highlighted how America had distinguished itself as a democracy by cherishing books. It states that books had became the symbol of freedom during World War II, and attributed Hitler's hate for such notables as Hellen Keller, Albert Einstein, H. G. Wells, Sigmond Freud,and Ernest Hemingway among others, as the fuel for his book burnings.
We've watched this topic fly like a runaway kite, clipping the rooftops of Harry Potter, censorship in general, witch burnings, rubber chickens, deviled ham, opinion on parental and teaching responsibilities, a predictably healthy dose of personal religious views, a 1949 ad copy for Muntz TV (obviously that ad didn't work then either) and Monty Python.
Now the kite is on fire, flamed by our passions and well-articulated diverse opinions.
If indeed, books were the symbol of freedom during World War II, how wonderful it must have been to embrace that freedom. Wouldn't you love to have been an author with enough influence to gain the distinction of being on Hitler's burn list?
What would be considered the new symbol of freedom with the current war? Certainly nothing as simple as books. Religious freedom comes to mind, but it seems to be a pat answer. Nothing on American soil has changed significantly for us. Maybe there's no simple answer, since we live in such a complicated world, so evolved from the morals and ethics of that earlier time.
My apoligies for veering a little of course.
If this kite could pick up a tailwind, it might be able to fly around for a little bit longer before crashing and burning like a Harry Potter book.
I'm getting sick of the sight of my own name, but since you touched on it, Celestial, I thought this article might be of interest:
It does seem that the fate and freedoms of books and people (not to mention deviled ham) are intertwined.
[This message has been edited by WritingReptile (edited 05-04-2003).]
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