Posts Tagged ‘censorship’



August 4, 2011

First, the bad news:

Home of the TigersKurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five is considered a modern classic. That doesn’t mean it’s a particularly easy read. Indeed, it deals with some fairly heady topics. When I first encountered it in high school, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But it sure made me think, which, in my view, is what a good novel should do.

Funny thing about that thinking – some people see it as dangerous. And a few of those people sit on the school board in Republic, Mo.

Slaughterhouse FiveThe board voted 4-0 recently to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and another book, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, after a local resident complained that the books teach ideas contrary to the Bible.

Wesley Scroggins had originally targeted three books, but the board voted to keep one, Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning Speak, on the shelves. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Scroggins “challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible.”

And then there is the good news:

The KVML will be giving away free copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students from Republic, Missouri’s high school (yes, the school that banned Slaughterhouse Five last week from their curriculum and school library) …. We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. 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.

Writers, remember: Your freedom of speech stops at the Missouri border.

Keep working on that. They can’t keep their eyes shut forever.



I’ll figure out a cute title for this later, when it’s a more regular feature around here

November 1, 2009

Picking up in the middle of nowhere:

And now, just because: Mark Steel on Mary Shelley (part one):

(In four parts at YouTube: One, Two, Three, Four.)



An open letter to

April 12, 2009

Well done:

Open Letter to Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes
by Kassia Krozser

Dear Amazon,

Happy Easter (or if it’s Monday morning, happy belated Easter!). It seems the Easter Bunny, while hopping down the bunny trail, left some rotten eggs all over the Amazon site while we were sleeping. Suddenly, many books lost their sales ranking and levels of searchability on the Amazon site.

Somehow, the brain trust of your company has decided to protect the “entire” Amazon customer base by restricting access to content that someone (who?) decided was offensive. In your zeal to protect me from myself, of course, you managed to leave content that I find singularly repulsive online (really, exploring the human condition is bad, but Mein Kampf is just fine?).

>>read rest of letter



Random House screws author, disses Mohammed

August 8, 2008

From its inception, through its publication, the anfractuous journey a book must make in effort to reach the ultimate reader can extend years. For some, even decades. For the author, even once the publisher has bought the manuscript, she can expect spending at least another year of massaging the prose to suit the needs of her editor before its release. A year in which an illustrator will conjure up a magnificent jacket for the book. A year in which the marketing department will brainstorm how to sell the book big, wide and long. A year in which a publicist will schedule book signings and endeavor to land favorable reviews in PW, Kirkus, The New York Times and beyond. A year in which some Big Brain at any one of the multitudinous strata of corporate levels responsible for publishing a book would muster up the gumption to stop all of this from happening way too late and for entirely the wrong, pitiable reason.

From today’s Reuters, by Edith Honan:

Publisher Random House has pulled a novel about the Prophet Mohammed’s child bride, fearing it could “incite acts of violence.”

“The Jewel of Medina,” a debut novel by journalist Sherry Jones, 46, was due to be published on August 12 by Random House, a unit of Bertelsmann AG, and an eight-city publicity tour had been scheduled, Jones told Reuters on Thursday.

The novel traces the life of A’isha from her engagement to Mohammed, when she was six, until the prophet’s death. Jones said that she was shocked to learn in May, that publication would be postponed indefinitely.

Full story