Thursday, September 28, 2017

Banned Books Week 2017: Thursday

Welcome to another post on banned books - and thanks for your comments, Walt.
First, sorry for not doing a post yesterday. I was too distracted by an incident involving the Oogieloves (don't ask) but here's my post for today, on books in our house that I haven't mentioned have been challenged and/or banned.

"Frog and Toad are Friends"
Why: Because of the use of "shut up".
Yes, you read that correctly. A coalition of concerned parents in Pennsylvania asked that this book be removed because it used "a rude phrase that was never properly explained as being rude". Even more surprisingly, it was banned in that PA school district.

"Charlotte's Web"
Why: Talking animals.
Yes, you also read that correctly. An evangelical parent in the 1980s believed that depicting animals communicating on the same level as humans was "an insult to God's handiwork." But why this book and not the millions of other books about talking animals?

The Chronicles of Narnia series
Why: Racism.
Yes, these books have been accused of being racist. There's a race of people in the books called the Calormenes, who ride camels, have lots of facial hair, and live in the desert. And for the most part, they are also antagonists. These books have also been banned because they are "too religious" for a public school.

The Little House series
Why: Racism.
However, the racism in these books was representative of their time to use terms like "Indian" and "darkie" to refer to these ethnic groups. Other classics use this type of language as well.

"The Giving Tree"
Why: A widespread theory that the boy and the tree are male and female stereotypes.
...and also because of the same issue that got The Lorax in trouble - "criminalizing logging".

"James and the Giant Peach"
Why: A variety of reasons.
These include: "criminalizing the act of authority figures giving children work to do", "using offensive language", and being "anti-family". I cannot understand the meaning of "anti-family", but this book definitely isn't anti-family. James and the Giant Peach is in fact one of the most frequently banned (if not the most frequently banned) children's books of all time.

The dictionary
Why: Contained a definition for "****".
And "****", and "****", and "****". But isn't defining words the dictionary's job, even if they're offensive?

What Would Jesus Do? for Kids
Why: Again, a variety of reasons.
Of course it was banned for being "too religious", but also for containing "violent words such as 'fight' and 'kill'," and for "strong and/or offensive language." Some of these challenges were even in Christian schools.

"A Wrinkle in Time"
Why: Too supernatural.
Those evangelical Christian parents never get tired of complaining about witchcraft and magic, do they?

"The Wizard of Oz"
Why: This is the most ridiculous thing ever.
Are you ready for it?
Okay, here it is.
It was challenged because....Dorothy's slippers weren't the same color they are in the movie. (The slippers are silver in the book but red in the movie, you may not have known that.)
Apparently, a parent whose child had seen the movie but not read the book feared that he would be "baffled" by the differences.
Makes no sense, but from reading these posts, you probably have learned that most reasons for challenging are ridiculous.

Tomorrow: the 10 most banned titles of all time. Some I have already mentioned, some I haven't.

Please don't stop reading my blog when I go over the reasons "The Grinch" has been banned - for the third time. All I'm doing is reporting the facts.




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Banned Books Week 2017: Tuesday

Today, Tuesday of Banned Books Week, we go over the strangest reasons that books have been banned and challenged. So here they are - and no, even Fahrenheit 451, which has been banned because it contains books being banned, is not on the list. These are even more ridiculous than that, in my opinion.

10. My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Why: Uses the word "bitch"... to describe a female dog.
We all know the non-offensive meaning of "bitch". This is like banning a book because it uses "ass" to refer to the animal.

9. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.
Why: Digestion of a turtle.
Some of Judy Blume's other books have been banned, as previous posts have indicated, but this is just ridiculous. Would it have been banned if Fudge (the little brother in the book) ate a hamster instead?
Why so worked up about a turtle?

8. Superfudge by Judy Blume.
Why: Tells children that Santa Claus doesn't exist.
This sequel to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing has been challenged and banned as well, mostly because of a controversial chapter in which Peter Hatcher, the young narrator, tells us that he knows Santa Claus doesn't exist and also tells his mother to tell Fudge the same thing.

7. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.
Why: Because it was written by a lesbian.
Crap. Total crap....and to one-up that, it's also been challenged for "encouraging children to snoop." It's in the title of the book! Would you buy "Harriet the Well-Behaved Child" for your school? Most likely.

6. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
Why: Because the green ham unintentionally resembles a penis.
I'm looking at our copy of Green Eggs and Ham right now, and I cannot see a resemblance between the green ham and genitals. But for a while, Alameda County in California did not allow this book in any of their schools. Apparently, they saw a resemblance. What did I miss?

5. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.
Why: Because it gives children mischievous strategies to avoid doing chores.
In the book, Silverstein writes the couplet: "If you have to dry the dishes / And you drop them on the floor / Then your parents will not let you / Dry the dishes anymore".
Supposedly one kid deliberately dropped the dishes on the floor while drying them so he or she wouldn't have to dry the dishes anymore. This was enough for the parents to write the school and petition for removal of the book.

4. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.
Why: Because it doesn't have a happy ending.
Spoiler alert: Leslie dies. Would you ban Romeo and Juliet? That's got an unhappy ending.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Why: Racism.
In the words of my fellow blogger Sam Greenspan (not to be confused with Lauren Greenfield, director of the #LikeAGirl commercial that inspired my screenplay "Fearless Girl", and I await a response after sending my screenplay to her), "nowhere has a book made it more clear who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Tom Robinson might as well have been named Innocent McFalselyaccused."
But...this book has been banned for the very racism it was trying to combat.

2. The Witches by Roald Dahl.
Why: Witches.
It's the title of the book. Would the school have bought a book called The Witches if they knew some parents would be finnicky about witchcraft? Maybe, if they thought people would read it.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Why: It's a long story, and here it is.
It was banned by a Maryland school in 2003 because of its title. Yes, its title. The school worried that referring to a character as "very hungry" would offend children who struggled with eating disorders, which makes no sense and seems REALLY oversensitive. Would you buy "The Caterpillar Who Ate Stuff"?

So, stay tuned for Wednesday's list, on which I will list a few books my family owns that you may not have known were challenged or banned, such as Frog and Toad.

Yes, you read that correctly.









Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Books Week 2017: Monday

As Banned Books Week continues, today (read: yesterday - I am posting this one day late) I will go in depth to the top ten most common reasons for banning and challenging books. Some of these are reasonable, others less so, so here they are:

1. Offensive language, profanity, and/or swearing.
Example: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Gone Girl was challenged during its time as the #1 NY Times Bestseller due to its use of "****", "****", and "****". Thousands of other books have gotten in trouble for this - even children's books, such as the 1978 classic Bridge to Terabithia, which has been challenged and banned for its use of "Oh my Lord". (As well as its "unhappy ending". You read that right.)

2. Sex and sexually explicit content.
Example: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.
This one got challenged recently by a public library on the grounds that "we are concerned that the book's readers may want to try it out." I know what they mean by "it".

3. Violence.
Example: Nine/Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin.
This recent juvenile chapter book is one of many that has been ruled just too violent for public schools. But the violence described in this book really happened. I don't understand why people think that the way to protect children from violence is to deny it exists.

4. Being unsuitable for the age group it is targeted at.
Example: Where Willy Went by I forget whom.
Who's Willy, the protagonist of this children's book? Why, a sperm, of course! This one is not a school staple, because it was written for youngsters who, by common consent, aren't old enough to know what a sperm even is.

5. Racism and racial stereotypes.
Example: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Yes, the great American anti-racism novel from 1960 has been challenged for containing the very racism it is speaking out against. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, too, has been challenged for over 200 mentions of a certain six-letter racial epithet. Couldn't these books be used to teach children about racism?

6. LGBT characters and/or LGBT stereotypes.
Example: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings.
This is a new picture book that explains the concept of transgender. In fact, it's how I learned what transgender is. But it's gotten a lot of hate, in particular from a certain anti-LGBT Christian minister that I don't like to talk about. There's another one about some gay penguins (yes, you read that correctly) that I'll go into more detail in on a later post.

7. Containing words or contextual orientations that may offend some students. In other words, not being PC. 
Example: Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.
You probably already know this one's gotten into some tight spots for its graphic depictions of puberty, but in more recent years it's been getting removed for a different reason. To paraphrase one challenge letter, "we have concerns that the use of the word "God" in the title of the book will offend students who do not recognize God." As mentioned in the previous post, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is also widely challenged and banned due to concerns that it will offend students who do not observe Christmas.

8. Allegations that the book is or can be taken as propaganda for one side of a hotly debated issue.
Example: Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.
Just scroll down to read my previous post, and you'll find out that this classic has been accused of being pro-life propaganda. I go into more detail on my earlier post.

9. Sexism and/or gender stereotypes.
Example: In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.
This book is best known as the book that partially inspired the movie A Christmas Story, and it was banned in one Ohio school district for degrading women. Of course, women stereotypically stayed in the kitchen all day back then, when this book was set. These books cannot be banned - they are valuable teaching tools.

10. The old "magic is bad, Jesus is good" thing.
Example: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
If my parents were diehard conservative evangelistic Christians, maybe we wouldn't have a Harry Potter Clue game in our house. I'm glad they're not. But you've probably learned from these entries that all kinds of people are banning books - from the "Jesus is good for schools" crowd to the "Jesus is bad for schools" crowd.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, in which...I don't know yet what I'll do.

How about the most ridiculous reasons to challenge? Okay, I'll do that.









Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week 2017: Sunday

The phenomenon of books that are censored from school libraries has always been fascinating to me. So all this week, which libraries officially recognize as "Banned Books Week", I will be doing blog posts on banned books.

First up, on Sunday, September 24, a look at the most banned and challenged author in America. 

No, not J.K. Rowling. Or Judy Blume.

No, it's the seemingly innocent Dr. Seuss.

Born in 1904 as Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss has written over 50 books that remain children's classics. Over 75% of them have been challenged (meaning, parents have written schools letters saying that these books should not be in school libraries). Here are his most challenged and censored titles. 


"Horton Hears a Who". 
You'd think everyone would have positive sentiment to the famous quotation "A person's a person no matter how small." Like most of his work, Horton Hears a Who has been referred to by the author as an allegory that makes a social point. The social point being made is against discrimination. Though Seuss's later The Sneetches is better known as an allegory for discrimination, Horton Hears a Who is this as well - Seuss himself has said so. 

Only some people take "no matter how small" too literally.

Once it became well known that many of Seuss's books were allegories, it became widely (and wrongly) thought that Horton Hears a Who was about abortion and its arc words of "a person's a person no matter how small" were communicating a pro-life message. As early as 1969 and as late as this year, Horton Hears a Who has been challenged and banned by the pro-choice community. Challenge letters have referred to the book as "Christian propaganda" or "conservative propaganda" with a "politically biased viewpoint". Did Seuss face the same problems when he wrote about the Whos again? Actually he did.


"How the Grinch Stole Christmas".
The most rewritten work of all time. The book that spawned Christianizations and my own little rehash I'm working on, and most famously a TV cartoon that has played for nearly 50 years on NBC. And, a commonly banned title - for two reasons that completely oppose each other.

This classic title was recently banned from a Rhode Island public school system because of "concerns that it would offend people who do not observe Christmas." There goes the PC brigade again. In fact, it's widely and wrongly assumed that the Grinch character represents the PC brigade, and his efforts to steal Christmas from the Whos represent the alleged attempts of secular progressives to take Christ out of Christmas. 

But the evangelical brigade had something to say about this book too. Many Christian schools over the years have had problems with the book never mentioning Jesus. One even called the book "ungodly." Though I am working to include Jesus in the traditional story, I don't think any book that mentions Jesus is ungodly.

So, in short, this book has been censored for being too religious and for not being religious enough.


"The Butter Battle Book".

This is well known as a Seussian satire of the nuclear arms race between West Germany and East Germany. It's been censored on the grounds that kids don't need to know about that stuff until they're a little older.

Also, the book's depiction of a Seussian atomic bomb has gotten it in trouble on occasion. 

I wonder why I have so little to say about this one.


"The Lorax". 

Seuss's 1971 environmentalist fable is on the "commonly challenged" list mostly due to parents complaining that the way it portrays logging is too negative. Like Horton Hears a Who, it's been accused of having a politically biased viewpoint. (However, Horton's alleged bias was to the political right, The Lorax's to the left.)

But wasn't the whole point of the book to show that logging is wrong? 

Or, could it be something else entirely?

I am growing to not see the book as an environmentalist fable. Perhaps cutting down the Truffula Trees is a metaphor for spreading prejudice and xenophobia, and the animals that the Lorax says must go (the fish, the swans, and the Barbaloots) represent groups that are discriminated against. The seed that the Onceler gives the boy at the end could represent that it is in the hands of all people to end prejudicial behavior.

P.S. One group was so outraged by the book's portrayal of logging that they published "The Truax", which was essentially a parody from the logging point of view. "The Truax'' was banned as well.


"Green Eggs and Ham"

What harm did a book that used only 50 different words do? A lot, said one California school. One parent could not help but notice that the way the green ham was drawn, it looked like a penis. And then they just got carried away, thinking the green eggs looked like testicles (or breasts), and wrote a letter to the local school complaining about the seemingly innocent book's "sexual imagery."

And it actually got banned. That California school library actually decided that Green Eggs and Ham contained sexual imagery and needed to be removed.

But in the unlikely case that the green eggs and ham are, in fact, a penis and some testicles, what is Sam-I-Am trying to get the guy to do with them. Eating the green eggs and ham means doing what to the penis and testicles? I really don't want to know. 


"Oh, the Places You'll Go"

Seuss's last book that sells like hotcakes every late May and early June when parents buy it for graduations. Now this ban is some juicy stuff. 

Apparently, one parent wanted to buy the book for her daughter but wondered what she would think about the child shown throughout the book clearly being male. She then wrote her daughter's school, challenging the book on the grounds that it was allegedly sexist. The school library didn't remove it, so this mother wrote her own version of "Oh, the Places You'll Go" focusing on the theme that society does not limit girls and they can pursue any path they dream of following. Dr. Seuss Enterprises successfully prevented publication of this rehash, but that didn't stop many parents from demanding that a "female version" of this book be made.

And maybe it will be made.

I am all about "He for She" right now, and there are several places on my blog where you can find my feminist rallying cry in screenplay form, "Fearless Girl", including right here.

"Fearless Girl", I must admit, now that I look back on it, is more about rewriting the meaning of the phrase "like a girl" than actually saying that girls are unstoppable, but maybe I should communicate that in a future screenplay, such as a sequel to "Fearless Girl".

I've been asking, should I do the sequel?

What do you think? Leave your response in the comments!









Friday, September 22, 2017

My SNL "Celebrity Jeopardy" Sketch

(The letters in “Jeopardy” appear one by one on the screen. We cut to the studio. Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek stands at a podium. Three impersonators, dressed as contestants, stand at podiums opposite him.)

TREBEK: Welcome back to a special celebrities-under-25 edition of...Celebrity Jeopardy! Before we begin, I’d like to point out that our former contestant Sean Connery has recently passed. This is good news for me, but we still have heavy security aimed at keeping out his ghost. That said, let’s take a look at the scores.

(Cam on impersonator dressed as Kylie Rogers.)

TREBEK: Kylie Rogers is in first place with 600 dollars, having buzzed in over 100 times but only answering correctly twice.

ROGERS: I like the sound of the buzzer. (hits it)

TREBEK: You have to answer questions when you buzz in.

ROGERS: No, I don’t. I just wanna hear the buzzer. (hits it again.)

TREBEK: No, you don’t. Moving on.

(Cam on impersonator dressed as Darci Lynne Farmer.)

TREBEK: Darci Lynne Farmer is in last place with negative 5,400 dollars, having never answered a single question correctly, and only buzzed in to complain about the fact that we confiscated her ventriloquist puppet before we started filming.

FARMER: (emotionally) Well, you know...each puppet I have represents a specific part of me, and I’m only me when I’m with my puppets. We go together, and -

TREBEK: Moving on!

(Cam on impersonator dressed as myself.)

TREBEK: Finally, Leo Finelli, the screenwriter, is in second with negative 3,000 dollars, and has only just returned to his podium after watching the commercials during the break. You look inspired. I am not surprised, considering you just watched a bunch of commercials.

ME: Commercials give me the inspiration I need to write my screenplays, and...hee hee hee hee.

TREBEK: Do you laugh like that whenever you are inspired?

ME: No comment.

TREBEK: But you are always that giddy.

ME: Yes, I do believe I am.
TREBEK: That’s nice. Let’s take a look at the Double Jeopardy board. And your categories are: “Potent Potables”, “New Jersey”, “Continents”, and...considering Mr. Finelli did not do well with our first-round category of “Feminist Christmas Specials Inspired by Commercials”, which we included specifically for him, we have made easier categories for the three of you: “Teen Actresses Named Kylie”, “Famous Ventriloquists”, and “Screenwriters in Their 20s.” Miss Farmer, you have control of the board. May I suggest “Famous Ventriloquists”?

FARMER: No, I’ll take “Continents” for $1600, Alex.

TREBEK: Okay then. And the answer is: “This continent is north of South America.”

(Awkward silence.)

TREBEK: It’s the continent you’re on right now. Do you know the continent you’re on right now?

(Awkward silence again.)

TREBEK: This continent is north of South America. North of South America. No one can figure out the name of the continent north of South America?!

(Kylie Rogers buzzes in.)

TREBEK: Yes, Miss Rogers?

ROGERS: I’ve been to South America. I saw Mount Biggie President Heads.

TREBEK: Your facts are so wrong I do not know where to start. The correct answer was North America. North America is north of South America. Miss Farmer, you still have control of the board.

FARMER: Can my puppet pick this time?

TREBEK: No! Why don’t you pick a category, Mr. Finelli?

ME: Finally. I’ll take the vent thing for a zillion.

TREBEK: That’s “Famous Ventriloquists” for $1200. And the answer is: “She is the only person in this room who can sing with her mouth closed.”

(Kylie Rogers buzzes in.)

ROGERS: Who is, uh, Alex Trebek?

TREBEK: Good Lord! I am not a “she” and I can’t even sing with my mouth open.

(I buzz in.)

ME: I can sing with my mouth open. “Like a small boat, on the ocean…”

(Kylie Rogers buzzes in.)
ROGERS: Wasn’t that song from a flick I made?

(Darci Lynne Farmer buzzes in.)

TREBEK: What, Miss Farmer?

FARMER: What was the clue again?

TREBEK: We were looking for the name of the only person in this room that can sing with their mouth closed.

FARMER: Who am I?

TREBEK: That is correct!

FARMER: No, seriously, who am I?

TREBEK: You’re Darci. You’re trying to win. You just won some money.

FARMER: I did?

TREBEK: Please, God, take me now. (to camera) We’re going to skip ahead to Final Jeopardy. And the category is… “Write Your Name.”

(Think music begins.)

TREBEK: Please turn your attention to the game board. We have displayed each of your names on the board. Just copy down what you see.

(We see the board. The names “Kylie”, “Darci,” and “Leo” are displayed on it.)

(All the contestants are seen one by one, writing something down.)

(Think music ends.)

TREBEK: Okay, let’s see how you managed to mess this one up. Kylie Rogers, what did you write down?

(We see what Kylie has written.)

TREBEK: You had to write your name, and you wrote: “What did I have to write again?”, which, strangely, is incorrect but even harder to write than your name. And you wagered: “My clothing.” You know what, keep your wager. We’ll mark it as correct. We’re not taking away your clothing. Now, Miss Farmer, what did you write?

(We see what Darci has written.)

TREBEK: You wrote down: “Can I have my puppets back now?” No, Miss Farmer, we’re going to have to check on Leo Finelli’s answer and see your wager. You wagered: “If you don’t give them back, my agent will sue your show.”
Okay then. Now, we just have to see what Leo Finelli wrote. Did he write his name?

(We see what I wrote.)

TREBEK: Mr. Finelli has somehow managed to paste an entire screenplay he wrote as his answer.

ME: It’s a feminist Christmas special based on a TV commercial.

TREBEK: Everything you write is. Now, let’s just see what you wagered.

(We see my wager.)

TREBEK: You wrote: “Do you like it?” No, I do not. That’s all the time we have for tonight.

OFFSTAGE VOICE WITH A SCOTTISH ACCENT: That’s not what your mother said last night.

(A slightly transparent specter of Sean Connery has entered the scene.)

TREBEK: (to camera) It seems Sean Connery’s ghost has breached our security. Please exit, my good friend.

CONNERY: That’s not what your mother said last night.

TREBEK: Mr. Connery, the show is over.

CONNERY: That’s not what your -

TREBEK: You leave me with no choice.

(A security woman with an ax runs in and smashes the camera. The screen goes staticy.)

FARMER’S VOICE: (slightly muffled) You’re gonna get sued.
x
x

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Fascinating World of "Car Crash Songs"

So, what is a "car crash song"?

The term refers to older songs whose lyrics have been changed to reflect contemporary concerns. Many beloved holiday tunes have undergone this treatment, as well as several other Christian hymns. Usually the rewritten lyrics are to remove references to "man", "men", and "mankind" to be more gender inclusive, but there are other manners of doing this as well. Here are some examples of well-known songs that have undergone "car crash" changes.

I'm not encouraging these changes (though I did write a screenplay about how boys and girls should be treated, and their talents seen, equally) but I'm not against them, either. For all the Seinfeld watchers reading this, I'm like Switzerland. I'm just fascinated with the premise.

"Joy to the World"
Original/offending lyrics: "Let men their songs employ"
Changed to: "Let us our songs employ" or "Let saints their songs employ".
I prefer the second one, but I do not exactly know why.

"O Come Emmanuel"
Original/offending lyrics: "O come desire of nations, bind / In one the hearts of all mankind"
Changed to: "O come desire of nations, bind / In one the hearts of humankind" (but I did hear a version on the radio that changed the line to "O come desire of nations, bind / All peoples in one heart and mind"
Again, I prefer the second one - the first one seems a little lazy (no offense intended), while the second one is actually an improvement from the original, sexist (?) lyric.

"Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory"
Original/offending lyrics: "As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free"
Changed to: "As he died that all be holy, let us die that all be free"
I prefer the changed lyric, but don't think I'll ever sing it. I have reason to believe I gave up on Christianity because I didn't want everlasting life. Knowing what my readers may be asking now, I think I'll have to write an entire post about how everlasting life is not what it's "advertised" as.

"Let There Be Peace on Earth"
Original/offending lyrics: "With God as our Father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony."
Changed to: "With God as our Father, children all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony."
I sing neither of those lyrics. I prefer "family all are we. Let us walk with each other in love and harmony." I have a problem with the lyric "perfect" in there, because I don't think anything can be perfect.

"We All Sing With the Same Voice" (my favorite song ever)
Original/offending lyrics: "I've got one daddy / I've got two"
Changed to: "I've got one parent / I've got two"
Changed back to: "I've got one daddy / I've got two"
Although many think the line, when originally recorded in 1982, was referring to having a stepmother or stepfather, the songwriters have said that all the way back then, the line was meant to refer to being adopted by same-sex soulmates. This shows you what a good show Sesame Street is. However, when parents complained about the line, "daddy" was changed to "parent", now making the line refer to being raised by a single parent. When the song was released on SesameStreet.com and YouTube in 2008, the "daddy" line was restored, homosexuality being much more respected in culture.

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
Original/offending lyrics: "Pleased as man with men to dwell"; "Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth"
Changed to: "Pleased with us in flesh to dwell"; "Born to raise us from the earth / Born to give us second birth."
A person who didn't want second birth probably wouldn't sing either. But this isn't as bad as trying to eradicate calling Jesus "Lord", "King", and "him" (which has actually been done).

"Silent Night" (Well, not really. A school presented a secular Christmas play with the lyrics of "Silent Night" changed. It was accused of being an instance of this, but really the changed lyrics had been being used since the 1970s and had been changed to fit the play's secular theme of homelessness.)
Original, non-offending lyrics: You know them. You know this song well.
Changed, but not for PC-related reasons, to: "Cold in the night / No one in sight / winter winds / whirl and bite / how I wish I were happy and warm / safe with my family out of the storm."

This one was widely assumed to be an example of the car crash phenomenon, but the school district said it wasn't. This was one of several religious Christmas songs that had been modified for a secular Christmas play that the school had been performing since 1978 (!) The school district had put the play on for 27 years, and no one complained...but the school district was sued in 2005 when a parent was angered over the lyrics. As far as I know, the school still performs the play.

Some song that I've seen in a lot of church and school Christmas programs
Original/offending lyrics: "Have a super duper Christmas with Jesus this year"
Changed to: "Have a super duper Christmas in Whoville this year"
I did some research, and "Super Duper Christmas" was written by a Christian school in Philly when a child told a teacher that the religious songs they were to sing in the Christmas program weren't fun and/or upbeat. The song was put on Teachers Pay Teachers, and some school picked it up, used it for a secular Grinch musical, and changed the lyrics. This is more of a fender bender than a car crash, because it's a little-known song compared to the other entries on this list.

"Hallelujah"
Original/offending lyrics: Virtually the whole song, as one party saw it.
Changed to: "You packed your bags and shut the door. You crossed the sea to fight a war. You didn't know just what would happen to ya. Stepped in the dirt, boots on the ground, and gunfire was the only sound, and to yourself you whispered...Hallelujah."
"And every day and every night, you walked the walk, you fought the fight, you never saw the end in sight, now did ya...the days awash in a haze of red, the blood, the mud, too many dead, your weary soul was crying hallelujah."
"Too late to help, you hear a shot, you know you're in a deadly spot, you thought this day would come now, so did ya? Your brother falls down to the ground, the enemy is all around, and from your lips you scream a hallelujah."
"You fought the fight till it was done, you have the strength to carry on, You thought it would be better back home, did ya? You try each day, keep pushing through, but the battle lives inside of you, it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah."

Navy vet Sailor (good name for a Navy vet) Jerri saw the whole song as somewhat poor-quality and lacking much, so she rewrote the song to be about being in the military. This is one of several instances I have seen the classic Shrek song rewritten, from a version rewritten to be about Sandy Hook, to a version rewritten to be about 9/11, to my own version of the song that I am working on that changes the lyrics, which will be posted on my blog within the next month.

This rehash in lyrics is one I see as FAR better than the original. Similar to the Christian version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas that is coming this November on my blog, my Hallelujah rehash is coming as well.

Stay tuned.

But don't worry, original material comes just as well to me as these rehashes.

With gender inclusion a big part of this post, I will end with a question relating to my story about gender inclusion. Does the story of Fearless Girl, which you can read by clicking on the words "a screenplay" at the top of the post, need a sequel? Does it need its story to continue? Or, is the story good enough by itself?






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