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Showing posts from September, 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 …

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 h…

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 …

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…

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 w…

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 e…