October 2, 2006

Banned books update

Posted in Censorship, Education, Literature at 12:49 pm by The Lizard Queen

A Caney Creek High School dad is fired up because the Conroe Independent School District uses the book “Fahrenheit 451” as classroom reading material.

Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language.
“The book had a bunch of very bad language in it,” Diana Verm said. “It shouldn’t be in there because it’s offending people. … If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all.”
Alton Verm filed a “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” Thursday with the district regarding “Fahrenheit 451,” written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.
“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read “Fahrenheit 451.” “The words don’t need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class.”
He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, “dirty talk,” references to the Bible and using God’s name in vain. He said the book’s material goes against their religions beliefs.

The fact that the man hasn’t read the book but instead went through it looking for things to complain about makes me so angry. And of course there’s the added irony that this sort of attitude–this makes me uncomfortable so I want it removed from my sight, and I don’t want anyone else to see it, either–is very much what Farenheit 451 is arguing against in the first place.

I should add, I think, that the young woman was not by any means forced to read this book. She was offered–and selected–an alternate choice.

Finally, my favorite passage from the article: “Alton Verm’s request to ban ‘Fahrenheit 451’ came during the 25th annual Banned Books Week. He and Hines said the request to ban ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ a book about book burning, during Banned Books Weeks is a coincidence.”

My brain hurts.

Hat tip to Misty over at Shakespeare’s Sister.

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3 Comments »

  1. Evil Bender said,

    I wonder what it is in the conservative psyche that makes them incapable of seeing irony.

  2. beverly said,

    My head is aching now, too! I plan to pull out my banned books sequence yet again. I can’t believe we (the nation, the world) still have to deal with this crap…–>

  3. Lonny said,

    I wish their brains would hurt too! Although I can’t say that I’m COMPLETELY against book banning, I feel like we fight the same battles over and over. If they had banned such classics when I was younger, I don’t know what I’d have done. Maybe we should ask Dad what books he read.


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