Because it’s just been a weird, weird week, y’all.
The latest bit of WTF-ery to hit the web is some wingnut complaining about books in the schools. Specifically, about taking them out because he has “issues” (imagine that said in a Stewie Griffin sort of voice, with the sibilant “s”). He doesn’t think the tender children should be exposed to such… ickiness. Not just his children, but all children. Those of you who followed me over at my old blog know how I feel about this. Anyone who wants an idea, you can check out this post on my former hometown of Jacksonville acquiescing to some bully of a parent with respect to a book. Rather than engage in a rational discourse with the teachers or administrators, she went straight to that tried-and-true method of siccing a news outlet on the school. Because negative publicity is so much more effective, dontcha know? (In this case, it was. Not only did the school remove the book from the summer reading list, the entire freakin’ district followed suit.)
Then, not two weeks later, I had reason for another rant on the subject as Ellen Hopkins was disinvited from a Teen Lit book festival because one middle school librarian decided Ellen was a danger or… something, but rather than raise her concerns with the book festival organizers, instead informed some parents (no doubt the nosiest rabble-rousers) that Ellen’s works were inappropriate and that the kids shouldn’t be exposed to her and then those parents went to the school superintendent rather than, you know, bring their concerns (which really weren’t theirs to begin with) to the festival organizers.
Once again, the end-around was successful—but with unintentional consequences. Yes, Ellen was disinvited (in a rather rude manner by the superintendent) but in response, four other invited authors also pulled out in solidarity. Ultimately, the book festival was canceled. The parents and that self-righteous librarian won, but the kids, they lost.
Now we’ve got another end-around happening, with Laurie Halse Anderson the target. She breaks the situation down on her website in grand manner, but the gist is this—now we’ve got a guy using religion and morality as his mouthpiece by which to dictate the curriculum of the public school systems (hair starting to burn) and in the process, equating rape with pornography. (head fully on fire, on verge of exploding)
Needless to say, the blog and Twitter-spheres have absolutely gone bonkers. Mr. Paul Hankins, an Indiana-based English teacher and all around good guy, started the hashtag #SpeakLoudly for people to pass the message that this is absolutely insane and that we should not remain quiet, the way that the wingnut would want us to. And in continual acts of bravery, I have seen countless posts where people are talking about their experiences as rape victims/survivors, as well as several people opening up about their views on religion and how they reconcile their religious lives with their secular (and if you don’t think that’s brave, then you’ve never opened yourself up like that). Best post so far, author Myra McEntire who discusses her own personal relationship with religion and God and Jesus as well as her feelings as a writer. Again, not easy to do and she does so with grace and dignity.
I’m not a religious person, although I am spiritual. I’ve never been raped, although it was a major turning point in my novel, It’s Not About the Accent and I tried my very best to treat it with the respect and sensitivity the subject deserves while not shying away from portraying it as the horrible act it is.
It’s not sexy. It’s not arousing. And it is most certainly not a pornographic act, designed for the entertainment of the masses. An individual (note, I do not specify man or woman), who is aroused by the act of forcibly making their partner submit—causing them pain, both physical and emotional, is a sick individual. And, according to our laws, a criminal. To imply that it’s a) the fault of the victim or b) somehow exciting to those reading about it is repugnant.
I am a very live and let live individual. I have great respect for those whose beliefs are different from mine. However—don’t presume to tell me how I should believe. Don’t tell me I should believe in exactly the same way you do or that makes me wrong. And above all, do not tell me how to parent my child by dictating what they should or should not read or see.
Here endeth today’s rant.
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