Sunday, September 19, 2010

speak up


the literary blogosphere is alive this normally sleepy Sunday - alive with outrage over an editorial by some ass face in Missouri who is pushing for censorship of the much-loved book, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson... an article in which he not only slams Anderson but also - for good measure - my favorite author of all time (whose book was, in fact, removed from the school district's curriculum - sadly).

here's the bottom line on the controversy: the article implies that the rape scenes in Speak are akin to pornography. he further implies that no good Christian would condone such a book.

i wouldn't normally waste blog space even acknowledging such ignorance, but in this case, the author herself has called for help, and i'm inclined to answer that call and add my voice to the chorus of those "speaking up for Speak."

from Anderson's website:

I need your help.

Please share your experiences with SPEAK; your own response to the book, or the way you’ve seen it work in a school setting. Tahleen has already posted her thoughts on her blog. You can do the same. Please share links to your blog in Comments.

i don't have a personal story to share, but i wanted to guide you to some of the more eloquent posts i've read on the subject tonight, in case you haven't seen them:

- click here for a response from the author herself. the poem in the video moved me to tears.
click here for a response from a SURVIVOR.
click here for a response from a Christian.
click here for a response from a literary agent.
click here for a long-ass list of links to blogs by writers and opponents of censorship.
and aw, hell, click here for a link to the original article causing the uproar, because i'm a journalist down to my bones and believe you need to read both sides of the story to make up your own mind. (though i can't imagine anyone reading this guy's thoughts and feeling anything other than horror and embarrassment on his behalf.)

by the way, if you write grit and truth and things that teens NEED to read and talk about, even if it scares adults... then the best revenge on this guy is to write those books and make them sing.

because an army of teenagers toting around books like Speak screams a lot louder than the voice of a single fool.


Anonymous said...

great post! It's important we speak louder.

Michelle said...

Darn these radicals.

What disturbs me even MORE is that they removed Slaughterhouse Five.

E.J. Wesley said...

Support the author, and don't worry. Countless numbers of wonderful books have faced censorship (or worse) over the years and managed to stay popular/relevant. (A list that includes a few B-List titles you might of heard of like Catcher in the Rye, Tom Sawyer, The Bible, As I lay Dying, Grapes of Wrath, The Da Vinci Code, etc., etc.)

The cream will rise, and the idiots will fade. It will only draw more attention to the book and encourage more young people to check it out. Our only real fear should be when these jokers figure out that the more they shout, the less people listen, and the more they try to control people's lives, the more free-willed they will become. Silence and non-recognition is their best weapon, and this dude just blew it.