More on conservatives getting stupid. The Republican majority house and senate in Virginia has passed a law banning Morrison’s books because there are sexual scenes in the books.
The right wing christian Taliban is at it again.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is currently deciding whether Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is a pornographer.
Last month, both houses of the Virginia Legislature passed a bill requiring schools to warn parents if teachers are planning to read books with explicit content. The bill was prompted by a concerned parent, Laura Murphy, who learned that one of her sons was reading Morrison’s novel “Beloved,” which includes graphic depictions of rape and infanticide. Murphy and sympathetic lawmakers cited similarly explicit material in books such as “The Bluest Eye,” also by Morrison, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.
“I don’t shelter my kids, but I have to be a responsible parent. I want to make sure every kid in the county is protected,” Murphy told the Washington Post.
McAuliffe has not yet said whether he will support the bill. As a teacher, parent and avid book reader, I believe he should not. This bill simply doesn’t go far enough. In fact, New Jersey lawmakers should go further than their Virginia counterparts and draft a law that takes us back to the days of banned books. After all, this may be the last chance we have to actually make books interesting to students.
It is true, as critics have charged, that the Virginia proposal puts the state on a slippery slope to censorship. It also makes the good folks of Virginia look a tad provincial.
“Toni Morrison has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and she’s the last American author to win the Nobel Prize for literature,” noted state Sen. Janet D. Howell, who opposed the Virginia bill. “So let’s just make ourselves look ridiculous.”
But what’s really ridiculous is that we are bypassing a golden opportunity to remind kids that great books contain sex, love, comedy, sex, drama, violence and — finally — sex. You know, all the stuff they think the Internet invented.
Indeed, supporters of the Virginia book bill are right about one thing: We are facing a crisis. But it has nothing to do with books. The prevalence of visual media in the lives of both adults and children is so overwhelming that it threatens basic things that make us human: contemplation, solitude, sustained thought. One doesn’t have to spend much time on Vine or YouTube to realize that if young minds are being damaged, it ain’t a poetic 300-page Toni Morrison novel we have to worry about.
Obviously, there are distinctions to be made here between third-graders and high school seniors. Nevertheless, the fact that anyone believes more harm than good can come out of reading a book with challenging ideas and language is ignorance in its purest form: a sad yet disturbing lack of knowledge.
On the other hand, if word gets out that classics written by the likes of James Joyce, Philip Roth or Morrison have naughty bits, maybe kids will be tempted to put down their phones for a minute or two. Or maybe they’ll pick their phones up and spread the word that literature actually pulses with stuff that’s interesting and important.
Plus, the Virginia bill, as currently written, might not even work. Notify parents that Jane or Johnny is reading smutty books? That would require Mom to remove her steamed-up glasses and stop reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the 50th time. And that would require Dad to … pause the video game he is playing. Because, as is well-known, adult men have pretty much given up on reading.
And by the way: Shouldn’t parents already know what their kids are reading in class? Aren’t they supposed to speak to their children about school from time to time? I know most kids offer grunts in lieu of coherent responses. But if you can’t get the title of a book out of your child — and perhaps read and judge the entire book for yourself — then you just might have bigger parental problems.
It’s worth mentioning here that there’s a tendency to sneer at the conservative Republican leanings of those who support the Virginia book bill. But overly sensitive liberal types have their own problems in this area. Some believe college professors should stay away from books with racist or sexist elements, which might traumatize fragile minds.
If the good Virginia legislators are so worried about kids seeing pornography…
Then they better ban the Internet…Where they can see the naked Women for Trump.