Now, Julie and I both were really pissed off when we read about this so we're both doing posts on the subject.
Just to clarify a few things first:
Rape – noun
1. the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
Pornography - noun
1. the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3. the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction
Now, a quote from the article that that guy wrote (just to refresh your memory/if you haven't read it yet):
"In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography.
One such book is called "Speak.""
He then goes prattling on about all of these oh-so-awful things that are addressed in the book... like rape, or dysfunctional families or the fact that there are teenagers that, shockhorror!, attend parties or drink or maybe even have sex.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a well written, powerful and incredibly moving book about a girl who struggles to deal with the aftermath of her rape as well as dealing with starting high school, friend problems and family issues.
The story is heartbreaking and what makes it even more heartbreaking is that it's realistic. Things that happen in the book, things that Melinda feels and goes through - there are so many people out there that can relate to it (myself being one of them)... and this book, it has the power to help those people and to open the eyes of the people who haven't experienced anything like that. The reason some schools study it, is because it is an educational book and people can learn a lot from it.
And I don't know about you, but I think if that moron is claiming that Speak is in any way "pornographic" - then I think that says a lot more about him than it ever could about the book.
The rape scene in the book isn't graphic, we don't get all the gory and horrifying details of what the character went through shoved down our throats - it happened, that's all we need to know and that's all we're told about it. The focus is on Melinda's emotions, not the act.
Seriously... he thinks rape, a brutal crime, is pornographic? He thinks that is in any way supposed to be erotic? Dude, he has issues. Major issues.
Rape happens. The stuff that happen in the book happen every day to regular teenagers. Like I said, it's a realistic story, sadly... and thing's like that, they shouldn't be swept under the rug as if they don't exist in the world, because they do.
There are gay people in the world.
There are teenagers who get pregnant or get STD's.
There are plenty of dysfuctional families in the world.
There are people dealing with self harm and drug addiction.
There are teenagers who swear and go to parties...
What does this guy want? For us to pretend that none of that stuff happens? To force kids to just read books about ponies and rainbows and butterflies? Or perhaps he just wants them reading the bible? But from what I've heard, there's a lot of brutal stuff mentioned in the bible too (I wouldn't know, I'm Agnostic, so I've never felt the desire to read it cover to cover).
If he thinks that Speak is in some way inappropriate (or "soft porn" as he put it - seriously, the guy has issues), then fair enough... that is his opinion. Opinions are subjective but he has no right whatsoever to try and dictate what other peoples children should or should not get to read or have included in their education - his own kids (if he has any), that's fair enough, but not other peoples. And he shouldn't be using religion to justify his messed up views.
I wonder if he has even read the books he's bitching about - from the sounds of it, it doesn't seem like he has. I truly hope that he hasn't because if he had read Speak and still called it porn, then that disturbs me beyond belief.
I've just been focussing on what he said about Speak, specifically in this post... but the guy also complains about Slaughterhouse Five (because "The "f word" is plastered on almost every other page." among other things - well FUCK that... sorry, couldn't resist. I am sorry if that bad, bad word offended anyone, maybe corrupted someones innocence or made them suddenly start cussing like the devil).
As well as those two books, he talks about Twenty Boy Summer too, which I haven't read yet but I'm pretty sure my co-blogger has and this may come as a shock to that guy, but she didn't start going to parties and drinking or having mass orgies or anything after reading it... she has a brain, I'm sure that would surprise article guy (perhaps I should've remembered his name?) because he seems to be deluding himself to thinking that all teenagers are stupid and so easily impressionable that they'll do whatever they read in a book (for the record, Twenty Boy Summer isn't about sex/orgies/parties/drinking).
Another quote from his *lovely* article:
"I confronted the school board with these issues at the June school board meeting. As far as I know, nothing has been done to address these issues to date. This is unacceptable, considering that most of the school board members and administrators claim to be Christian. How can Christian men and women expose children to such immorality? Parents, it is time you get involved!"
And it's time for him to mind his own damn business. If he has a problem with how his own children are being educated then he could find another school he thinks is more suitable.
Again, he has absolutely no right to complain about how other people choose to have their children educated and that preachy asshole (oh dear, I swore again - oops?) has no right at all to question other peoples faith in their religion (to be honest, isn't God the only one that has the right to judge people? Like I said, I'm Agnostic, but if I was Christian then I wouldn't be using that as an excuse to judge and criticize people).
Maybe he didn't consider the fact that some people would rather have their kids educated about what the world is REALLY like than have them living in ignorance and then paying for it later (e.g. forcing the kids to have abstinence only education and then getting pregnant or an STD somewhere down the line because they weren't taught about how to prevent it) - books don't encourage people to go out and do what is on the pages... especially the kinds of books he's bitching about, if anything they show why you shouldn't do stuff like that.
I wish people like him would give kids a bit more credit. They don't go around living their lives with a "monkey see, monkey do" mentality where whenever they see or hear or read something they feel they should imitate it - they're smarter than that.
Done ranting now. Here is a video of Laurie reading out a fantastic poem she wrote about the reader response she's recieved for Speak over the years:
If you haven't read Speak, then you should. It really is an amazing book.
P.s. sorry if I offended anyone with my... colourful language. When I'm angry, I tend to swear more than normal, I held back on that in the post but... yeah. I don't understand why he's making such a fuss about that though - it's not like kids won't hear it anyway in real life.