Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Illegal locker?

Well, as our readers know we've been talking a lot about banned books. Well, what do you do when there are books you or your friends want to read, and can't access them at school? Very simple.


Back? Good. Well, some people might think that it's not such a good idea, because you could get in trouble. Heck, I even think that. But it is a good idea for anyone else who would like to read classics, and other very good books like 'Harry Potter' 'Interview With the Vampire' 'The Outsiders' (see my last post) and many, many others.

I personally think it's great if someone has the guts to take a stand and actually do something about banning books. Kudos to her.

Either you agree with that or not, you have got to admit she has guts. So, I leave you with this: No matter who you are, what country you come from, or what race you are from, you deserve the right to any book you wish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Boy Meets Boy Meets Censorship?

Hello! Today I'll be reviewing David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy novel and investigate why it has been challenged.

I read Boy Meets Boy and loved it. It's happy, well-written, romantic, feel-good story about high school sophmore Paul trying to win the affections of his sweetheart Noah. It's a good book with popular appeal.

It's also completely G-rated. There is kissing of the Disney Princess movie style, and there is one comment refrencing a overprotective mother thinking Paul will start "ravishing her son right there on the table" if she she doesn't keep coming in the room every five minutes, this is meant in sarcastic jest. I would have no problem whatsoever giving this to a ten year old or younger.

So why the challenge in West Bend, Wisconsin? (Although I'm unfortunately sure it's been challenged in other places)

Simple: It portrays LGBTQ lifestyles in a positive, affirming light.

Boy Meets Boy takes place in what was accurately described in one review as a "gaytopia." Everyone is completely free to be who they are and love who they want. There is no judgement, no homophobia, no angst. Save for one character whose parents are ultra-religous and not accepting of their sons' homosexuality, but even this gets a somewhat happy ending.

Other than that, there is NOTHING objectionable in the entire book. If you disapprove of anything LGBTQ then you should be able to see that this is a gay-affirming book by simply reading the description on the back, is that so hard?

This is one of the most ridiculous book challenges I have ever heard of (second to To Kill A Mockingbird being challenged because of the racial epithets used). This is not "sexually explicit" because there is nothing sexual in it. If anyone challenges it on these grounds it only shows that they haven't even read the book.

So I challenge you to go find a copy of Boy Meets Boy and read it. Because it's an excellant book, and you should form your own opinion on it, and David Levithan is cool.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reviewing "The Outsiders"

Welcome back!

Alright, this time I'm going to be doing a review on "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, and why people want it banned.

I had the book read out loud in class and every time we ended it was like I was in my own little dream world, but every time we started reading it I kind of stared in front of me, visualizing what was going on. It literally hypnotized me.

Why, you may ask, would people want this book banned? Well very simple reasons.

I have looked around and basically it was challenged to be banned because of the slang it uses. Such as:

Greasers: Low income families that greaser their hair back.
Socs: High income, rich, mostly stuck up families.
Booze: Any type of alcohol.
Cooler: Jail.
Cancer stick: Cigarette.
Weed: Marijuana.
Hacked off: Anger/ upset.
Heater: pistol.
Fly: Attractive.
Fuzz: Police.
Jumped: Attacked.
Lightening up: Lighting a cigarette.
Lone it: To leave someone, some thing alone.
Rank: A gross stench, something unusual.
Rolled: To rob.
Rumble: Deadly fight between gangs.
Scrap: To fight.
Tuff: Cool, with it

The next most common reasons for the book being challenged is the teenage violence in the book. Parents generally worry that their children are being exposed to things they aren't prepared for and insist their schools pull it from the curriculum, though some say it promotes unchristian values, but most people that make such a claim haven't read the book themselves, and go mostly on what others say (That probably want the book banned in the first place).

Another reason is that most of the characters were from "Broken homes" either parents fighting, totally ignoring the kid, or many other reasons. I personally think it's an irrelevant reason to want the book banned. So what if the kid is having trouble at home? It's a character? What do you think it's going to do to your child? Make them want to start a fight with their role model? I think not.

Another big reason though, for it being banned is under-age drinking. I agree with that reason, but the book is intended for older kids, around probably grade 7 or 8. Not your nine-year-old daughter.

Over-all this is a very good book, though intended for more mature audiences. Hinton's writing was phenomenal, and over-all hypnotizing, despite the "Bad things" in this book.

Interview With The Librarian.

Well, today Meghan and I went to our local library to see one of the librarian's who worked there. (Privacy issues shall keep her name anonymous.) We discussed the book banning issue and had a few other issues with her and here is what was said.

Question: How long have you been a children's librarian?
Answer: A children's librarian 11 years. A typical librarian? ...More than 11 years.

Question: Has anyone ever requested that any material be removed, banned or otherwise restricted?
Answer: That's a regular occurrence in every library, hundreds of thousands. And the most challenged book? The Bible. Though we have people requesting the books to not be banned but to simply be moved to a different section.

Question: How did you respond to that?
Answer: The library has a very formal, detailed procedure. First they have to identify themselves and why they want to book removed. It takes a lot of people to formally remove a book, but that's a big step, and hardly anyone asks for a book to be formally removed, more often they challenge.

Question: What are your opinions on book censorship?
Answer: I don't believe in book censorship. It's a yes or no answer for librarians. We have very adamant freedom of speech. I have read Lot's of books, some I don't care much for, but I will "fight to the death" for them to be in the library because it's some one's opinion, or point of view.
Though we won't have hateful literature in our libraries.

Question: Do you think that parents should be responsible for what their children read and nobody Else's?
Answer: Yes a child's parent's word is final. We encourage parents to read with their children. They have the right to know what their children are reading, just like when your parents read picture books to you when you were little, they knew what you were reading.

Question: Any other comments on this issue?
Answer: Well, it's been going on since books were being published, because some people think books are threatening, and want to get rid of the threat, so the books have been challenged. Those people have the Right to their opinion.

And that's pretty much all we did with our beloved children's librarian. Thank you for reading and have a good day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Interview With A Local Bookseller

Hi, today I interviewed the owners of our local bookstore (names will be withheld for privacy). I was very, very nervous (despite the fact I've known these people forever). I apologize that it isn't very in-depth but it was nearly closing time and I didn't want to keep them from their dinner. But I did it and here it is:

Q: How long have you owned this store?
A: Owner A: Since 1991.

Q: Has anyone ever requested any material to be removed, banned or otherwise restricted from your store?
A: Owner A: Some people were questioning, but no.

Q: If someone did, how would you respond?
A: Owner A: I would try to get as much information as I could as to why they wanted it removed, and if I didn't want it removed I would tell them why.
Owner B: You've got to have books for everyone.

Q: What are your opinions on book censorship?
A: Owner A: I think because we have freedom of speech in our country everyone has to have their opinions. I don't think we need censorship because we have laws to prevent people from publishing things that are harmful or not fair or untruthful.

Q: Do you agree parents should be responsible for their own children and no one elses?
A: Owner A: Yes, exactly. It's important parents are responsible for their own kids and the state takes care of the laws.

Q: Can a book truly be classified as "vulgar" since what's vulgar to some may not be to others?
A: Owner B: Well yes, because of the language and such there are books here I wouldn't like but then someone could come in and say "Oh, that's my favourite!"

Q: Any other comments you'd like to make on this issue?
A: Owner B: We believe in a democratic country and we have a multicultural country and we believe in human rights.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Banned Books Week Extravaganza

Hello everyone, Banned Books Week has begun! We will be doing many posts throughout the week including:
- an interview with the local children's/young adult librarian
- an interview with a local bookseller
- fighting censorship on the small scale
- and a few other interesting things

And as for the argument that "No book has been banned in 50 years!" The term Banned Books Week is meant to be symbolic. I mean really, try saying Censored, Removed, Re-shelved, Burned, Challenged and Banned Books Week ten times fast. The lovely Censorship-Free Libraries blog made an excellent post about this recently.

I'm also celebrating Banned Books Week by reading Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. I'm nearly a quarter through Looking for Alaska and I have this to say: Pornography my big toe.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Rainbow

Hi there! Welcome to yet another blog.

Today I'm tackling a hotly-debated issue: Gay marriage. also known as same-sex marriage or gender-neutral marriage.

Gay marriage is legal in Canada, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Norway. It is also performed in in the United States in Conneticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Gay marriage will also be legal in New Hampshire on January 1st 2010, and the issue is in flux in Maine.

A lot of people disagree with gay marriage. Some of them say marriage is between one man and one woman, some say it goes against God, some say children will be affected, some say domestic partnerships and other things like them are just as good, and still others say gay marriage would open the doors for legalized polygamy and bestiality.

As for me, I'm for it and I'll tell you why.

First of all, gay marriage doesn't do a thing to heterosexual marriage. Gay marriage advocates aren't saying "Gays should get married but heterosexuals can't." Including people doesn't mean excluding other people. No one is forcing any religous institutions to allow gay marriages in their places of worship, no one is forcing anyone to go to gay weddings, heck, you don't even have to LIKE gay people. But two people getting married doesn't affect you in the slightest. So really, there's nothing to get into a kerfuffle about.

Second of all, not everyone is religous. And not everyone who is religous is anti-gay marriage. Although I cannot speak for other nations, in democracies like Canada and the U.S., church and state are seperate entities for good reason. We are patchwork cultures and to allow one belief system to take precedent over thousands of others simply isn't fair.

If you think homosexuality goes against God, that's okay. You're allowed to be. But you have no right to impose your beliefs on everyone else. Your beliefs are your beliefs and you are entitled to them as much as everyone else is.

Thirdly, in regards to children in the public school system being "indoctrinated" into the "gay agenda," I disagree with that. Children are merely taught to be accepting of different people and even if they do not agree with them, not to harass them or bring them harm. I don't see a problem with this. We've seen the effects bullying can have on children, we should do everything possible to help stamp it out rather than keep it going. If you feel so strongly that your children are being "indoctrinated" homeschool them or send them to private school. Better yet, teach them to think for themselves.

As for children of gay couples being affected I also disagree with this. A child's well-being has to do with if their parents treat them right and love them rather than the gender or number of their parents. If a child is raised in a loving home he or she should turn out just fine. Just because they are "missing a female/male role model at home" doesn't mean they'll grow up warped. Children's lives extend outside the home and the gender of their role models has squat to do with the lessons they pass on.

When it comes to domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other similar-but-not-quite "marriage" options for gay couples, to be frank, I think they're a bunch of baloney. And more than little offensive. They're basically saying "Here, since you want to get married so badly we'll give you something similar, but we won't let you get actually married because you're not as good as heterosexual couples." Ouch.

As for gay marriage opening the door to legalized polygamy and bestiality: That is quite possibly the biggest bunch of baloney I have ever heard. Whoever came up with this stuff needs a hobby.

I hear a lot of talk about the "gay agenda" being "well-advanced" up here in the Great White North and I'm still trying to figure out what this means. On July 20th, 2005, gay marriage was legalized in Canada. Much celebrating was done. Gays got married. They still get married. I do not see an issue here. Nothing bad has happened, Canada has not spontaneously "turned gay" or blown up, or anything. Pretty scary huh?

And my last, and most important reason for my support of gay marriage is this:


Love is love is love is love. Whose to say which love is valid and which isn't? Nobody. I've seen plenty of heterosexual couples who get married for all the wrong reasons and end up on reality TV shows trying to fix it. Two consenting adults should have the right to marry each other. It's their choice. It hurts no one. They deserve the legal benefits of marriage just as much as anyone else.

I am proud to live in a country that has gay marriage but I know there are many people who don't. I hope someday all free nations will allow gays to get married. Until then, feel free to come up North for a slightly chilly destination wedding ;)!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rant Mondays!


Thank you for joining me for another Rant Monday! Hopefully I can do this weekly instead sorry I've been really busy with other unimportant things.


Yes...Let's see this weeks (hopefully..) topic is, shall we?


Alright let's get started.

First off let me just say this: Homophobic's are probably the most insensitive, naive, stupid people I have ever heard of. (never met them thank god.)

Homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals have almost all the same organs. We all have a brain, heart, digestive, respiratory, circulatory and all those systems. So what makes us different? Well..Le's make a list of why being gay, having gay friends and gay marriage is wrong.

1. It's dangerous. Totally...A lesbian couple is going to spontaneously get pregnant. and a gay couple is too!

2. It gives children the wrong idea. What? That having friends of the same gender is wrong? Wonderful.

3. Homosexuals shouldn't have public affection. And neither should heterosexuals, but they do it anyways! They should get arrested for 'public affection' and 'public exposure.'

4. Children will ask questions. .....Pretty much your saying that asking questions is wrong. "Your son Billy has failed math...Have you been helping him with his homework?" "Well, I don't think he needs help because he never asks."

Now I have a link of why gay marriage is wrong:

Back? good. Now wasn't that just the BEST 50 reasons why gay marriage is wrong? Yeah...I thought so too.

Well I don't think I really have anything else to add except: Thank you for reading, sorry it was so short and GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some Additional Resources

Hello all. sorry we've been absent for so long. Life kind of got in the way of the internet. But we're back!

We've decided we've said as much as we can about book banning/censorship for the time being and it's time to move on to other issues. This blog is called Tolerance after all, we have a lot of issues to cover (believe me, we've got plenty of ideas). We will probably return to it at some point though, but not unless a new problem needs commentary. And for our Banned Books Week (September 26-October 3, 2009)

So here's some extra websites, blogs and videos about book banning if you still have a hankering:

Absolutely hillarious, a teeny bit of mild language.

Very interesting website! Very thorough.

Lots of ideas for participating in Banned Books Week.

Info right from the source, and the manifesto (Here: is especially excellent.

Two excellent blogs.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!