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Sunday, September 19, 2010

#SpeakLoudly

I'm going to be honest. This post is kind of upsetting for me to write. 

If you're an active follower of authors on Twitter and blogs, you've probably seen the uproar that a man from Missouri has caused. He's taken books such as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and he's said some things about them that are completey and irrevacably untrue. He's calling them a disgrace, and saying that they should be banned for their inappropriate events.

This really embarrasses me.

Now I have some of my favorite authors looking down on Missouri. On the area where I live. Now I don't live in the exact area of the man, but pretty darn close. I know where his school is located; I've read the paper frequently. (Well, as frequently as a seventeen-year-old with a short attention span can read the paper.)

And what he's doing is using Christian faith as an excuse to ban important books. He's making a joke out of the kids. He's making a joke out of Christianity. He's making a joke out of the authors.

He's claiming that these books hold too-mature content for us. Teenagers. The ones the books were written for in the first place. 

Not only is this embarrassing for us kids (he thinks we aren't smart enough to understand that sex is something special? that alchohol/drug abuse is actually bad for you? do we have suddenly have no brains?), it's embarrassing to the authors, who are trying to get important stories out there. They aren't telling us to run around and do drugs or have sex or drink. It's embarrassing to Christians, who he's using as a base-point for his argument. It's embarrassing to Missouri, the state that's already in critical condition when it comes to stereotypes. 

I first learned about it when I read a link from one of these authors via Twitter. And I actually felt like I needed to reply (I did reply) that not everyone in this area feels that way. I told her that her book is one of my favorites; that our librarians actually embrace banned books. Our school doesn't really believe in them, so to say.

And really. It's sad that I felt the need to rush to Missouri's side, and say that not everyone here is so close-minded. That some teacher, some adult, some guy that the kids are supposed to look up to, is the one throwing about words like "soft pornagraphy" about Speak. I mean, really? Did you even read the book?

So here I am. Blogging about the wrongs that one man has created all throughout the literary society. And I'm feeling equally ashamed and determined. 

I don't want people to believe this about us. About teens, authors, Christians, Missourians.

I am a teen. And though I feel like we're over-cliched about things, I think we should make a ruckus now. Show them what we're made of. Tweet, blog, write, whatever. Just let's prove that we aren't a bunch of push-overs, weakened by one man's attempt at breaking us.

I want us to #SpeakLoudly. 

I want you to #SpeakLoudly.   

6 comments:

Sam said...

-wraps arm around chest- This is so ridiculous. This guy ... Ugh. Just ugh. I have this really strong urge to cry. With frustration, with sadness, with freaking pissed off annoyance. This isn't our community. But it's how we're coming across. Speak is amazing. This guy isn't.

C.E. said...

This is a wonderful post! Good for you!

And he has just shed light on a book that some might have missed(I hadn't heard of it until now and intend to go out and get it.) I can only hope the backlash he suffers from all Christians who think he is crap, Authors who are outraged at his narrow-minded ignorance, and everyone else will shut him up.

Abby Minard said...

Thank you for that Maggie! We need to hear from more teens about the ridiculousness of banning books FOR TEENS! You are NOT stupid, I remember what it was like to be a teen (not too long ago, ahem) and I was definitely not ignorant about a lot of things. And if I was, it sure wasn't books that "corrupted me"- it was my friends (who got a lot from their parents and tv btw), and tv for the most part.

Anyway, my daughter is only 5, but I think it will be so cool to read books with her when she's a teen (not because I'm checking up on her, but because all I read is YA lol), and hopefully she'd be open to discussing them with me. That would be my dream come true. Although the most likely scenerio would be, "MOOOOOM, get out of my room!" or something like that. I think thats how I did it...

Anyway, thanks again- Banned Books week is coming up, and banning books seems to be rampant around these parts. Keep it up- keep informing, especially if you are a teenager. You are smart and bright, and definitely not too young to read these books.

Abby Minard said...

Also Maggie, I wanted to say I saw a few things about this before I wrote my response. I went and looked again, and realized it was my school district this man was talking about. My daughter goes to school in this district. I will be writing the superintendent asap. This is going viral, and we are in the middle of it because of where we live. Get ready for it- it's not over yet.

sarahockler.com said...

Hi Maggie. Thank you so much for posting about this and for being so open and honest. I can assure you that no one is looking down on Missouri, on Christians, or on teens over this. We're looking down on censors and those few people who think they can silence voices that need to be heard, or think that they can make choices for anyone other than themselves or their own families. I've gotten so many wonderful messages and comments from the people of your great state who are standing up to Scroggins and this ridiculous challenge, so thank you for being one of them. :-)

Sincerely,

Sarah Ockler
Author of Twenty Boy Summer

sarahockler.com said...

Hi Maggie. Thank you so much for posting about this and for being so open and honest. I can assure you that no one is looking down on Missouri, on Christians, or on teens over this. We're looking down on censors and those few people who think they can silence voices that need to be heard, or think that they can make choices for anyone other than themselves or their own families. I've gotten so many wonderful messages and comments from the people of your great state who are standing up to Scroggins and this ridiculous challenge, so thank you for being one of them. :-)

Sincerely,

Sarah Ockler
Author of Twenty Boy Summer