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.