Making the Twitter rounds:
Moronic school board complies. (Okay, maybe just temporarily.)
(Another link here.)
Yup, it seems some parent noticed a definition for “oral sex” in the dictionary, freaked out because their fourth/fifth grader might look up that word and see something “graphically sexual,” and then asked the school to ban the book.
The thing about people like this is that banning one book is never enough. If they manage to ban one book, the next thing you know they’re going to be making blacklists and rooting through the school library with lists of books they want out.
But it’s never enough.
Soon they’ll realize their kids, like most kids in repressive and controlling families, are simply consulting collegiate dictionaries at the homes of their more permissive friends, after school, looking up words like “orgasm” and “coitus.” Oh, yes, the horror.
Soon, they’ll be fighting the fight at city hall, trying to make laws about IDing anyone who wants to buy a collegiate dictionary or a copy of any anatomy textbook. Wanna buy a volume of Gray’s Anatomy? How old are you, kid?
And it’s never, ever enough.
Sooner or later, they’ll realize that their kids have been looking up words from collegiate dictionaries online. Looking at pages like the Wikipedia entry for oral sex. They’re going to start with a selective list of webpages for the school board to ban, but they’ve already learned their lesson, and unless those webpages are banned from the city entirely, there’s no way to protect their children from the horrors of knowing something about humnan sexuality before the age of 37.
And it’s never, ever enough.
Suddenly, for the sake of the children, the libraries will have to be burned, because, after all, there might be a book in there that mentions breasts, or a nipple, or a testicle. Those naughty books that mention sex tangentially have a way of hiding among the respectable ones about gardening and Jesus and the glory of war. And kids, they have a way of sniffing them out. It’s a thing.
So the libraries will burn, not just offline, but, as we march into the glorious technofuture, the online libraries. Manybooks.net, that purveyor of filthy public domain texts, will be shut down after its evil proprietor is excommunicated and exiled as punishment for having a Sexuality section in his collection of public domain texts. It won’t be enough that you’ll have to make a trip to California (or wherever the headquarters is) to show your ID to a clerk at Amazon.com if you want to buy a copy of an eBook edition of the Kama Sutra, because, by God, who knows whether you won’t just copy it onto some sixteen year old kid’s Kindle?
Oh, make no mistake, these folks aren’t against freedom of speech. They will uphold your right to publish a webpage, as long as nobody on earth sees it, especially not the children. Books of all kinds have too long been willing to harbor among them the texts which, through provision of knowledge of human sexuality, provide too great a threat to the children, and we need to think of the children now, for they are, after all, our future.
And we will, and it’ll be fine, just fine, after a hundred years or so, when they’re really organized and have finally conviced lawmakers to go ahead and license the use of net-capable computers. After all, words are dangerous, books are weapons, and there are some things that kids under the age of 19 (or 21 in some states) should not know.
Meanwhile, deprived of books and media for entertainment, the now-illiterate kids of the world will be doing what kids in most preliterate societies did for entertainment: bonking one another silly. Good job, protective parents of America!
Or we could just let kids look up “oral sex” and “orgasm” and “coitus” in the dictionary, and talk to them reasonably and thoughtfully when, assuming we have open lines of communication with our kids, they ask about it. You know, that thing they call parenting?