Friday, October 03, 2008

Sunday Scribblings #131: Forbidden


"First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards." - Mark Twain

And then, the piece de resistance: She created Plano.

From the Banned Books Project:

The Pigman

AUTHOR: Paul Zindel ISBN: 0553263218 Plot Summary: Mr. Pignati is the Pigman--an old man with a beer belly and a strange story. When two high schoolers meet up with him, they learn his whole sad tale. Complaints: Offensive language, sexual themes A parent in Plano, Texas, said: The first few words, including 'epic' and 'avocation,' made the novel seem normal, but following words, like 'raunchiest,' 'excruciatingly' and 'subliminally,' are strange words that imply ugly things." Solonor Says Ban It Because: Imagine the uproar over words like 'rational' and 'educated'!

I stumbled over this earlier this week, while reading Zindel’s
The Pigman and Me. It was hilarious for a number of reasons, but mostly for this: My first day at the Instituto, one of my sophomores introduced herself by saying that she didn’t like teachers who used excruciatingly long words. I loved the lovely irony of her invoking the very thing she was complaining about. She’s turned into a wonderful poet, with a penchant for all manner of lovely excruciations, so as soon as I found the little BBP entry, I passed a copy along to her. She came back later in the day, smiling, and said, “That is the most wonderful thing anyone has given me in a long time.”

On a darker note, my freshman class is reading Orwell’s 1984. This class of nine boys is awesome: focused, interested, and many of them are avid writers with independent writing projects they have been writing on now for two years. What darkened the darkness of 1984 even more was our realization that the very thing they love and live for would have made them criminals and enemies of the state.

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Blogger Granny Smith said...

This is excruciatingly funny and distressing. The ignorance of some who have advocated book banning is phenomenal - a word thay might not understand.

You must be a very good teacher.

6:53 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Granny Smith. I am blessed to have the students I have.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Linda Jacobs said...

You definitely have cool students!

You must be an awesome teacher! I enjoyed reading this!

11:04 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thanks, Linda.

3:29 PM  
Blogger San said...

This reminds me of a story Oakley wrote several years ago. The characters were derelicts in San Francisco and since Oakley was very well read for his age, and had lived in San Francisco, he managed to make his characters speak in pretty convincing language. They weren't even particularly negative characters. They just talked like derelicts would talk. The real beauty of the story was that Oaks demonstrated the rich inner selves of these cultural castaways. His writing teacher loved it. Bennie and Flannery and I loved it. But a family member, who is not so well read, and has never traveled to a large city, said, "I'd be worried about a child of that age who writes about such things." I guess we are all threatened by what we don't understand. But it's frightening when a culture chooses NOT to understand.

5:02 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

These little Rimbauds can't help theyselves. They are what they are. They gotta roll.

Speaking of derelicts, have you noticed the rampant resurgence of the word "hobo?" Seems a big favorite of the middle school crowd.

Roll More Tide.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Stan Ski said...

Good stuff - Keep spreading the word.

4:07 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Stan.

9:04 AM  
Blogger anno said...

Lucky students, to have a teacher like you, someone who is willing to take a stand against the shameful nonsense in the prevailing winds...

3:55 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

anno: Thank you: as I've said before, I think the blessings go both ways, and besides, who wouldn't stand up for the Pigman?

3:59 PM  
Blogger Patois said...

Yes, the students are blessed. And it sounds like you are too.

5:53 PM  
Blogger alister said...

What planet have I landed on? I was shooting for Murat11... Paschal, is that you with the weak tea? You wouldn’t do your students this way would you? I think not. You’d offer them the equivalent of Jolt cola in your challenges. Then you’d shake the ten-pound sugar bag of mind-pinging excitement and endless possibilities all over that classroom!
Now testing…
If I told you these things: I dug your placement of the Mark Twain quote (deep in the frontal lobe where it could trickle down, slick-like, and nearly tickle me to death); I lived in Plano for eight years (but never hung with any PTA ignoramuses); I love, as in never tire of, snapshots of the Instituto, and I’m certain now that the slot machine of life is stuck open on you, pouring out more fun than you know what to do with. What would you say in response?
missalister :-D

12:48 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Indeed, patois.

12:02 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Lady A, methinks I am being scolded for paucity. Minimalism, shall we say. Lame-assed posting. I am finally feeling much better, but that was about the best my foggy brain could pony up on Friday, or whatever day it was. I do like your slot machine meta-fer, as I like just about anything that whirls from the Alister-pen: even scoldy Lady Catherine de Bourg send-ups. I am blessed to have such a wonderful personal trainer. Peace, my sister.

12:12 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Paucity? That and more, dear sir! But under the dreadful circumstances which you have so painstakingly described, I cannot but praise you for your kind consideration on my own behalf. As for the others whom you have left wanting for your extraordinary wit, I shall leave it to your good honor. I shall trust that you will, in time, make amends appropriate to each grievance, spoken or unspoken, that is, if you have not already lost the patronage of these good people. Now then, I shall take my leave and bid you a good evening, dearest sir.

8:31 PM  

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