You've probably heard me mention this before, but I find the people behind ClassKC to be perhaps the biggest fucktards in America. Oh, sure, there's Walter Scott and his alter-ego Ed Klein (or maybe I have that reversed...I get so confused with alter egos), there's Sen. Rick Santorum, there's that guy who wouldn't trade me Barry Zito in my fantasy league just because he knew I wanted him, but none of them quite compare to these folks. Before I go on, I'd like to remind you of why I feel this way.Here's a snippet from an interview done with ClassKC leader Janet Harmon a few months ago:
Q. On your Web site you list Candide and Ulysses as some positive alternatives to some of the books you find offensive at Blue Valley.
A. You know what? I think we have been corrected, at least on Ulysses; that's been removed.
Q. Why's that?
A. Well, I have to say I have to research it. We probably picked it off a classic book list. But, well, maybe this isn't the best one.
Q. Because its content is inappropriate?
Q. Some judge it to be the greatest novel ever written.
A. Yeah, I think they - the author is Irish or something? But whatever. That's all I'd like to say about that.
The brain power here is blinding, I admit. So today when I read that five books, including two from the list ClassKC has petitioned against, had successfully been removed from the reading list in Blue Valley I was a little concerned that the religious zealots has won. But according to an article in the Kansas City Star, that doesn't exactly seem to be the case:
The five titles were removed because a special review committee decided they were no longer the best fit for the curriculum, said Verneda Edwards, director of curriculum and instruction. No titles, she added, were removed because of violence, language or sexual content.
One of the two books on ClassKC's original list, Fallen Angel by Walter Dean Myers, was replaced with Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien. Here's what ClassKC has to say on their website about that book:
This novel is about soldiers trying to run away from the war and their duty, both in body and in mind. If this fictionalized account of a group of soldiers is being used by teachers in our district to educate the children about the Vietnam War, it’s a poor choice. Maybe it’s being used to demonstrate creatively confusing writing. There are three intertwined stories: the main character, Paul Berlin, is on sentry duty at an observation post for one entire night; the squad’s assignment of finding and bringing back an AWOL soldier, Cacciato; and Berlin’s hallucinatory 8,000-mile walk across Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries on the way to Paris, Cacciato’s intended destination. Several of the characters are imaginary and many scenes are in Berlin’s mind but this isn’t readily apparent. The chronology is purposely distorted. Berlin’s squad eventually goes AWOL in Paris on the pretense of continuing to look for Cacciato.
Several of O’Brien’s books seem to have a common thread.
- Truth, hope, and meaning in life are nonexistent: For teens who are contemplating suicide, this book sends a deadly message: Life and choice are meaningless anyway; go ahead and end it.
- Fact and fiction are confused: This book is especially unsuitable for readers who are not already well acquainted with the subject of Vietnam.
• Words used throughout the book include: bitch, shit, Jesus Christ, fuckin’, bastard, for Christ sake, Jesus, son of a bitch, shitting, fucking, good shit, shit, sorry ass, happy-assed, bad shit, piss tube, shitter, shithead, fucker, dink, gook.
• There were jokes about the postcard pictures of Christ that Jim Pederson used to carry.
• Lootin’ weather, he liked to say. The dark an’ gloom, just right for rape and lootin’. Then someone would say that Oscar had a swell imagination for a darkie.
• Dumb as a month-old oyster fart.
Month old oyster farts. Hmm. Well. Anyway, because you knew it was coming, here's a quote from Ms. Harmon about all this activity:
“It’s a small step in the right direction, and we hope that there will be many more steps like this made,” said parent Janet Harmon, who delivered the petition against the 14 books to the school board.
So let me get this straight. The school board replaces a book you want banned with another book you find totally objectionable and it's a step in the right direction. Oyster farts indeed. You people make me crazy. Oh, and incidentally, I'll be signing in St. Louis on September 23rd. Come on down. It'll be fun. I'll call you a fucktard and everything.
(Thanks to Bookslut for inciting my rage yet again.)