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Summer’s here and the time is right for banning in the streets

Hey guys – summer’s on the way! You know how I know? No, it wasn’t the record-breaking temperatures recorded in Aberdeenshire over the weekend. And no, it wasn’t that said temperatures prompted the populace of Glasgow to unveil reams of pasty winter-flesh to the world as if they were about to take a dip in the Med and weren’t standing next to what might be a pond but definitely has a junkie floating in it face down. It’s that as was the case last year, the first nourishing sun drippings of the season are accompanied by news of another totally senseless book banning in an American school for reasons that are dubious at best. Summer, guys! It’s back! Woo!

The book this time raising the hackles of parents – oh, no, wait, sorry, parent, singular – is Orson Scott Card’s revered sci-fi novel Ender’s Game, which has been banned from the classrooms of Schofield Middle School in Aiken, South Carolina after being decried as ‘pornographic’ by a parent who probably shouldn’t read 50 Shades of Grey any time soon. The 14 year old child of the parent in question was, along with the rest of its class, read excerpts of Card’s novel by a teacher as part of a literacy initiative, a gambit which seems to have paid dividends, if by ‘paid dividends’ you mean ‘had exactly the opposite effect of what was intended’.

Never mind that the innocent whose mind is being warped is 14 years old (remember how innocent we all were at 14? It was all hopscotch and pick’n’mix, right?). Never mind that the book in question is listed at number two on the American Library Association’s 100 Best Books for Teens, one place behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and ahead of the likes of His Dark Materials, Holes and Watership Down. Heck, let’s not even dwell on the psychology of a sanctimonious meddler who automatically equates nudity and violence with pornography.

Instead, let’s focus on the fact that because of this one parent’s objection – and let me reiterate, the complaint was fielded by just this one parent – the teacher who read a part of this novel deemed suitable for ages 12 and up by Commonsensemedia.org to his class of 14 year olds was suspended from the classroom pending investigation of the charges, and now any kid in said classroom who might have had an interest in finding out what happens next is forbidden from doing so in their place of learning. Now, let’s all take a step back and understand a little better why Rick Santorum is still considered a viable nominee for the presidency.

american library association, orson scott card, shades of grey

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.


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