Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uninvited...

I have been following a story on the Teen Lit Fest in Humble (a suburb of Houston.) Author Ellen Hopkins (Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass) was invited to speak at the Teen Lit Festival, but then, on the complaint of several parents and one librarian, she was uninvited. Uninvited! She is one of the most prominent YA authors out there, covering topics most wouldn't dare to touch, and her invitation was rescinded because a few parents had some "concerns" about the content. As I said in my last blog post, isn't it the responsibility of parents to monitor what their children read instead of simply depriving the entire community of the opportunity to read wonderful, powerful, and sometimes gritty works of fiction? I just don't understand the mindset that makes people think they are responsible for not only their own child, but everyone else's child as well!

In a comment I read from another censorship story, a parent had this to say: "Aside from the moral issues presented with this matter, it is not right to use taxpayer funds to pay for improper materials that some may find morally offensive." First of all, who is this person to decide what matter is morally offensive and improper for the public? Secondly, a library is a publicly funded institution whose responsibility is to appeal to ALL members of the community, and so why would the funding from ALL members of the community not be reflected in the wide assortment of texts on the shelves?

I'm sorry to you all for the rant, but I have trouble understanding why one person's moral judgment is suddenly the final word in situations where a wide range of interests and concerns is presented, such as at the Teen Lit Festival. If one person can get a widely read author uninvited from an event that is supposed to reach out to a very large audience, then where are we headed? This sort of thing baffles me and makes me upset, therefore I will end this post before I go on for pages and pages.

Please comment and let me know what you think about this sort of situation. What are your views on the role of the library as a publicly funded institution?

P.S. At least 4 authors have turned down the invitations to speak at the Teen Lit Festival since Hopkins' invitation was rescinded.

1 comment:

  1. I find it silly that people think that public funding shouldn't be using to offend. Isn't art meant to offend and challenge us? In a country like Canada with such diversity, how could we even find a common community standard anyhow! It is public funding that pay for lots of art that covers everything from Christian music to stuff that would even make me feel uncomfortable. If you don't like something, don't listen/watch/read it. It's that simple!

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