Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Scared New World

Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's famous satire about a world gone to extremes with science, technology, and ethics.  Now that same satire is part of another satire in which groups of parents go to extremes trying to protect their children from good, classic, quality literature.  Someone should write a book about that!  Oh wait...

North County High, according to the Maryland Gazette, has been asked to remove Brave New World from the curriculum in both a new Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics program as well as the advanced placement honors program.  One member of the group advocating for the book's removal had this to say:
 "If you were to have images in what is depicted by this book - you would go to jail," said petition organizer David J. Cole of Linthicum. "If that's the type of literature that (the schools) think is appropriate for children … I disagree with that."
What Mr. Cole doesn't seem to realize is that the same can be said of other books, such as The Holy Bible as well as Judy Blume's Forever.  Not only that, but there is nothing explicit within the book itself (it's not erotica!), but some descriptions and suggestions can definitely lead to interesting visuals in the imagination.  But again, that can be said of many, many books, and has more to do with the individual reading the text than the text itself.
Linda Poole, who heads up the Secondary Reading, English and Integrated Literacy program, called the book an "excellent example of satire."  The supplemental text deals with ethical issues revolving around science and technology, she explained.  "This is a satire written with that in mind - what could happen if science is misused," said Poole. "It is an internationally recognized text."
I don't think I will ever truly understand what drives parents to attempt such blatant attempts at censorship with such poor reasons and arguments.  Not only that, but as in other similar challenges that I've blogged about, I wonder why these parents can't just be satisfied with an alternative text being used for their child, instead of having to deprive every other child in the school of the chance to read important works of artistic merit.


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