Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book burning dilemmas

It's not easy being a book burner. For one thing, as a Menifee, Calif. school board member, Betti Cadmus, discovered when she tried to ban Webster's Dictionary from district schools. "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary" to see if there's any graphic sex words contained therein.

For another, you've got to try and avoid embarrassment by making sure you are banning the right author. In Texas, for example,
the State Board of Education banned children's author Bill Martin, who died in 2004, after board member Pat Hardy cited a book he had supposedly written for adults which contained "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."
"She said that that was what he wrote, and I said: ' ... It's a good enough reason for me to get rid of someone,' " said Hardy
Problem is--she mixed up DePaul University prof, Bill Martin, Jr. author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation with Bill Martin, author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. What do you see?

I highly recommend reading both with a critical eye. For example, while Martin Jr.'s book has an explicitly Marxist bent, the kid's author Martin is potentially even more subversive.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.
RED bird, get it?

So now I'm starting a new campaign to send board member, Hardy examples of other books by authors with Martin in their name, to add to her to-burn list.

Let's start with another juvenile fiction writer Ann Martin, paper back writer, George R.R. Martin. Then there's Martin Amis, philosopher Martin Heidegger. Oh, and let's not forget that well-know subversive, Martin Luther King.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.