Blog #4: The Color Purple

As someone who has read The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, multiple times now, I can understand why a parent would be concerned about their child reading this book. It has foul language, lesbian sex scenes, and quite a bit of violence. If I was a parent, I would definitely be concerned for my child if they were reading this book. However, there is one prevailing argument that I have against book-banning in general that holds true for this book.

I would simply tell this parent that they cannot shield their child from the real world forever. In the real world, there are bad words which will be said profusely, and there will be lesbians, and there will be violence. As long as the parent keeps open lines of communication with their child so that they can talk about what they are reading, it would be much better for the child to read about things before they go out and experience it. It’s almost like a warning sign on the road, letting them know what lies ahead of them.

Let’s take, for instance, the argument against all the foul language in the book; the constant use of derogatory terms against black people and women. First of all, if your child is a teenager, it is very likely they have heard most of these words, and if they haven’t, then they will. You cannot cover their ears for them for the rest of their lives. If the child hasn’t heard the word before, then when they ask you can explain it to them in a way you want them to understand it, and if they have, this book gives you a reason to talk about these words and make sure they understand why it’s a foul word. In essence, this book can be a tool to help your child as he or she matures and prepares themselves for the real world.

Blog Post #3: Book Ratings

“This Film is Not Yet Rated” completely changed the way I viewed the MPAA and the movie rating system. I never realized all the kinds of things that directors and producers have to do in order to get their movie to fit the MPAA guidelines. I mean, we do need some form of MPAA because viewers want to know a little of what to expect when they watch this movie, but how heavy-handed the MPAA can get is just out of control. Plus, the MPAA forces us to live by their morals. The rule that really stuck out to me was the homosexual/heterosexual rule. What if I’m homosexual? I’m going to notice that very few movies have homosexuality, and further more, soft sex scenes like a lot of R-rated heterosexual movies do. I think that by them shoving their morals down our throats it’s kind of unfair to the viewer. It’s like they are saying we can’t think for ourselves.

As for a rating system for books, I’m completely opposed to that idea. I think that books are the purest form of entertainment. They rely solely on language, which allows us to interpret it however we please, and more importantly, they make us think. It is literally impossible to read without thinking, which isn’t true for TV and movies. To give books a rating system would keep us from reading so many books, just the way the R-rating kept me out of so many movies as a kid. Not only that, but authors would have to cheapen the meaning or lose some necessary bits so that they would meet the rating system. That’s just a terrible idea, the same way it is for directors to have to cut things out that, sometimes, could add a huge message to a movie. The rating system is clearly flawed. Let’s never bring it to the world of books.

Blog Post #2: The Giver

Life cannot and should not be regulated. That is the biggest message I took away from The Giver. For us to enjoy life, and to truly live, we need it to be at least somewhat spontaneous and risky. Some huge clichés that I’ve heard include “you haven’t truly lived unless you have loved” or “live life on the edge,” and The Giver is really the antithesis of that. In The Giver, every little detail of life is structured, planned, and regulated. Yes, life does need some rule and structures. But unless we are given the freedom to truly live, then what we are doing isn’t living, it’s slowly dying.

When I read this book in 5th grade, I know I didn’t analyze it anywhere near as deeply as I do today. For instance, I didn’t even think about the fact that their lives were regulated. I just knew it sucked to be without color or music. I thought it was cool that they got jobs they would want when they were 12. I didn’t think deeply about this book at all. As I read it now, I analyze it as an alternative to the way society is today, and I realize how impractical it is, not to mention unsatisfying. It just won’t work, my brain says now. My brain as a child didn’t even care whether or not it would work in real life, it was just a story to me.

Blog Post #1: My Thoughts on Censorship

My first conscious encounter with censorship occurred during the fantastic George Carlin rant about censorship in TV. He started his piece with the 7 most famous censored words on television, which I will not repeat here due to the level of vulgarity, and then picked apart each word and explained why it shouldn’t be censored.

Now, I’m all for free speech and the right to say whatever we please. It isn’t like we can censor life. However, I also understand the perspective of those in favor of censorship. There are certain words that can’t be used for all kinds of reasons: racial slurs, demeaning terms, or words that could influence children who aren’t old enough to understand when it is appropriate to say those words and when it isn’t.

My personal view, however, is that we do not censor anything. I think that censorship should be at the discretion of the parent, teacher, administrator, or any other authority in charge. I think by censoring things, we are cutting out a part of our story, a part of the information and I believe sometimes it can be necessary. For instance, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Sound and Fury, the use of the N-word is necessary as it is historically correct. I think as a child, it should be up to the parents and teachers what is and isn’t okay, but I don’t think books should be banned.

The difference between censorship and a boycott lay in the who and the how. Censorship is determined by authorities and the book is usually edited or taken off the shelves. Boycotting is done by the general public and they just refuse to buy the book, even if it is being sold. Sometimes, they will refuse to shop at a store that sells the book, such as the pedophile-Amazon.com incident.

Lastly, I joined this class because I have always found the topic of censorship fascinating. I think the idea people think they are so high and mighty as to determine what is and isn’t okay for other people to read, watch, or hear is ridiculous. I’d love to find out the history behind it and why some books are banned and others are not.

Introduction

Hey what’s up everyone,

I’m Myles Nelson, and I’m in a class about censorship. Thus the name MylesUncensored. If you’ve stumbled upon this, I hope you are in my class, cause if you are not, you must be super bored and have literally no life. This blog will not be interesting enough to deprive you of your sleep or keep you away from facebook, x-box, exercise, or homework, in that order of importance.

That said, if you are still here, then either you know that I’m writing this blog because it is an assignment for my FFC course, Banned Books and Other Forms of Censorship. If not, seriously, get off this page. I know that if you are reading this, you saw the cute animal pictures above. Those are the last of them. No more cuteness. From now on it’s just boredom. And you read my previous warning! You have been warned twice now, friend…

Although, then again, if your goal is to be bored to sleep, I guess this is the blog for you.

Anyway, general information I’d like to share. I enjoy romantic dinners by candlelight, long walks on the beach, and playing Quidditch. If you don’t know what Quidditch is, then either you live in an underprivileged setting and I apologize, or you just chose to ignore Harry Potter for the last 10 years. That’s unacceptable. Shut down your computer, go to your closest library or Blockbuster, and either read or watch the first entry to the amazing series.

I don’t actually play Quidditch. For that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever had dinner by candlelight or a long walk on the beach. So disregard everything I said above. Except when I told you to read/watch HP. That was serious.

This has gone on way too long. I really hope I get a lot of TL:DNR comments below. Actually, that means you put in the effort to do that too. If you read this, you have no life. Case closed.

-Myles