Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Book Week

This week (Sept 27-Oct 4) is Banned Books Week.

This morning, on my way to work, I heard a NPR story about some scientists who are attempting to change the Texas curriculum so that teachers are not allowed to teach the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution.

The combination of the two present an interesting juxtaposition and, like flint and iron, spark up the bit of me that really wishes I WAS a High School Teacher. (Yes, that bit is also insane. But, hey, MOST of me is insane.)

In the end, it all comes down to Critical Thinking. I firmly believe that each individual has the right to make up their own mind. Now, of course, please do not think me the idiot who would have our children fend for themselves with things like stranger danger, hot stoves, or even marijuana. But, if it enters the realm of thought, then I believe that the best approach is to encourage each individual to engage with the beliefs of others. When an authority, like a school or library, decides to arbitrarily ban things like books or concepts, I get more than a little upset.

Americans are sheep. Hey, I admit it - I'm a sheep. I consume with the very best of consumers and only occasionally do I take the time to stop and inspect the contents of what I'm gulping down. What values do my favorite TV shows espouse? When was the last time I read a non-genre fiction book? I miss FNW soooo much when I think about that - because ya'll would encourage my critical thinking brain to wake up and smell the bacon & eggs. (mmm, Bacon! Now, tell me, oh "I'm Not A Consumer" - what commercial did you just think of? Do you even own a dog?)

So, yes, there is a part of me that wants to dash to the public schools and work my butt off encouraging free speech, critical thinking and a lack of apathy. But the rest of me just wants to go home and watch Criminal Minds. Guess which half will win?

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