That’s what I’m going to call it when I do one of these “Wow, look at all my open tabs!” posts.
:: Book ban attempts hit an all-time high in 2022.
Few things in life sicken me more than book-banners. I detest that impulse with every fiber of my being. I hate how book-banning is so often cast as “protecting children”, and I hate that it’s now framed as a “parents’ rights” thing, because the immediate question that I ask is, “What makes those parents the ones whose rights have to be honored? Why do they get to choose what everyone reads?” It’s generally my experience that the people who want to ban this book or that book won’t stop with any one book, and also that these are almost certainly the kinds of people who really don’t make books a major part of their lives in the first place. These are the people who question the need for any book but one, and if you have to ask which one that is, you’re not paying attention.
The subject of book-banning came up on a friend’s Facebook page recently, and I found myself in discussion–very briefly–with a couple of enthusiastic book-banners. Of course, they will refuse that description; they will insist that they are protecting children. It’s interesting to note the similarities in their rhetoric, right down to the “If parents want their kids to read this, they can go to Amazon.” The other obnoxious tactic they use is to present some excerpt or citation of a book to which they object, carefully phrased to put the anti-banner on the defensive: “Would you defend having a book in your kindergartner’s library that describes in specific terms how a boy can perform oral sex on an adult, as happened in my district???!!!” This came up in the thread from two different people–one of whom shared a video of some cherubic little boy reading a shocking excerpt from a book he found in his school library in front of the school board!–and I pointed out each time that it’s interesting how that rhetorical gambit always involves omitting the title of the book in question, because heaven forbid anyone would want to look it up and see if the context sheds any light on the situation.
My parents weren’t super-rigorous with rules on my reading, as I recall. My mother wouldn’t let me dive into the Ian Fleming novels as soon as I discovered James Bond via Moonraker when I was all of 8 years old, and there might have been a few other examples that I don’t recall. But she took active interest in my reading and always had recommendations at the ready. With The Daughter,, my general rule was basically, “If you can reach it you can read it,” under the theory that she wasn’t going to be interested in anything I owned with too much adult theming, and a lot of that would go over her head, anyway. I remember seeing Grease in theaters when I was 8 (the same year as Moonraker!), and then watching it much later as an adult and realizing how much adult innuendo from that movie just went completely over my head when I was a kid.
I also note how often the Thing That Will Pervert All Your Children RIGHT NOW! ends up being a normal part of pop culture years later. I hear songs on the Muzak at work by the same heavy-metal hair bands that were scaring all the parents in the 80s, and hell, I remember The Music Man, when a con-man makes getting an entire town to panic out of the blue at the presence of a pool table! the first part of his plan to get all their money.
The folks on the Facebook page also didn’t seem to take too kindly to my pointing out that the book-banners are never content to stop at just this book or that one. Kind of like how the people that want to eradicate just one group of people never seem to stop at just one.
:: Speaking of Grease: 45 Thoughts We Had While Watching Grease.
What I love about this movie is that much like Han Solo, Danny Zuko is presented as a cool leading man but is actually a complete awkward doofus.
Oh good, it’s my favorite part of the movie, the one where our HERO attempts to force himself on his girlfriend then sings a whole song about how he is THE VICTIM of said attempted assault AFTER gaslighting her about dance-cheating with Cha-Cha! Danny Zuko you are a TRASH BOY. AND A BOOB-ELBOWER.
I’m a huge fan of the “we are so heterosexual we have no choice but to comb our hair about it” move.
:: Speaking of movies, here’s an interesting article about Moneyball. That’s the baseball movie that focuses more on the front office than the action on the field. It’s a really good movie…and yet I have issues with it, which I suppose I should write about sometime. If you watch it, keep in mind that its version of events is heavily fictionalized.
:: I was looking through a Flickr gallery of photos from the 1970s the other day, and I found this lovely photo of singer-actress Suzi Quatro. No reason here, but I note that her outfit here is pretty close to what I’ve been trying to gear my own fashion concept toward as of late. Hmmmm!
:: Fifty-five years after the MLK assassination, Roger has thoughts on the decades-long softening and flattening of MLK’s legacy and activism.
:: Sheila’s thoughts on Roger Ebert’s passing. It’s a Sheila O’Malley essay, so it’s a ride…and a good one, though scary in parts.
Time to open some more tabs, I guess….
I’m happy you reposted my piece. It got much less traction, e.g., my Jeopardy post.