Saturday, January 30, 2010

Banning Books, and Snow

Wow, I think this is a little more snow than the weatherman expected, isn't it? They were saying 1-2 inches, now they're saying 4-6, and it could keep falling until four tomorrow morning.

We've got a log burning in the fireplace but my toes are cold. I suppose that's because I'm sitting at this computer in the kitchen instead of stretching my legs out on the recliner in the living room.

You have probably heard about the school system in Virginia that has banned The Diary of Anne Frank. The story is this: a parent in Culpeper County complained that there were "sexually explicit material and homosexual themes" in the later edition of the book, and the school district pulled the book. An intriguing paragraph from The Post:
Culpeper's policy on "public complaints about learning resources" calls for complaints to be submitted in writing and for a review committee to research the materials and deliberate, [school district director of instruction James] Allen said. In this case, the policy was not followed. Allen said the parent registered the complaint orally, no review committee was created and a decision was made quickly by at least one school administrator. He said he is uncertain about the details because he was out of town. School system in Va. won't teach version of Anne Frank book

That is scary. One parent complains and the whole school district responds.

Valerie Strauss, writing at The Post's blog, explains:
... according to the Star Exponent, which quoted Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system, saying, “What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. So we listened to the parent and we pulled it.”

The problem for Allen is that it IS a big deal when books are pulled off shelves because a parent doesn’t want their student to read about female genitals in the context of this Holocaust memoir, which is the passage in contention here.

The passage in question is one where Frank talks about her vagina, and this is the most commonly cited passage in the book:
"There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!" Taking Anne Frank off shelves: Indefensible

Okay, so that's it. The girl discovers her vagina.

This is a big world, there are all kinds of people, but it seems there are some who think their peculiar way of thinking should become the standard for everybody else. We have seen them try to do it in Montgomery County, it takes a lot of effort to fight it, especially when lazy bureaucrats like this Allen character are perfectly willing to go along with them.

On the other hand, great news! This is a real breakthrough. According to Huffington Post the students at Oak Meadows Elementary School in Menifee, California, will be allowed to use Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, even though naughty students can find dirty words in it, after the issue was studied by a committee of parents, teachers, and administrators.
However, parents can opt to have their kids use an alternative dictionary.

Sometimes there's just nothing to say.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In deference and out of respect for Anne Frank, those passages should never have been published. She was a little girl who was in a horrible situation, and you have to think about whether her, or her parents, would ever have wanted that portion of the diary printed.

January 30, 2010 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent point

they were left out of the original publication for a reason

there's was no need to print every personal detail

"That is scary. One parent complains and the whole school district responds."

the one parent had a view the school district knew would be shared by most other parents

what's scary is one reporter tries to create a story and TTF salivates

that snow is pretty dangerous

I was on the beltway near the Chevy Chase wave sliding sideways

further up 270, conditions were a little better

January 30, 2010 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this under Wiki, after doing a search on "when did Anne Frank's father die."

"He survived, edited Anne's now famous diary and got it published."

So this gives us the answer. No father would ever want that personal detail published about his daughter. And he probably knew his daughter would be mortified to have that published.

January 30, 2010 10:54 PM  
Anonymous frosty said...

the flagrant indecency of TTF


January 31, 2010 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a guy who uses alternate meanings for "journalism" and "investigative reporter."

"In his videos O’Keefe often stages events and conflicts, sometimes to great effect, but I don’t think we should call that investigative journalism. This isn’t even the same thing as Mike Wallace ambushing a crook with a camera. It’s like someone dressing up like Mike Wallace in order to get a public figure to react in a comical and telling fashion. It’s Borat, not Woodward & Bernstein.

Andrew Breitbart calls O’Keefe an independent filmmaker, not an investigative journalist. I think that is an apt description. I’ve seen O’Keefe lavish praise on Michael Moore and aspire to be like him. We wouldn’t call Moore an investigative journalist. On the other hand, if in one of his films Moore was able to trick, say, an NRA official into explaining how to evade gun laws, that would become a legitimate news story for journalists to cover. So this kind of filmmaking can feed journalism, but it isn’t itself journalism."

Somebody should send O'Keefe a Webster's Dictionary

January 31, 2010 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

I see a school system's fear of parents disturbing. Policies must be followed when such complaints are brought to the surface.

These "helicopter parents" are so bored at home with nothing else to do that they simply hover over a school building until they can moan and groan about something--ANYTHING.

There is a backlash, however, fighting against these parents who cause their children to be burned out by the time they arrive to he college campus. Time Magazine had a great article a few weeks ago on this.

I am all for parents being VERY involved in their child's education, but we have to stop the parental dictatorship that is weakening the very essence of our public educational system.

Most of these "hovering parents" are taking action due to grades... a simple little letter grade.

Personally, I would not mind getting rid of the "A-E/F" grading system all together. What is important is how a student improves over a period of time- that's what colleges and universities really want to see.

On the other hand, this concept could come in handy to make PFOX stop distributing their hate-filled fliers of lies and pseudo science to our students (they did it again at my school last week-- and people were VERY upset).

On that note, as AnonBigot makes some lame comment, I am going to go play with my dog, Mijo, in the snow.

Have a great day.

January 31, 2010 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

There is no evil and no shame in a young person persisting in growing up despite a terrible situation; there was evil in what the Nazis did to Anne Frank, her family and her people, and shame that the rest of us permitted it to go on as long as it did.

January 31, 2010 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There is something called PRIVACY, which her father obviously wanted to maintain. It has nothing to do with evil or shame. Many people want to maintain privacy, even though they are not ashamed of what they've done, nor do they consider it evil.

Her father obviously wanted that part of the diary omitted, and that should be respected.

If Anne had lived and wanted that part of the diary shared, then I'd think that was perfectly fine.

January 31, 2010 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Did the parent in Culpeper object out of concern for Anne Frank's privacy?

Do schools base their assignment decisions on the privacy of the authors of the books?

Somehow the parent complaining was bothered by "homosexual content." What was she talking about?

February 01, 2010 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, Anne Frank was not a traditional author.

We are talking about a diary not a novel.

Parts of her diary were published, withher father's permission, after having some personal things taken out.

TTF is on the side of indecency here.

Give up.

February 01, 2010 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Vigilance readers can easily see who labels some of what Anne Frank wrote as "indecency."

February 01, 2010 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bea -- That Anon wasn't saying that what Anne wrote was indecent, he or she was saying that publishing the material is indecent, since her father obviously chose to leave it out and Anne had no say in the matter.

I just did an informal survey with five female friends. Three of these friends voted for Obama, by the way. They ALL said that if the diary was theirs, they'd have been extremely happy that their father chose to leave out such personal data.

February 01, 2010 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh? You have five female friends?

February 01, 2010 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Don't be ridiculous.

Anone has criticized TTF for being "on the side of indecency" because a couple of Vigilance blog comments expressed support for a later and more complete edition of Anne Frank's diary.

Anone thinks those newly published parts of Anne Frank's diary are indecent.

February 01, 2010 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, Bea. It IS true that the regular TTF bloggers normally side with indecency. HOWEVER, Anon was saying that in this instance, TTF's indecency lies in the fact that you want this little girl's private writings exposed, despite the fact that her father chose not to expose them. Thus, Anne Frank wasn't indecent in writing private thoughts in her diary. On the contrary -- we can write anything we want in our diaries. The indecency lies in exposing her intimate thoughts, despite the fact that her family chose not to.

So, rest assured -- TTFers are siding with indecency. I most certainly didn't mean to take away your credit on that score!

February 01, 2010 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When one publishes a book with the intent of having millions of readers (not to say millions of dollars), as Mr. Frank did, one should not expect to hide behind the curtain of "privacy". Once any information gets out into the public sphere, all desires for secrecy, privacy, or hiding the truth are "gone with the wind". One's moral judgement of a published work is irrelevant when the facts of Anne's daily existence are subjected to scrutiny.
Anne Frank was a child who was expressing her feelings about her everyday life...each reader can judge the morality of her feelings, but the fact of the matter is, she had those feelings, was expressing them, and she was not attempting to influence anyone else's morality or judgement of her views of life.
Condemning a diary because you disagree with the emerging feelings and observations of a young girl, hiding in fear and worried about her very existence, is reprehensible.

February 01, 2010 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I still don't get the bit about "homosexual content." Can anyone explain?

February 01, 2010 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the homosexual content either. Also, I'm the one who thinks that Anne's father should have had the final word on this one, but I did just read that he gave all of her writings to some Institute. Maybe he doesn't mind those parts about his daughter being published. I need to find out more....

February 01, 2010 1:48 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

It looks as though both editions of the diary are still in use in the Culpepper schools. The Culpepper Star-Exponent ran a follow-up story.

February 01, 2010 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I need to find out more....

For once we agree!

Wikipedia reports:

The first transcription of Anne's diary was made by Otto Frank for his relatives in Switzerland. The second, a composition of Anne Frank's rewritten draft, excerpts from her essays, and scenes from her original diaries, became the first draft submitted for publication, with an epilogue written by a family friend explaining the fate of its author. In the spring of 1946 it came to the attention of Dr. Jan Romein, a Dutch historian, who was so moved by it that he immediately wrote an article for the newspaper Het Parool:

"This apparently inconsequential diary by a child, this "de profundis" stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence of Nuremberg put together. "
—Jan Romein

This caught the interest of Contact Publishing in Amsterdam, who approached Otto Frank to submit a draft of the manuscript for their consideration. They offered to publish but advised Otto Frank that Anne's candor about her emerging sexuality might offend certain conservative quarters and suggested cuts.

So in 1947, Otto Frank apparently wanted all of his daughter's diary published but the publisher advised him against it.

And the Culpeper Virginia Star article Tish pointed Vigilance readers to reports the unabridged version of Anne's diary has been in print for 15 years already:

"...In 1995, the Anne Frank Foundation published the definitive edition, an unedited 340-page version of her diary, to mark the 50th anniversary of her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

...Online, professional and amateur bloggers alike continued to weigh in on the school’s initial decision. They overwhelmingly expressed disappointment and frustration that the sensibilities of one person could impact an entire school community. They also expressed almost unilateral condemnation of the decision to withdraw the book over the sexual references. Many online wrote that they felt the passages were age-appropriate for middle school students.

Beard said his daughters have all read the book and that “it didn’t hurt them.” However, he said it is unfair to unequivocally dismiss complaints simply because the dissenting voices are in the minority.

“If one single voice is right, we need to listen to it,” he said. “But this book did not get due process,” he added. “It’s not an issue of whether one complaint should be heard, because just one should, but all the voices should be heard, and that didn’t happen yet.”

“I’ve received a lot of e-mail — people reminding me that the Nazis were book burners,” Beard continued, “And I’m very happy that the superintendent has made it clear that the book has not been removed from the schools. I think we have heard from the community on this book and in a sense, I’m kind of happy that I live in a community where people are saying we want that book back in school.”

All of us are happy we live in a community where people are saying we want that book back in school. All of us except Anone, that is.

February 01, 2010 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt Bea:
I don't consider "Anonymous" to be an "us". I consider him to be a "them".

February 02, 2010 10:55 AM  

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