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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

A particularly incompetent book-banner goes down in flames.

A little over a week ago, we posted about a book-banning effort in the Chicago-area town of Arlington Heights, led by a right-wing school board member named Leslie Pinney. According to Pinney, the following nine books needed to be dropped from a high school reading list because they were full of explicit sex, violence, and vulgar language:
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent by Julia Alvarez
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  • Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

The last two books on the list are especially curious, yes?

What made us notice the story about Pinney's book-banning efforts was her admission that she'd never read any of the books. Instead, she'd just trawled the internet looking to see whether any of the books on the district's reading list were objectionable. While Pinney didn't identify the source for her information, we suspect it was a group called Culture Campaign, who are well-known book-banners. [The group's website contains excerpts of several books on Pinney's list here.]

All of this is a long-winded way to get to the latest development in the story: Last night, the school board decided the fate of the nine books on Pinney's list and — happily — Pinney lost. In fact, she lost big. After the votes were tallied, Pinney was the only member of the school board to support a ban on the nine books. That outcome was despite on-line efforts by several right-wing groups, including Culture Campaign, to mobilize support for Pinney.

Knowing the tenacity of right-wing wackos, however, I doubt this loss puts an end to Pinney's book-banning career. Watch this space.

Via Chicago Tribune.

| | Posted by Magpie at 10:40 AM | Get permalink




Liar, liar, pants on fire!


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