Banned Books Week starts Saturday, and Missouri has captured the attention of the nation with a grand kickoff: by advocating for the banning of a book.
Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, wrote an opinion piece in the Springfield News-Leader lamenting the "filthy books" kids are allowed to read. Anything dealing with sexual themes should be hidden from students all the way up through high school, he says:
In high school English classes, children are required to read and view
material that should be classified as soft pornography.
He's talking about Speak, a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson about a high school freshman coping with being raped. The "soft pornography" bit comes from the description of two rape scenes. Kind of sick to think about Scroggins seeing the rape scene as something to get off on.
Scroggins, who writes like he's never really paid attention in English class (probably because he donned his earmuffs whenever The Great Gatsby got too graphic) eloquently goes on:
In English, children are also required to read a book called "Slaughterhouse Five." This is a book that contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame.Besides having a potty mouth, Scroggins also takes issue with the award-winning book's author Kurt Vonnegut because of, you guessed it, including references to s-e-x.
As far as I know, nothing has been done to address these issues to date. This is unacceptable, considering that most of the school board members and administrators claim to be Christian. How can Christian men and women expose children to such immorality? Parents, it is time you get involved!
Some have already jumped on the college professor's denial bandwagon. The editor's note at the end of the piece includes a conciliatory note from Republic superintendent Vern Minor stating that Slaughterhouse Five has been removed from the curriculum.
He adds that another book Scroggins decried called Twenty Boy Summer is currently being reviewed. This is another story about a young girl coping, this time with the death of her boyfriend. But professor Scroggins sure seems to like pointing out the sex parts:
This book glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong. In this book, drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex.Even though this isn't the thrust of the book, it is to Scroggins -- because having safe sex in high school is a slutty, slutty sin.
The author of Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler, is offering a "Wesley Scroggins Filthy Books Prize Pack" to people who submit stories of how they're speaking out against censorship. You can enter until tomorrow, when Ockler will award two randomly chosen winners with the ultimate "soft pornography" prize pack: Slaughterhouse Five, Speak, and her novel Twenty Boy Summer. Adds Ockler:
I'm going to add some dark chocolate, too. Because it's dangerous and naughty and it goes great with banned books!