LiveJournal offers its members a daily writing prompt to hold off writer's (or blogger's) block; a question that people can answer if they have nothing more interesting to write about on that day.
Not too many days ago, the question was: What (if any) books would you ban from a high school library? Are there certain subjects that you feel are inappropriate for teenagers regardless of literary merit?
It turned out to be the most popular question of the week (and probably an all-time winner). Here's how some bloggers tackled the issue:
1. Hrmph. Does the world need highschoolers reading Last Exit to Brooklyn, Delta of Venus, Requiem for a Dream or Tropic of Cancer? The answer is yes, but. Yes, but only under the suggestion and guidance of a wise (and fully fully tenured) professor who can explain context, answer embarrassing questions, and sit there poker faced through a parent-teacher conference...
2. Romeo and Juliet. I am sorry for the rude words I'll say in advance. Romeo and Juliet is - as my teacher put it - a PORN BOOK. An EROTIC NOVEL created by Shakespeare himself. The contents inside feature ONE SEX SCENE and many innuendos that relate to sexualism. It is truly a bad book to put in a high school library, no matter what the literary merit they'd gain. (Not sure if they're being sarcastic here...)
3. I would ban all the books... also, the internet. Make these kids learn THE HARD WAY!
4. Twilight. All of them. Ban them: Some of us like our books to have literary merit and not bloody well glorify pedophilia, stalking, emotional abuse, and misogyny, all under the guise of a crappy romance. Also, Vampires should never sparkle. That is all.
5. I don't have time to do this justice, so the short answer will have to do. No, and no. Absolutely, completely, and totally against censorship.
6. ...Rather than descend into giving lists of "approved" books for teens, perhaps we should first agree on what subject matter teens SHOULDN'T get their hands on, what teens may read with adult supervision, and on what teens can read at their own discretion. If there's one area in teen and preteen education that American society really fails at, it's in providing a proper amount of adult contact and supervision for all teens... Interaction and dialog with adults is what teens most need when they encounter new, strange, and sometimes distressing ideas and concepts.
7. Translated from Cyrillic: I wouldn't forbid any of them. One should learn to think with one's own head. But if the person only uses it to eat, then he/she wouldn't read any books anyway. Any books at all. [Original: Ни одной не запретила бы. Человек должен учиться думать своей головой. А если он туда просто ест, то книги все равно читать не станет. Любые.]
8. ...On the matter of banning books, no one has the right to deny anyone the beauty of art, creativity, imagination and symbolism. Totalitarians ban books, and too many people have died in the defence of free-expression for even the notion of banning books to be a valid argument.
9. Since I have a fucking clue, I wouldn't ban any books. I'd set up polling stations, and have anyone who voted to ban books summarily shot.
10. By all means, ban whatever book you want. It will result in at least double the amount of people reading it. I find it saddening so many people thought Twilight was a witty answer to this.