I find this:
see more Historic LOL
I’m quoting from an article that ran last February in the Queen’s University paper. The Library Communications Manager for Staufer Library, I’m guessing, had this to say about the need for events that highlight the issues surrounding censorship.
“Sometimes the authors are tackling difficult social issues and they’re trying to raise awareness,” she said, adding that one reason for censorship is the language they use within characters’ dialogue that readers find offensive. An prime example is the racist language used by some characters in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Smith said.
“What people are offended by is exactly the point the authors are trying to make,” she said. “They’re trying to shed light on those issues.”
I don’t have the books anymore, but I used to collect Lynn Johnston’s For Better or for Worse series. She made headlines in 1993 for daring to make a character gay. She was the first to do such a thing in a syndicated comic strip and she knew Lawrence’s coming out was going to cause a stir. Her editor, Lee Salem, sent warning letters to every paper that ran her strip to warn them of the upcoming four week storyline and gave them the option to opt out if they didn’t want it. Some chose to run other strips and perhaps more would have, except people didn’t read their mail so never got advance notice of the storyline. The first strip dropped into all those newspapers and then the shit hit the switchboards as call after call of complaint rolled in. And then it was letters.
At first, it seemed as though the response was mostly negative. Letters (that appeared to have been written in haste and rage) accused, threatened, cursed, and damned. Many, quoting elaborate passages from the Bible, included threatening and unprintable messages. “Curious thing,” I thought to myself, “that these people felt they were worthy to sit in judgment of others.” Some letters came as organized protests (many from people who, you could tell, had never read For Better or For Worse). Some came from people, who had been violated as children and equated homosexuality with pedophiles and thought I was in support of something that had destroyed their lives. The opposing points of view were varied, definite, and strong.
Nineteen papers, the majority American, wound up canceling their subscription to her comic. One Memphis paper lost a thousand subscribers in a day over it. Positive response was late coming, but come it did, and Lynn donated all the letters she received to her local sociology department
where they are proving to be an intimate and invaluable insight into this side of our human nature.
I learned a great deal when we ran the Lawrence story. I learned that the comics page is a powerful communicator. I learned that people read our work and care about what we say. We all look forward every day to that one page in the paper where the small truths lie, hoping for a laugh, or a little sarcasm, or a punch line that will ease the burden just a bit. I learned that our work is taken seriously, and despite the reduction in numbers and size, the comics matter a great deal. Those of us who produce these panels have a responsibility to ourselves, our syndicates, our publishers, and our audience to use this space with conscience and with care.
I believe I did that with this story.
I believe it made a difference.
My syndicate and many editors allowed me to take a risk… and yes, without question, it was the right thing to do! The complete series of “Lawrence’s Story” is available in There Goes My Baby!”
For many people, a book or a comic might be the only way they’ll be able to explore an issue that matters to them. They might not have family support or friends they trust enough. Books that deal with tough issues have to be around. They have to be available because they can help people. If you don’t want to read it, don’t. But at least let the book be around for somebody else.
Have some Savage Chickens.
What is the sign for “Arrrr” anyway?
The following post requires a warning label (but not about its length):
A student was suspended from school recently on account of an art project. The student happens to be eight years old.
A Taunton father is outraged after his 8-year-old son was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological evaluation after drawing a stick-figure picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The father said he got a call earlier this month from Maxham Elementary School informing him that his son, a second-grade student, had created a violent drawing. The image in question depicted a crucified Jesus with Xs covering his eyes to signify that he had died on the cross. The boy wrote his name above the cross.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’re violating his religion,” the incredulous father said.
He requested that his name and his son’s name be withheld from publication to protect the boy.
But it’d be easier to protect the boy if this didn’t make world-accessible headlines, and anyone in his class has already spread the word around about how he got in trouble. And, I don’t think his suspension qualifies as a violation against a religion. I think it’s a teacher’s screw up and a ridiculous reason to give a kid the boot, and a ridiculous thing to drag into the media – except for people who want to try and claim somebody’s being persecuted and suppressed on account of a religion. But it gets weirder.
The student drew the picture shortly after taking a family trip to see the Christmas display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, a Christian retreat site in Attleboro. He made the drawing in class after his teacher asked the children to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas, the father said.
Why would the kid draw Christ on a cross at Christmastime? Anyone else his age would be into reindeer and Santa and elves, or even the nativity scene stuff, albeit badly rendered. If the kid thinks of a cross, it’s evidence of how his folks have trained him to think.
“I think what happened is that because he put Xs in the eyes of Jesus, the teacher was alarmed and they told the parents they thought it was violent,” said Toni Saunders, an educational consultant with the Associated Advocacy Center.
Saunders is working with the boy’s parents after a mutual acquaintance referred them to her.
“When I got that call, I was so appalled that I had to do something,” Saunders said.
“They weren’t looking at the fact that this is an 8-year-old child with special needs,” she added. “They made him leave school, and they recommended that a psychiatrist do an evaluation.”
Interesting. What kind of special needs? Or would that make it too obvious to know which family this is? Here it seems the special need is 24 hours of religious pampering a day or the folks have a conniption (see the real reason below). Read the rest of this entry »
Beats me why people get their dander up in December. Surely other things are worth worrying about more than how a shopkeeper greets you…
Someone at the library had cut this out of a newspaper. How archaic.