Parents Still Hate The Catcher In The Rye, Those Goddamn Transistor Radios

Parents Still Hate The Catcher In The Rye, Those Goddamn Transistor Radios

Aww. Being offended by library books is so quaint.

On the list of things that will crawl in through your child's bedroom window and steal his/her innocence, "library books" falls somewhere between "Elvis Presley's hips" and "an exhausting game of lawn tennis." Parents these days are much more concerned with protecting their children from the newfangled dangers like texting, sexting, the Internet, the sexy Internet, and Shia LeBoeuf. Which is why it's almost adorable to find out that there is still a core group of parents out there going to libraries, picking up copies of The Catcher In The Rye, taking them to the librarians, and whisper-yelling, "What about the children?!? Won't someone think of the children?!" 

From The American Library Association:

For nearly 20 years, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has collected reports on book challenges. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness. In 2009, OIF received 460 reports on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.

The ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Granted, some of these books are offensive, just not for the reasons listed. For example, the ttyl books, a series of novels written completely in OMG-speak and in an IM format, should offend anyone who knows how to read. Also, complaining about nudity in a novel that contains no pictures is like complaining about there being too much sound in a sandwich.

Still, as stupid as these complainers are, and they are monumentally stupid, there's something so quaint about 460 people sitting down year after year, decade after decade to write letters—letters!—to libraries about the "offensive language" in To Kill A Mockingbird. Some enterprising B&B somewhere should get a couple of these humorless, library-book-challenging old people together as a tourist attraction for their guests:

"In the morning there are fresh cranberry scones with homemade maple butter, and then the rest of the day is yours! You can take some of the house bikes and ride down to the town square to Martha's Sweet Shoppe for old-fashioned taffy. Or you can stroll down to the outdoor market at the old church, where most Saturdays you can watch a traditional quilting circle. And after a bit of antiquing, on Sunday afternoons you can go to the historic Town Hall and watch a group of 'concerned citizens' type out complaints about 'offensive' library books like The Color Purple on actual typewriters. (They're so adorable when they're angry.) Make a weekend of it!"   

     

Filed Under: Books

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