This morning I read a short bit in the Denver post about a high school student in West Virginia who was going to sue his school for removing Pat Conroy’s books, Beach Music and The Prince of Tides from the library because the books contain “graphic depictions of violence, suicide and sexual assault.” In the end, it looks like the school decided to start using “advisory labels,” to warn students about books containing “violence, language, sexual content or adult situations.” (Language? Don’t all books include language?)
I’m really getting sick of all this self-righteous censorship BS. The world sucks and bad things happen to good people. High school students should know about this. They shouldn’t be protected from it. They should be prepared to live in this world that contains good and bad, love and hate, peace and war. It seems to me that rating movies, games, and now books, does nothing but help closed-minded people protect themselves from reading and viewing things they don’t agree with, things that distrube their cushy little fantasy worldview. What happened to reading widely to learn and expand our minds? It is not a virtue to crawl into a hole (even — no, especially — a religious one) and to pretend that these bad things don’t happen in the real world. These people should stop fighting against literature and start fighting against real violence and sexual abuse.
I think ratings are offensive and condescending. If parents are too lazy to help their children decide what to read (or what movies to see or what games to play), that’s not my problem. I don’t think high school student’s should have their reading censored at all, not even by their parents. It’s too late, anyway.
So, what do you think? Are ratings harmful? (Besides, if you were a hs student, wouldn’t you just make a beeline for the advisory section, knowing that’s where all the good books are hiding?)