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Sex and the Single (Preteen) Girl: Gossip Girl
Breakpoint with Charles Colson ^ | April 3, 2006 | Charles Colson

Posted on 04/04/2006 6:29:59 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback

When writer Marcia Segelstein headed to the bookstore to scout out books for her 12-year-old, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But she certainly didn’t expect rampant drinking, drug use, profanity, and explicit descriptions of sex and nudity.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what she found.

Segelstein’s daughter had been clamoring to read the Gossip Girl series, which “‘all’ of her friends were reading,” she said. After seeing what was in the books, Segelstein was floored. But a school librarian confirmed, “They’re very popular among sixth and seventh graders.” Even worse, the librarian added, “Some parents are so happy that their kids are reading anything, they don’t care what it is.”

The series, described by Teen People magazine as “Sex and the City for the younger set,” is set among a group of wealthy, spoiled students at an elite New York high school. And the drugs, drinking, and various kinds of sexual encounters aren’t their only problem behavior. Both teen and adult characters engage in binging and purging. Also of concern is the unfettered materialism. With the constant name-dropping of expensive stores, clothing designers, cosmetics, and other pricey name brands, some of the pages in these books read like advertisements.

Perhaps the worst part is that no moral judgments are made at all. As Segelstein put it in an article on our BreakPoint website, “The fact that the Gossip Girl books are nowhere close to being well written pales in comparison to the fact that they are utterly amoral. . . . They smoke, they drink, they have sex, they do drugs—yet they never have problems like getting AIDS or becoming pregnant or getting arrested or flunking out of school. Consequences don’t exist in the lives of these ‘chosen ones,’ as they’re called. The fictional world of the Gossip Girl books is a dangerous one, yet it is never portrayed as such.”

Gossip Girl author Cecily von Ziegesar admits that she wrote the books that way for a reason. She told Colby magazine, “It’s completely unrealistic to have a group of kids who are constantly reforming or who are being punished because they’re ‘naughty.’ And I always resented that quality in books I’d read.” She goes on, “I don’t know what it is that redeems the characters, exactly, but deep down, they’re still good kids.”

I can answer the author’s question—there’s very little redemptive about her characters. And that’s why parents of preteen girls need to do their job and keep these corrosive books out of their homes and out of their daughters’ lives. Von Ziegesar herself tipped her hand when she wrote in one of the books, “Luckily Blair and her friends came from the kind of families for whom drinking was as commonplace as blowing your nose. Their parents believed . . . that the more access kids have to alcohol, the less likely they are to abuse it. . . . The same thing went for everything else, like sex or drugs—as long as you kept up appearances, you were all right.”

There’s no justification for that kind of parenting, in fiction or in life. And there’s no excuse for putting this kind of literature into the hands of young girls who need to learn better.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ala; brainwashing; breakpoint; burn; cecilyvonziegesar; charlescolson; colbymagazine; corruptingminors; cutlurewar; doasthouwill; drugabuse; drugs; druguse; filth; girls; gossipgirl; hedonism; homosexualagenda; ifitfeelsgooddoit; indoctrination; itsjustsex; libertinarians; libertines; libraries; moralabsolutes; parentsnotfriends; peoplemagazine; perversion; promiscuity; publicschoolgap; publicschools; sex; sexpositiveagenda; sexualizingchildren; taxdollarsatwork; teenpeople; teens; underagedrinking; youpayforthis
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My, my, I would hate to be in von Ziegesar's shoes, now or on Judgement Day.

There are links to further information at the source document.

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

1 posted on 04/04/2006 6:30:02 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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To: Mr. Silverback

I am glad my daughter reads, and it is NOT gossip girls. She is into classics and other useful books. She loves reading the books before the movies come out and compares the two versions. My daughter is an independent thinker, not following the latest fads, she has flown ahead of many classmates and is proud of it.


2 posted on 04/04/2006 6:33:17 AM PDT by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: 351 Cleveland; AFPhys; agenda_express; almcbean; ambrose; Amos the Prophet; AnalogReigns; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

3 posted on 04/04/2006 6:33:36 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback
Gossip Girl author Cecily von Ziegesar admits that she wrote the books that way for a reason. She told Colby magazine, “It’s completely unrealistic to have a group of kids who are constantly reforming or who are being punished because they’re ‘naughty.’ And I always resented that quality in books I’d read.” She goes on, “I don’t know what it is that redeems the characters, exactly, but deep down, they’re still good kids.”

"I don't know what redeems the characters" translates "I don't care what redeems the characters". If even the author doesn't know, suffice it to say there is not a lot of redemption going on.

Cecily von Ziegesar is laughing all the way to the bank, leaving nothing but destruction in her wake.

4 posted on 04/04/2006 6:36:08 AM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
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To: Mr. Silverback

that is the saddest thing i read today...the damage the writers are causing on dozens of fronts is huge...and all for some sleazy cash...they are worse then hustler magazine in my view..


5 posted on 04/04/2006 6:37:11 AM PDT by Irishguy (How do ya LIKE THOSE APPLES!!!!)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Reminds me of the stir "Valley High Girls" caused when I was about that age (late 80s) but they were NOTHING compared to this stuff. wow.


6 posted on 04/04/2006 6:37:17 AM PDT by lawgirl (She comes on like thunder and she's more right than rain)
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To: television is just wrong

Are they assigning these books as required reading in Public Schools yet? I wonder...


7 posted on 04/04/2006 6:37:31 AM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
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To: Mr. Silverback
One of my pre-teen daughters just read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.

She couldn't put it down.

8 posted on 04/04/2006 6:39:03 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
My, my, I would hate to be in von Ziegesar's shoes, now or on Judgement Day.

Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Absolutely the worse thing one could ever hear.

Cordially,
GE
9 posted on 04/04/2006 6:39:03 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: bondjamesbond

no


10 posted on 04/04/2006 6:40:11 AM PDT by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: Mr. Silverback
As the father of three girls - one of which is 10 (she likes to call herself a pre-teen), I appreciate very much my fellow FReepers helping me keep up with what is going on in the culture.
She is a very good girl with a sound Biblical foundation, but there have been a time or two where information I got from you folks has saved me lots of research time. When she asked, I knew the answer right away!

From the bottom of my heart I thank you!

Cordially,
GE
11 posted on 04/04/2006 6:43:02 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: Mr. Silverback
“I don’t know what it is that redeems the characters, exactly, but deep down, they’re still good kids.”

Now where have I heard that reasoning before? Oh I remember - every time someone under 25 is arrested for something some reporter hauls out the the mother who says, "Deep down, she's still a good kid."

Now the Bible on the other hand...there's a book! Lays it out right from the start - we're sinners, every last one of us, with a rot that starts in our hearts. And then it details some of the sins and, best of all, tells what to do about it - how to get those sins taken care of. But I guess that's too moralistic and redemptive for the chosen ones who are on their way to hell. I'm just glad their kids are reading...excuse me while I puke up my pop tarts.
12 posted on 04/04/2006 6:47:04 AM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: GrandEagle

Dittos in situation and sentiment. Well said.


13 posted on 04/04/2006 6:48:27 AM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: AD from SpringBay

Isn't it great to have those extra eyes out there!


14 posted on 04/04/2006 6:53:58 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: Mr. Silverback

Any idea who the publisher is? This is a long way from Nancy Drew.


15 posted on 04/04/2006 6:54:02 AM PDT by jwalburg (If I have not seen as far as others, it is because of the giants standing on my shoulders.)
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To: GrandEagle

Absolutely. Every day I read something I would otherwise have no idea about. Where would we be without Freerepublic?


16 posted on 04/04/2006 6:56:46 AM PDT by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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To: Irishguy
they are worse then hustler magazine in my view..

Mine too. At least that smut is nominally aimed at adults.

17 posted on 04/04/2006 7:00:58 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback
“Some parents are so happy that their kids are reading anything, they don’t care what it is.”

There are so many good books for children and young adults ..... although many of them are out of print.

You'd think some publisher could make a killing selling a series of classic children's books.

18 posted on 04/04/2006 7:02:02 AM PDT by JohnnyZ (Happy New Year! Breed like dogs!)
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To: lawgirl
What was the problem with Sweet Valley High? Or are you just referring to their popularity when you say "a stir?"

I know nothing about this stuff, my daughter is nine and likes non-fiction, and of course I wasn't reading Sweet Valley High books back in the day. :-)

Although I will admit I read every single "Little House" book, even though most kids considered them girl books.

19 posted on 04/04/2006 7:04:22 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Irishguy
the damage the writers are causing on dozens of fronts is huge.
And now for the big question.....
WHERE ARE THE PARENTS????
20 posted on 04/04/2006 7:05:36 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: Carry_Okie
One of my pre-teen daughters just read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.

You...are...an...AWESOME parent!

21 posted on 04/04/2006 7:06:18 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: GrandEagle
De nada, mi amigo. I am so glad to do it.
22 posted on 04/04/2006 7:07:53 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: AD from SpringBay
Good post.

My kids like to watch Animal Planet and Discovery Channel stuff. I try to keep the TV watching to a minimum despite the fact that most of it is of good quality. That said, I'd rather park them in front of cartoons all day every day for years than have them reading one page of this smut. Some people are just freakin' insane and have no business raising children.

23 posted on 04/04/2006 7:10:31 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: television is just wrong

My granddaughter is devouring the Chronicles of Narnia after seeing the movie. She already read the series once.
Her parents don't care what she reads, as long as it is good literature! The family is big on Tolkien, too.


24 posted on 04/04/2006 7:12:08 AM PDT by sine_nomine (I voted for George Milhouse Bush.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
You...are...an...AWESOME parent!

Nope. That's what we should be expecting. It's a matter of feeding them from the time they are two. Once the fundamentals are there, stand back and guide. I spend less time teaching these kids than I did when they were in private school.

I'll ping you when FReepers NattieShea and PowerBaby publish their term paper: Liberty Follows Virtue: How Personal Values Ordained the Rise & Fall of Rome. 14,000 words, 163 footnotes.

25 posted on 04/04/2006 7:12:31 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: jwalburg

Stand by, will check.


26 posted on 04/04/2006 7:14:51 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: jwalburg

Publisher is Little, Brown.


27 posted on 04/04/2006 7:15:14 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Mr. Silverback
I try to keep the TV watching to a minimum despite the fact that most of it is of good quality.

Even good TV can be a problem, especially for kids under the age of ten. It teaches passivity in learning and induces a physical dependence upon rapid visual stimulation of powerful neurotransmitters. Once hooked upon their own chemistry, it's hard to get them to focus upon a long and complex learning task. IMO such is often the genesis of ADHD.

The essence of creativity is found in recognizing what is fascinating about seemingly dull things.

28 posted on 04/04/2006 7:17:22 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: AD from SpringBay; Mr. Silverback
We have a rule in my house. No books, DVD's, tapes, or CD's come into my home unless I have OK'd them. Doesn't matter where they come from. If I find one it is thrown out right then and the offending party is disciplined. I once read/watched/listened to them all, but alas there are now too many of them submitting requests, but I do look at them all, and I still listen to ALL music.
My 6 year old lost a school book like that last year because I found it and it didn't have Dad's seal on it. That one I had to replace - my own rule bit me on that one.
Anyway, my childrens teachers all know not to spring something new on them.
My daughters best friend is forbidden to bring music to my house (she lost a CD also once). She listens to garbage.

Seems to work for us ... so far

Cordially,
GE
29 posted on 04/04/2006 7:17:58 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: sine_nomine
My granddaughter is devouring the Chronicles of Narnia after seeing the movie.

I read the series out loud to my kids last year. They loved it. DVD comes out today, BTW.

30 posted on 04/04/2006 7:19:14 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: sine_nomine

My daughter read those too. She went from in fifth grade, third grade reading level to in sixth grade a tenth grade reading level in 6 months. I am proud of her....

She overcame a difficult situation...


31 posted on 04/04/2006 7:20:08 AM PDT by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: Carry_Okie

Please do ping me. I consider it required reading. How old are they?


32 posted on 04/04/2006 7:20:42 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: Carry_Okie
IMO such is often the genesis of ADHD.

Concur. We are phasing it out. Frankly, the only reason I have cable is Fox News and Packer games.

33 posted on 04/04/2006 7:22:11 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: television is just wrong
This is the correct approach.

My kids are being read the Scriptures, Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. from an early age.

By the time they are 12, they will consider semiliterate garbage like these "novels" an insult to their intelligence.

34 posted on 04/04/2006 7:22:12 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: wideawake

my daughter laughs at these silly girls who fall prey to fads and such.


35 posted on 04/04/2006 7:23:15 AM PDT by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List please. Thank you.


36 posted on 04/04/2006 7:24:37 AM PDT by GregB (Give Pottsville,Pa their NFL Championship back!!!!!!!!)
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To: television is just wrong
See - if you set high goals for your kids early on they will strive to reach them.

A normal 12 year old wants their parents to be proud of them.

37 posted on 04/04/2006 7:25:49 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: Mr. Silverback
Chronicles of Narnia
I hate to seem out of touch, I have heard a lot about this series. Is it good reading for children? I had assumed it was about witchcraft ans such stuff.

GE
38 posted on 04/04/2006 7:27:45 AM PDT by GrandEagle
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To: sine_nomine
Could I just say something else about Narnia for my own personal gratification? When I was in high school and in my early Air Force days, I was involved in theater. I acted, was a prop master on a couple of productions, and even wrote and directed a vignette. But I never had a moment as proud as an "actor" as when my son heard that the first actor doing Aslan's voice had backed out of the production, and he said, "You should call them, Dad. You sound just like Aslan should." I had a big grin on my face the rest off the day...I'm easily amused.

When you read Narnia, you definitely have to "do" all the voices...but it's all about Aslan, baby.

39 posted on 04/04/2006 7:37:49 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: JohnnyZ
There are so many good books for children and young adults ..... although many of them are out of print.

You'd think some publisher could make a killing selling a series of classic children's books.

Try Applewood Books. They reprint original Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, etc.:

http://www.applewoodbooks.com/

40 posted on 04/04/2006 7:38:37 AM PDT by GOP Jedi
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To: All

so Gossip Girl books are basicall written pornography for girls who have not reach puberty.

Are there not already laws with regards to selling sexual materials to minors?

At the very least should they not be behind the register and only sold to adults?


41 posted on 04/04/2006 7:39:33 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: GregB

You're added!


42 posted on 04/04/2006 7:40:26 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: GrandEagle

There is the occasional witch, but always shown to be a bad guy right away. Lots of creatures out of classical mythology, because Lewis was a classical fellow, but in Narnia it is classicism tamed and subject to Christ. Only once, IIRC, does a good character attempt a "spell". It is immediately shown to be a Bad Thing, and she repents very sincerely within a page or two.

They are relatively short novels, entertaining and well written. I think it would be worth your time to read them yourself to make sure if you think they're appropriate for your children. It has magic, but it's definitely not a Harry Potter type of DIY "if only you had the secret" type of magic. Lewis always portrays any attempt at the supernatural without going through God as evil and not to be done.


43 posted on 04/04/2006 7:42:17 AM PDT by Eepsy
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To: Carry_Okie
Have her read Bastiat's "The Law." It is even more fascinating, IMO.

Carolyn

44 posted on 04/04/2006 7:43:10 AM PDT by CDHart
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To: GrandEagle

Narnia is not bad, just the opposite.

It is an alligory of christianity.

It has been around for decades.


45 posted on 04/04/2006 7:44:23 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: GrandEagle
The Narnia books are excellent. The story of the first book, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" revolves around a very good allegory of the Resurrection.

The magic is no big deal...in the books, the source of all supernatural power used for good is Aslan (the Christ figure), and only those who are definitely evil use any other "magic." In fact, IIRC, I don't think that the supernatural things Aslan does for his allies are ever called magic, but simply are in effect because he has the power to do them.

C.S. Lewis did a very good job.

46 posted on 04/04/2006 7:47:12 AM PDT by Mr. Silverback ("I was in such a hurry to climb that tree, I punched a squirrel.")
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To: GOP Jedi
I'm thinking more along the lines of the Betsy & Tacy books (my big honkin' Borders only had one copy of one of them -- remember the line from "You've Got Mail" where the big box bookstore clerk had never heard of Betsy/Tacy and Meg Ryan has to clue them in?), All-of-a-Kind Family, the E. Nesbit Railway Children/Five Children and It/etc books. Came prepared with a list in my head of 5-10 titles for my friend's daughter and had to settle for Walter Farley and the Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Graham Greene's children's books are out of print, as far as I can tell. Pearl S. Buck's children's classic The Chinese Children Next Door is out of print.

47 posted on 04/04/2006 7:48:28 AM PDT by JohnnyZ (Happy New Year! Breed like dogs!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
They just turned thirteen and twelve respectively.

Their primary sources for the paper were Titus Livius (whom they found absolutely enthralling to read), Tacitus, Juvenal, Plutarch, Cicero, and Julius Caesar.

The secondary sources were A History of the Romans, by Frank Bourne, Chronicle of the Roman Republic, by Philip Matyszak, Roman Homosexuality, by Craig A. Williams (a scholarly work not in the least a perjorative, but nevertheless it was more than graphic), and Roman Religions, by Mary Beard, John North, and Simon Price. Finally, they did include an abridged version of Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Needless to say, there is also a collection of online sources.

I would call this paper probably equivalent in quality and extent to an upper division undergraduate humanities thesis (although it took them nearly a year to assemble). Sadly, IMO it's what we should be expecting out of high schools.

48 posted on 04/04/2006 7:48:55 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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you are not suggesting we ban these books are you??? parents need to be the parent and keep their kids away from this stuff, government should not get involved.


49 posted on 04/04/2006 7:50:34 AM PDT by Element187
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To: CDHart
Have her read Bastiat's "The Law." It is even more fascinating, IMO.

We'll get there. Thanks for the recommendation.

50 posted on 04/04/2006 7:50:34 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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