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Heroines or Busybodies? Seattle women make an end run around an Idaho school board.
Seattle Post- Intelligencer ^ | April 16 2014 | Joel Connelly

Posted on 04/23/2014 8:30:47 PM PDT by crazycatlady

Hundreds of Meridian, Idaho high school students signed a protest petition when their local school board banned Sherman Alexie' young adult novel "The Absolutely True Diary of a part-Time Indian" from their 10th grade curriculum. But a private fundraising drive, organized by two Washington women, has now raised enough money to buy a copy for each of the 350 students who protested...

(Excerpt) Read more at blog.seattlepi.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Idaho
KEYWORDS: authors; books; schools; ya
You will have to excuse the word "banned" used throughout the discussion. I don't consider this technically banning and am always quick to point that out ever fall during "banned books week". I only heard of this story a few days ago but evidently its been a hot news storyin Idaho and in the world of librarians, many of whom adore this book. Some would say that I am as bad as the typical book "banner" because I haven't read the book. I have read a couple of Alexie's other novels, and consider him to be overrated, though hes a very entertaining reader. This may be beside the point, though. How would a school board in Seattle feel if a couple of do-gooders from Idaho meddled in their affairs. Admittedly, the collaborated with a book store in Boise, but this still doesn't set right with me. I also find it interesting that this story is making a big splash at the same time there is buzz that Sherman Alexie may replace Stephen Colbert. Alexie would oprobably be good at this job, but he's about as liberal as they come. Also expect a lot of basketbal--he loves basketball.
1 posted on 04/23/2014 8:30:47 PM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: crazycatlady

Which way does it lean?


2 posted on 04/23/2014 8:33:57 PM PDT by SgtHooper (I lost my tag!)
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To: SgtHooper

I’m not sure what you mean, but most of what I’ve read strongly supports the two Seattle women, and is sharply critical of the Meridian school board and complaining parents.
The only place that I saw a lot of support for the Meridian school board was in PI comments on another April 3 piece by Connolly(before the Seattle women got involved). But there were also some extremely ugly things said about people in Meridian.
One thing they are right about—this will boost Alexie’s book sales.


3 posted on 04/23/2014 8:41:26 PM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: crazycatlady

I’ve used this book in my classes with struggling readers and writers, most of whom are Native Alaskans. It’s just vulgar enough to grab their attention. The themes are developed enough for the students to respond in writing. We’ve also read some of his short stories. There’s also a film, “Smoke Signals,” which is very well done, in my opinion. Alexie is a good vehicle to teach English to teenagers.

We’ve also watched him in various YouTube videos, and read some of his nonfiction writing. He’s a solid leftist who sees the world in racial and post-colonial terms. In that way, my classes also use his own words to demonstrate his racism, bitterness, and whining. To be fair, a lot of his Native characters are drunk, violent, and stupid. Most of my student think his attitude is pathetic.

Best comment so far, from a Yup’ik kid (and I paraphrase): “So here’s an Indian guy writing stories about how bad white people have been to Indians, while selling millions of books to those same white people and making tons of cash while doing it. Pretty slick.”


4 posted on 04/23/2014 8:43:58 PM PDT by redpoll
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To: crazycatlady

Are they going to ask the parents of those 350 kids before giving them smut?


5 posted on 04/23/2014 8:44:22 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: crazycatlady
No coincidence here. It's clearly a public relations maneuver. Just like Mapplethorpe, not spending taxpayer dollars to buy art is not "banning."

Nor is it burning books. If the school board doesn't buy a copy of Hustler for every student, would that be "banning?"

A perfect little lie to set up the compliant "Drive By Media" and knock it out of the park. They will move on before anyone has an opportunity to correct the news readers.

Hopefully, parents and students, some of them at least, won't bite the boob bait.

6 posted on 04/23/2014 8:45:05 PM PDT by Prospero (Si Deus trucido mihi, ego etiam fides Deus.)
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To: crazycatlady

If they gave an inappropriate book to my kid I would sue them even if I had to make something up. Do these women override the wishes of the parents in your world?


7 posted on 04/23/2014 8:45:42 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Prospero

Bump


8 posted on 04/23/2014 8:46:26 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: crazycatlady

“Jowls” Connolly? If he’s fer it I’m agin it LOL


9 posted on 04/23/2014 8:48:22 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: crazycatlady

I say ban the stupid liberal aholes from Washington. No liberal Aholes from Washington allowed in Idaho!


10 posted on 04/23/2014 8:48:38 PM PDT by Newtoidaho
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To: crazycatlady
A couple of weeks ago, there was an article on Free Republic, about a school that had to remove new bleachers at a boys baseball field, because the girls softball team didn't also get them. Even though it was the parents of the boys baseball team that raised the money for the bleachers for the baseball team.

I don't think these 350 students should get these books unless those that paid for these books also pay for books for ALL the students.

(Of course, if the parents want to burn those books, that's their prerogative)

11 posted on 04/23/2014 8:49:17 PM PDT by mountn man (The Pleasure You Get From Life Is Equal To The Attitude You Put Into It)
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To: redpoll

This book has just been assigned to my son for his summer reading list. He has been accepted into Honors English in his Freshman year at a Catholic H.S. I was quite surprised to see this book on his list. With the wealth of American literature available, why would a Catholic school assign it to incoming honors students? I was told that the book deals with themes of drug use, homosexuality and bullying. I wanted to hurl. I love my son and think the world of him, but having attended Catholic schools all his life, as he enters high school he is pretty naive...especially compared to the public schools around here. So I am interested in your thoughts on the impact the book might make on a straight arrow, naive, incoming freshman....


12 posted on 04/23/2014 9:05:31 PM PDT by Crapgame (What should be taught in our schools? American Exceptionalism, not cultural Marxism...)
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To: redpoll

I liked the movie Smoke Signals.
Didnt like Indian Killer too much. A whodunit should say whodunit.
Reservation Blues was so-so.
Thanks for your input on Alexie.


13 posted on 04/23/2014 9:12:42 PM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: crazycatlady

A part-time Indian? Elizabeth Warren?


14 posted on 04/23/2014 9:13:05 PM PDT by printhead (Standard & Poor - Poor is the new standard.)
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To: Prospero

They have started using the term “challenged books” because people like me complain every time they say banned. And yes, I consider it exactly like the Mapplethorpe affair.
I understand that some Muslim countries have banned the movie Noah. When they do it, it’s probably real banning.


15 posted on 04/23/2014 9:16:03 PM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: Crapgame
I was told that the book deals with themes of drug use, homosexuality and bullying. I wanted to hurl.

The Holy Bible likewise deals with such themes.

Regards,

16 posted on 04/23/2014 9:22:53 PM PDT by alexander_busek (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)
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To: Crapgame

A few years ago I was at a Barnes and Noble in Seattle and noticed a table of books being used in various Seattle schools. I had a feeling I would see stuff I disapproved of. I was quite surprised to see “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. “Water for Elephants has some very dirty passages, dirtier than anything Alexie has written, probably. It’s not a bad book for grownups, but if I were trying to find a contemporary novel for high schoolers, I could find something better, I think.
One of my old high school English teachers got the whole town of Glendive MT in an uproar when he was teaching there in the sixties( before he taught at my school). Catcher in the Rye had been used a lot by then, but not in Glendive evidently. He said he finally consulted a nun at a Catholic school in Billings to see what they were assigning. She told him they used to use Catcher in the Rye but had started using In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
I think Obamas first book is used in schools, which is not necessarily bad, except I doubt if any other presidential memoirs are. I also understand that some more recent printings have edited out a few more objectionable things.


17 posted on 04/23/2014 9:34:51 PM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: Crapgame

the same reason they pushed Catcher in the Rye on us....the same reason we had to read a lot of other nonsense crap...because they could....


18 posted on 04/23/2014 10:03:30 PM PDT by cherry
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To: crazycatlady

Ah, you answered my “leaning” question. Thx. :-)


19 posted on 04/24/2014 10:13:34 AM PDT by SgtHooper (I lost my tag!)
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To: Crapgame

>>>This book has just been assigned to my son for his summer reading list. He has been accepted into Honors English in his Freshman year at a Catholic H.S. I was quite surprised to see this book on his list. With the wealth of American literature available, why would a Catholic school assign it to incoming honors students? I was told that the book deals with themes of drug use, homosexuality and bullying. I wanted to hurl. I love my son and think the world of him, but having attended Catholic schools all his life, as he enters high school he is pretty naive...especially compared to the public schools around here. So I am interested in your thoughts on the impact the book might make on a straight arrow, naive, incoming freshman....<<<

Like I said, I use this book with struggling Native students. It’s written at a junior high level, which is challenging for my students, who come to our boarding school often reading at third or fourth grade level. The rather crude themes have high interest for a typical 14-year-old male. Alexie paints drugs and alcohol always as negative, and his descriptions are accurate; his writing about homosexuality are typically liberal and supportive, but there are no gay characters, just references to being gay. Bullying is presented in a manner that reminds me a lot of my own schooling in 1970, and it’s actually quite traditional in its insistence that people fight back and that we’re responsible for our own lives and responsible for what we get.

But an honors class? That makes no sense. The honors students that I know would rip through this book in a few hours, maybe less. “Absolutely True Diary...” is a little above the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, but far below the classics. I’d think the honors kids would be better served with Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and the Federalist Papers. Alexie? No way is he in that league.

My guess? The school has some PC racialist teachers who want “diverse” reading, and Alexie is the token Native guy. Proof might be in the reading list - if it’s evenly distributed by gender and race, that might be what’s going on. Just speaking for myself, I find such an approach disgusting.


20 posted on 04/24/2014 12:44:15 PM PDT by redpoll
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To: alexander_busek
The Holy Bible likewise deals with such themes...

Most of the time I can ignore drive-by ignorance, but your accomplishment is outstanding.

Is it your claim that "The Absolutely True Diary of a part-Time Indian" was inspired by God?

21 posted on 04/25/2014 8:48:31 AM PDT by gogeo (If you are Tea Party, the Republican Party does not want you.)
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To: gogeo
The Holy Bible likewise deals with such themes...

Most of the time I can ignore drive-by ignorance, but your accomplishment is outstanding. Is it your claim that "The Absolutely True Diary of a part-Time Indian" was inspired by God?

No, I make no such claim; only that the Holy Bible likewise deals with such themes.

Regards,

22 posted on 04/25/2014 1:20:30 PM PDT by alexander_busek (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)
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