So Local Pasco Podcast, May 24th, 2016. Banning Books in Pasco Schools Edition.

I try not to engage in a lot of boisterous editorializing.  I am not interested in being Glenn Beck, or Rush, or whatever.  Most days, I’m content (for show purposes) to share information with you, gentle listener, about good things happening in our community.  Fun stuff, good stuff, stuff that will leave you feeling good about where you live.

Once in awhile, though…Once in awhile.  I get a little fired up.  I know that this is risky…”What if they disagree with me?”  “What if they STOP LISTENING?”  “What if they cancel their ads?”  THIS, ladies and gents, is the insecurity that keeps me on edge, and a little scared of the machine I am making.  What if it gets out of my control?  What if I am wrong about an issue…In particular, my position on an issue?

I am NOT a journalist.  I advocate, often with great vigor, on things I feel are important.  One of those things is censorship.  But I really LOVE definitions.  Let’s find a definition of censorship:

Vocabulary.com says…

“Censorship blocks something from being read, heard, or seen. If you’ve ever heard the sound of bleeping when someone is speaking on television, that’s censorship.

To “censor” is to review something and to choose to remove or hide parts of it that are considered unacceptable. Censorship is the name for the process or idea of keeping things like obscene word or graphic images from an audience. There is also such a thing as self-censorship, which is when you refrain from saying certain things — or possibly re-wording them — depending on who is listening.”

Now, there is a LOT of willful misunderstanding of ‘censorship and free speech’ as Constitutional concepts, right now…And I have bad news for some of you:  Walmart deciding NOT to carry Confederate flags anymore is NOT censorship, it is sensitivity.

But back to the local problem:

This week, a special committee decided to recommend that a widely admired, critically acclaimed novel for teens “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” be BANNED from all school libraries in Pasco County.

Pasco County School officials will be asked to consider BANNING this acclaimed novel, by a small committee responding to a recent middle school incident. The book would be banned from ALL school libraries in Pasco County, not just middle schools.
Pasco County School officials will be asked to consider BANNING this acclaimed novel, by a small committee responding to a recent middle school incident. The book would be banned from ALL school libraries in Pasco County, not just middle schools.

I discuss my reasons for opposing this ban in the podcast.  My intent is to make sure we all know that this is a major issue…and to make sure you know there is a place for YOUR say in this issue, if you are a resident of Pasco County.

You may agree with banning this book from schools…I can only hope you have read the material, and are making an informed decision.  But I ask you:  What’s the NEXT book that will be banned?  Are you going to support THAT ban, because a committee decided it should be banned?

Where is the line between books that are OKAY, and books that are NOT OKAY, for high school students?  I bet I could go to any high school library in the county, and find at least ONE book I feel is offensive, or dangerous for high school kids to read.  Should myself, plus, say…Twenty parents get to decide for ALL Pasco County students whether or not a book belongs in high school libraries?

It appears that Google Books has the COMPLETE “Perks of Being a Wallflower” available, online, for free.  Right now.  Maybe you should read it?

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, free, online

I will be reporting back on how and when the public will have a chance to speak to School Board members about this issue.

~Greg

Oh, P.S.:  I realized while editing, tonight, that there were some thumping and rustling noises in the background.  Everyone, meet Cali…Or Kali.  Not sure how we are spelling it.  She is the new kitten, and she loves being in the studio with me.  You experienced her 2am crazies, in the podcast.

New Studio kitten, Kali, investigating the water quality in the fishtank.
New Studio kitten, Kali, investigating the water quality in the fishtank.

Feel free to leave a comment! Be nice, though, or the banhammer shall fall.