“Filthy”, eh?

According to Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak should be banned from local high school English classes on account of it being “soft pornography”. In fact, the title of article in question claims that “filthy” books like Speak are “demeaning to Republic education.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. A novel that deals with important themes like rape, post-traumatic stress, alienation, isolation and heartbreak  is filthy. And rape is pornographic.

Think I’m exaggerating his claims? Honestly, I wish I was:

In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography.

One such book is called “Speak.” They also watch the movie. This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.

Because Heaven forbid our young adults – let’s face it, they’re not children – be exposed to anything that may jeopardize their purity. Or expose them to just how evil the world really can be. Or be able to provide them hope and support if the unspeakable happens, and they find themselves facing a similar situation.

I’m not often known for biting my tongue, but this isn’t the forum for me to filter my rage through. Instead, read Laurie Halse Anderson’s response blog. Submit a letter to the editor of the News-Leader. Write to the superintendent of the Republic School District, or the high school principal.

And let’s keep in mind, this is a man who also wants to ban Slaughterhouse Five.



Filed under Book News, Favourite Books

2 responses to ““Filthy”, eh?

  1. Publishers and people who put money first want this kind of gratuitous sex in books and that’s why it is there. It is wrong to lie about genocide or the great suffering rape imposes. It is wrong to lie about History, so the writer must walk a tightrope. So to avoid pornography, you have to stay with the victim, portray real feelings.

    Somebody trashed my book about the East End of London and left the few parts of the books which talked about disease and exploitation. Another deals with, as a minor character, a woman with children and an orphan who is fleeing the Cossacks. An old woman who shelters her suggests that she go to France, because she can support her children there, meaning prostitution.

    We have lost our capacity for discretion in respect to
    the suffering of women, you don’t need the anatomical
    detail. Rape is about emotion and the lead up to it, the aftermath. People who “don’t get off on” literature about women are the hackers into and erasers of site. I couldn’t get into the London East End section because after erasing my book, they left the few sex scenes in and ramped them up. Then they rated it R and I couldn’t prove my age or get in to change my email settings to an active site. I’m not renewing my mac site this year.

    I knew about the Cossacks and the flight across Europe from listening to the talk of old women. One conversation I remember well was when I was about seven, and I knew very well that I was meant to remember any history that I heard. It was up to me.

    • There was nothing anatomical or graphic or especially physically detailed about the rape scenes in Speak.

      As for the rest of the comment, I’m not entirely sure where you’re going with it.

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