Hear Ye, Fear Ye #1

I frequently set aside articles or topics that relate to banned books or other censorship issues that I find or am sent by friends, but a lot of the time I never get around to writing a post about them or can’t think of enough to say (or worry I’ll sound all preachy and alarmist if I do). Then I see all of these interesting stories abandoned in e-mails or FB messages and feel guilty. Thus, I have decided to add a recurring feature to this blog. It’ll be a bit of a censorship round-up, though by no means exhaustive, so please don’t get upset if I don’t mention a censorship issue that seems more important. These are just the stories, big or small, that I encounter and want to share. Without further ado, here are a few censorship stories to kick us off.

The Panic Over Dungeons & Dragons (in 1985) – mental_floss takes a look back at the moral panic over Dungeons & Dragons allegedly causing teen suicide and murder, including an interview with Gary Gygax. I know it probably makes me a horrible person, but it was hard not to laugh at how similar this was to the 8-Bit spoof.

Professor suspended for Game Of Thrones shirt that threatened community college kingdom – A community college art professor was suspended without pay after posting a picture of his young daughter in an oversized t-shirt that sported the Targaryen house crest along with the accompanying slogan “I will take what is mine with fire and blood” on Google+ (how anyone found the picture on the barren wasteland that is Google+, the gods only know). It seems no one at the deans’ office had ever seen wildly popular television show Game of Thrones and didn’t bother to google the phrase, instead interpreting this quote from a fictional exiled princess swearing to reclaim her kingdoms as a reference to AK-47s. They then insisted they were right to investigate, given the amount of school shootings in this country. The professor must now pass a psychiatric exam to return to work, because a background check for a gun is a stone’s throw from a Nazi police state, but a family member wearing a t-shirt with a pop culture reference makes one a school shooter until cleared by a licensed psychiatrist. Good work, America.

Small Town Teacher Invites Wiccan Guest Speaker into Classroom – A small town teacher from Illinois ran an advanced course for college-bound kids designed to prepare these small town youngsters for ideas and concepts they would encounter beyond their 2700 person community. Part of this class included learning about world religions, leading the teacher to invite a Wiccan guest speaker to talk to the class about her religion. Controversy ensued over the so-called-occult in a public high school, but the kids and many of their parents rallied around the teacher. Can I just say I would have loved a class like this? And, my gods, did the kids of my regional high school need a crash course in the outside world, college-bound and non-college-bound alike.

 

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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

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