Librarian Kelly Jensen wrote an excellent blog post at BOOKRIOT today, “What Are Grown-Ups Afraid Of In YA Books?” It is a great post and you should read it.
And now I will say something that I have never said before.
You should read the comments, too.
Dr. Richard Sweir, the guy who called SPEAK “child pornography” earlier this month, has been responding to most of the blog’s comments. His arguments are enlightening.
If you are honestly puzzled about how SPEAK could be called pornography, Sweir’s comments offer insight. Among other things, he said: “The book is about rape. By being about rape it promotes rape to our most vulnerable.”
One of my favorite exchanges –
Dr. Sweir: “The book is about the rape of a child. If you made a movie about the rape of a 13 year old would it be rated PG-13? It is all about rape, rape, rape and more rape.”
ernstludwig: “The answer to your question is yes, it would. The movie based on this book, also titled Speak, is rated PG-13.”
That is sort of amusing. Other exchanges are not.
The biggest lesson for me was that Richard Sweir comes perilously close to admitting that he hasn’t read the book. It seems that his information about the novel comes from the parents who want it removed from the school district. And while in his own writings, he calls bullying “peer pressure” that is healthy when it targets LGBT kids, any time a commenter calls him out for describing the book as porn, his response is to whine that people are bullying him.
If you are looking for material that can be a great discussion starter about censorship issues, you will love both the blog post and comments.
I salute the commenters who tried to get Sweir to cite his objections and move beyond muddy rhetoric.
What do you think?