I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:
How do you feel about explicit detail in your reading? Whether language, sex, violence, situations and so on … does it bother you? Faze you at all? Or do you just read everything without it bothering you?
Explicit details in reading don’t ruffle me as long as the language, graphically vivid or violent, is deemed appropriate of the period or situation to render the book authentic. Honestly, in this self-righteous society, many works are misinterpreted or misguidedly banned because of the limitations and short-sightedness of a few. This censorship business seems to have intensify over the years since I graduated from high school. How is it that as we are poised to become more liberal we, on the other hand, I was shocked and infuriated by the fact that To Kill A Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath are targets of censorship in school libraries and curriculum because they contain violence, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit language or drug references considered unsuitable for students.
It all comes down to making choices. I can understand schools want certain books not to be included in the curriculum. But removing books completely from library shelf is a violation of constitutional rights. Banning literature from libraries is obscene. Any parent can decide to opt their child out of a specific assignment if there are concerns about sexually explicit material; but no single parent should be deciding what books are allowed to be read in school and what books aren’t.
So I digress. Imagine what the books of Maxine Hong-Kingston, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison would read like if those derogatory terms are to be banned or omitted. None of the violence, sexual allusion, and derogatory language bothers me. It actually helps find the world and its cultures into perspective. Literature stems from life experience and renders life in focus. Literature is supposed to intrigue if not to offend us. The genre for those delicate people who cannot even afford to be offended by a view different from theirs should peruse fairy tales.