Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Just random stuff

The bookshop I go to has a loyalty card scheme, every pound you spend you get 3 loyalty points. If you don't take a carrier bag, and use your own you get another 5 points. Some of the books even clock up double points. Another "perk" of this scheme is that you are given, or can take a free copy of their magazine. [Oh! and the points build up and you can take them as cash against a purchase.]
Anyway, I was reading the last magazine earlier on today, when I came across an article I found surprising. It was about a group that campaigns to have "bad books" removed from school libraries.

"Sadly, it's not aimed at teachers to dump ragged old tomes in the bin and buy new editions: the aim of their campaign is to root out subject matter they feel is 'sensitive, controversial and inappropriate'. " [Quote from Waterstones Quarterly Magazine, issue 31/2009]

After reading the article, I mentally added a few more that they would probably object to. But the real thing that bothered me is.........just WHO ploughs through the books...and finds the 'sensitive, controversial and inappropriate' subject matter. And after looking at the group's website I felt quite sorry for these people. As they must have pretty mucky minds. As they list the "rogue" passages on their website.
One other thought crossed my mind, would they rather their children experienced some of the situations first hand?
Then my mind did it's usually tangential thing, and thought of Alison Lurie, and how she has written at least one book on the subversive nature of children's literature.
As a parent you do wish to protect your children from harmful influences, but there is protecting, and then there is wrapping up in cotton wool.
Yes, the group I have talked about is American, which then tangentially leads me onto a question Blue asked me. She asked, in a nutshell, what it meant to be British, to me. And to consider aspects such as religion, politics, sexual preference, employment, education, etc.
I gave her a one word answer, and the word was FREEDOM. We have the freedom to vote as we see fit politically, worship in whatever fashion we want to, so long as we are "of age" sexual preference is not dictated, so long as it is between consenting adults, most jobs are open to people of both genders, education is there for all up to the age of 16, soon to be 17, rising to 18. Yes, we do have laws, but within those laws, and so long as you keep them, I would say that your average Brit is fairly free.

Oh!!!! yes, and one last point...being British means it is your patriotic duty to discuss the weather with total strangers. Can you think of a better way to start up a conversation with a total stranger?

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