By Irene F. Starkehaus -
Broadening our discussion from July 10, 2015 regarding the Left's assertion of contrived thought crimes, we continue with one of the Left's favorite denunciations of conservative minded people.
Censorship is actually one of my favorite accusations coming from the Left because of how easily the mere charge silences conservatives into submission, and how readily the Left produces that slanderous assertion to further its own depraved vision of a so-called inclusive American culture.
What is most fascinating about the Left's hackneyed characterization of conservatives as prissy book burners is how often the Left finds itself in the hegemonic position of censorship.
The American Library Association (which is a taxpayer-funded organization) as a for instance has an annual event called Banned Books Week in which it offers the list of Young Adult books that are kept out of school and community libraries across the country because of small minded, activist parents. There are even $1,000 and $2,500 grants being offered by the Freedom to Read Foundation which is funded by ALA members to promote events celebrating Banned Books Week.
We have many times discussed the brand of totalitarianism practiced by the American Library Association in its ironically exclusive protection of preferred books in defense of the First Amendment. We can note as per usual the books that the American Library Association promotes are utterly progressivist. In the 2015 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults promoted by taxpayer funded YALSA/ALA, conservative and traditional values are not represented.
We must then assume that no books of any literary value were written by conservatives in the year 2014, but conservatives know this is not true. In March of 2014, Rush Limbaugh had two books on the NYT Best Seller's list. The books are listed as appropriate for young readers 8 to 12 and YALSA defines a young reader as children 12 to 18. Where is Rush Limbaugh on YALSA's list of best fiction?
He's not there. Nor will he ever be there because YALSA has decided to place its political preferences over the literary needs of the children that it pretends to champion. Perhaps it's time for Limbaugh to apply for one of those Freedom to Read grants being offered by the ALA so a conservative voice can finally be heard.
Let us be clear. American libraries and school libraries use the YALSA recommendations to purchase new YA titles each year for their young readers. Through the ALA's omission, they have ensured that few students will be exposed to Limbaugh's world view of the American founding unless parents go out of their way to buy the books. No. I mean it. Go to your school library and see if the Rush Revere series is on its bookshelves. It certainly wasn't at my kids' schools because I asked them to check.
That's precisely the point. You cannot burn what was never on the shelves in the first place. The ALA promotes its own censorship of exclusivity by ignoring conservative writers and does so using your money.
It's not only modern conservative writers that are being silenced, mind you. Gone with the Wind is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Margaret Mitchell that was published in 1936. Many people over the age of 35 have seen the film of the same title starring Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable. Gone with the Wind won 19 Acadamy Awards including Best Actress for Vivian Leigh, Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel (who was the first person of color to ever win such a prestigious honor) and Best Picture.
Gone with the Wind as a film is an essential component for understanding not only a Southern perspective regarding the Civil War and Reconstruction but also the Great Depression/pre-WWII mindset of Americans. The movie additionally marks an ascendency of American film as a form of mass communication. This eventually evolves into the lopsided and hegemonic tool of propagandists who quickly recognized the importance of Hollywood as a means to achieving their culture war goals.
So yes, the film is essential. The book is equally earthshattering. Gone with the Wind the motion picture, as great as it was at the time, fails in one respect. That's in its inability to portray the complexity of the Scarlet O'Hara character. The reason for this is because her thoughts contradict her actions almost invariably. Scarlet is cunning and manipulative beyond measure from the opening chapter to the bitter end and rarely can the film capture the true essence of her depravity because it's part of her thought process.
To this end, Scarlet O'Hara becomes the feminist prototype for almost every popular female character that comes after her. She is unconventional. She is intelligent. She has few scruples and she thinks "like a man" in her business dealings.
Per the UK Guardian:
The New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick has called for Gone with the Wind, the 1939 multi-Oscar-winning epic, to no longer be screened in cinemas.
"If the Confederate flag is finally going to be consigned to museums as an ugly symbol of racism," writes Lumenick, "what about the beloved film offering the most iconic glimpse of that flag in American culture?"
The film, which is still the most lucrative of all time when figures are adjusted for inflation, screens on 4 July in New York's Museum of Modern Art as part of its centenary of Technicolor celebrations. "Maybe that's where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs," writes Lumenick.
I find that condemnation of Gone with the Wind on the basis of racism extraordinarily interesting. This week in theaters, mind you, your children ages 13 and up, can be treated to the film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl starring Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, and Ronald Cyler II. This makes the MSMs growing condemnation of Gone with the Wind the worst kind of hypocrisy.
Moviefone offers the following synopsis for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl:
Greg (Thomas Mann), is a high school senior who is trying to blend in anonymously, avoiding deeper relationships as a survival strategy for navigating the social minefield that is teenage life. He even describes his constant companion Earl (RJ Cyler), with whom he makes short film parodies of classic movies, as more of a 'co-worker' than a best friend. But when Greg's mom (Connie Britton) insists he spend time with Rachel (Olivia Cooke) a girl in his class who has just been diagnosed with cancer - he slowly discovers how worthwhile the true bonds of friendship can be.
The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronical and Rolling Stone all love this film.
Mick LaSalle of the Chronical:
"So this is a very worthy movie, not that this will hold any sway with illness-phobes, who'd rather stare at the wall for 105 minutes than see a good movie about sickness."
…not sure what an illness-phobe means in this context. I can't speak to the movie, but the book has so very little to do with a dying girl that one might wonder why she was included in the title.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone:
"This film geek's dream of a movie pulls the ground out from under you, but stays smartass to the end. Sweet."
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal:
This brilliantly funny, casually profound and deeply affecting coming-of-age chronicle, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon from a screenplay by Jesse Andrews, even manages to be life-enlightening—it's a fresh take on contemporary adolescence as a journey from ironic detachment to openhearted feeling.
Illinois Review posted a series back in 2013 and 2014 discussing the American Library Association, YALSA and the corruption of children through young adult literature – again this literature was deemed appropriate for children ages 12 to 18 by the American Library Association. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was one of the books on the 2013 list of Best Literature for Young Adults…a list paid for in part with your taxpayer dollars…and was reviewed by me as part of that series.
I encourage you to read the book that the ALA was applauding back in 2013 with the bland description:
Greg and Earl are forced to spend time with a classmate recently diagnosed with leukemia. Will their lives change for the better or just stay the same?
Sidenote - Kindle books can automatically be updated to reflect new content and new meaning, so how's that for the triumph of Orwell's Big Brother and the death of objectivism? You know what it says to me? Buy hardcopies whenever possible.
I will not be able to speak to any rewrites Me and Earl and the Dying Girl received because I won't be reading them. I've already killed too many brain cells reviewing the original.
The original book inundates the YA reader with obscenities ranging from misogynistic jokes to oral sex jokes to homophobic jokes to donkey genitalia jokes to drug jokes to the glorification of anti-religious bigotry.
But more to the point of this article, the book reflects deeply seeded racism in the form of extreme stereotypes, profoundly foul language and violent imagery. Quite frankly, it reminds me of the stranger-danger lessons we instill in our children when we tell them to never take candy from strangers. Way too often YA writers lure children into a metaphorical van with the brain candy of a hundred or so "f-bombs" and proceed to emotionally rape them with what amounts to soft porn. It has long been my opinion that YALSA aids that process with its recommendations to public and school libraries…before it sends you the bill.
Because of YALSA's recommendation, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl found its way onto school book shelves while books like the Rush Revere series frequently do not. Because of YALSA's recommendation, the book was made into a film. Both book and film are being heralded as artistic masterpieces.
Gone with the Wind, on the other hand, is too racist to be permitted viewing by adults because it features literary and film images of the Rebel Flag and slavery within the context of the Civil War. Both the film and the book must be wiped from our collective memories to eradicate any historical perspectives that don't gibe with Leftist heterodoxy.