20 Comments
Oct 4, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I had a lot typed here, but realized that I don’t know anything, so I deleted it. Twice. Learning about ideas and viewpoints is good. Needless exposure to explicit material is not.

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Oct 4, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I’m really perplexed by the idea that a school not providing a particular book equates to a ban. I read Youth in Revolt as a senior in high school. I bought the book myself and read it at lunch time. I read particularly raunchy parts out loud to friends between rounds at debate tournaments. But it would be pretty ballsy to demand that the school library carry the book. Not funding access to certain material is not the same as banning it. We’ve got to to keep that distinction clear and have a proactive discussion about what schools are supposed to provide to the community and that the answer to that is ultimately going to be different in different communities, and that’s ok.

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Yep. Very sad. We’ve seen the progressive left shift over the past decade from believing in democracy to becoming arbiters of censorship. It’s amazing how much tap-dancing people on the New Left will do to rationalize creating an illiberal, censorious environment. This latest iteration of banning startled culturally on the left circa 2013. Very few lefties said a word about cancellations, de-platforming authors, books being pulled, etc. Then far-right extremists start doing it legally (also bad) and suddenly the left is outraged. I don’t care what side it comes from: it’s anti-American. Art has always been offensive and transgressive. Writers don’t write to be safe; we write to explode society’s assumptions. People are *supposed* to get “triggered.” (By the way I really loathe New Age Millennial Woke language like “problematic” and “trigger.” Can’t people see how this makes a whole generation sound like toddlers?)

Hypocrisy.

Here’s my piece on book banning on both sides.

https://michaelmohr.substack.com/p/book-banning-happens-on-both-sides

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Oct 5, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

So much helpful, thoughtful ideas here.

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Oct 5, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I don't think it's accurate to describe "a school board’s decision to remove To Kill a Mockingbird from eighth grade curriculums" as "banning" the book. Only a small number of books are included in the curriculum; all the rest are not "banned," simply not selected. Did the school board forbid students to read the book, or to bring the book onto school property? If not, the book has not been banned, and I think it's misleading to call this "censorship."

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Thanks as always for a thoughtful discussion. It’s something I’ve wrestled with so much as a parent (in theory at the moment-my oldest is 3 haha) the balance between guiding my children to read books that are developmentally appropriate, and helping to form them as people of character, but also not wanting to shield them from things that are uncomfortable or controversial. I think a lot of issues would also be solved if parents just focused on curating their home libraries and having honest conversations with their kids about what they read/bring home rather than going straight to the school board. I read books in high school and college (both for school and out of my choice) that contradicted moral and theological truths my parents sought to instill in me. But I found my faith and beliefs were ultimately stronger for honestly confronting objections to them and wrestling with what that meant. But it’s a tough tough issue. Especially on the side of sexual ethics and content, I think there’s much more gray area to be figured

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