He thinks rape is "soft pornography."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This is my response to Wesley Croggins -- the one that says that Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is "filthy" and can be considered as "soft pornography."

In the article he wrote, he says, "In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography." He says this because of the two rape scenes in the book. Also, he states, "This is unacceptable, considering that most of the school board members and administrators claim to be Christian. How can Christian men and women expose children to such immorality? Parents, it is time you get involved!"

--
I'm going to go on ahead and say I am Catholic. I was raised by a Catholic family, and even went to a Catholic school for more than 5 years. If I let my mother, my grandmother, and even my teachers read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, I highly doubt they will say it is immoral. Since when is a book trying to help out others who are in need with some horrible situations, immoral??

To me, the power of the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson is that it is a way to communicate to those who are affected, to those who can relate to the story and the characters. The novel speaks directly to them, letting them know they are not alone, and that they do not have to be afraid to open up. Without a doubt, Speak has touched a lot of lives; teens, parents, educators, and many others -- and taught them that it's okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to seek for help, it's okay to speak up. It gives hope, and it gives strength. That is the point of the novel, at least to me.

My message to Wesley Croggins is this:
You want to ban the book because you think it is inappropriate. And apparently, you see rape as "porn" now. I don't know where you got that, and how you came about to thinking that, but to me, that's just completely absurd. I don't think there are words to describe how unbelievably insensitive and outrageous -- not to mention out of line -- that comment is.
Also, you don't have to like the book. You don't even have to read it or recommend it to anyone else. But for you to judge it with a general and biased point of view, suggest to ban it because you think a certain way, is simply unfair. Besides, who do you think you are to tell others what they should or should not read?
When you wrote that article, were you really thinking? And I mean, really thinking. Did it ever occur to you that maybe rape victims and victims of abuse in general could have been helped by the novel? Did you think of those who are unable to say a word and speak up due to fear of people not believing in them? Did you think of them and how novels like Speak might have helped them get through such a tough time? Obviously not, because what you want is to take away something that might help others who might need them in the future.

I can not force you to think otherwise, but I hope you know many have been offended and hurt with those said comments, and I can only wish that next time, you would at least try to respect the issue, respect the people involved, and keep more of an open mind. At least that.

My message to adults, including parents and educators:
Yes, like the author of the hateful article said, do "get involved!" Read the book. See for yourself.

* Write a letter to the editor of Springfield's News-Leader

12 comments:

  1. Very well said, Jillian!
    I read the article just to see what everyone was talking about, and the things he said in there offended me as a Christian especially, cause it makes it appear like we're the ones with our pitchforks wanting to ban stuff, and that's not true! I went to a Christian high school and we read this book - I wonder what he'd have to say about that!
    Anyway, it's just all kinds of gross that he would call a book that deals with rape "porn." And his messages aren't helping anyone. He's not saying "hey parents, you have the right to protect the values of your children" he's saying "hey parents, demand that books be banned because they're BAD!"
    Shame, shame.

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  2. I was so upset when I read that article earlier today and I'm so glad that i'm seeing so many outraged posts against it.

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  3. Very well-said, Jillian! It's awesome seeing everyone getting together on this issue. Thanks for having the courage to speak out!

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  4. Fantastic post! I think this beautifully sums up what many of us would love to say to this man, among other things.

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  5. Well said. Rape is ony pornography if it is depicted as such, is gratuitous, or if someone thinks of it as such. What was this guy thinking?

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  6. Beautiful, important post, Jillian, and I agree with you, of course.

    We are a family with strong values, Catholic school students and teacher, and I have allowed my 12 then 13 year old to read all kinds of books. First I read it, then we discuss it, then she can go ahead if she wants. This allows her to learn about the world in a safe way, and helps us to discuss so many issues we might not otherwise come across. Only time will tell, but so far this has been right for us.

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  7. Amelia - It also offended me as a Catholic, and it just irks me that people can think that way!

    Sarah - I was so upset too I had to take my time to write this post and be careful not to be too angry or upset or anything.

    Natalie - It is such a heartwarming thing to see everyone get together about this; thank you for all your effort with this too!

    Liz - I agree. Your post was excellent.

    Tahlia - My thoughts exactly.

    Delynne - I think that is a great thing that you let her read anything she wants, under your guidance of course. It's important for kids to grow up feeling the "freedom" they want and deserve, while still getting the right amount of parental supervision. Kudos to you, and hope it does work out for years :)

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  8. +JMJ+

    I have yet to read both Speak nor Mr. Scroggins' letter. I'd like to read the novel before the letter, if possible . . . and given how many giveaways for Speak have been cropping up in response to the letter, I might get to do that sooner rather than later! LOL!

    When will would-be book banners learn that these kinds of things only blow up in their faces? =P This is turning out to be amazing publicity for Speak!

    As for the idea of banning in general, I'm not for it. I think parents have the most right to decide when their own children should read certain materials, and when these are still inappropriate. And even then, I think we all know that children can sneak what they want to sneak, anyway. I think I'd have to write a whole post just for my thoughts on this! But thanks for helping to keep the discussion going, Jillian! =)

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  9. E: I loved Speak, not because of its literary merit per se -- although it was excellent -- but because of its message and because it is advocating such a difficult issue for many victims of such abuse. I recommend you read it just for that reason.

    Slaughterhouse 5 was also one of the books this guy was trying to ban.. what an odd ball..

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