Saturday, August 6, 2011

Steve Almond on the Banning of "Slaughter-House Five"

Vonnegut banned: Will we ever stop to think? (Indianapolis Star, 8/6/2011)

ExcerptAs we've seen over the past few weeks, our country was pushed to the brink of default by a faction of radical lawmakers who didn't seem to even understand what the debt ceiling is: a financial obligation to pay our outstanding bills, not permission to spend more.

The fanaticism of the extreme right in this country is rooted in a kind of childish denial that Vonnegut spent his career lamenting.

It's a mindset that says, essentially: If we ignore the horrors of war, war will become heroic. If we ignore our scientists, the planet will stop warming. If we ignore the suffering of the poor and sick, they will disappear. And yes, if we ban books, our innocent little children will never be exposed to sex or swear words.

After all, the Internet -- where children spend so much of their lives -- has almost no corrupting material, right?

It's fruitless to attempt to educate people like Wesley Scroggins. They already know everything they'll ever know. But it's vital that their voices not drown out the voices of reason in our communities. The world is too dangerous and complex for immature thinking.

I hope a few brave, compassionate citizens will be compelled by the banning of "Slaughter-House Five" to run for school board in Republic. Now more than ever, the kids could use your help

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