Why is it that the radio edits Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” but does not edit the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up”? Compare:
“Making love in the green grass behind the stadium with you, my brown-eyed girl” is replaced with a repeat of “Slipping and sliding all along the waterfall with you, my brown-eyed girl.”
“You make a dead man come” is repeated at least twice.
I don’t favor censoring either, just marvel at the randomness of it. For another weird example of arbitrary censorship, see the extended entry or go to the article at the Athens Banner-Herald. It’s sad, because you can see the Barrow schools tried to be reasonable, but two–count them–two people fought and insisted their beliefs be applied in all classrooms in the county and now rape can’t be discussed in high school literature class. I love that the father implies he was okay with the students reading and discussing violence, but not rape.
Essay, class discussion banned
‘Lord of the Flies’ rape comparison angers parents
By Todd DeFeo | email@example.com | Story updated at 12:46 AM on Wednesday, April 19, 2006
WINDER – A pair of Apalachee High School parents successfully petitioned the Barrow County school board to ban an essay and classroom discussion that compares the killing of a pig in the novel “Lord of the Flies” to rape.
Early this year, students at Barrow County’s Apalachee High School spent about an hour and a half of an honors literature class discussing an essay, written by author E.L. Epstein, that is included in the book edition they use in the class.
“It’s not the curriculum itself, it’s the classroom discussion,” parent Jeff Smith said. “To make sure this doesn’t happen again, we think that commentary should be pulled.”
The essay doesn’t mention rape, but says “the killing of the sow is accomplished in terms of sexual intercourse.”
“Lord of the Flies,” written by William Golding and published in 1954, chronicles a group of English school kids marooned on a desert island after their plane crashed. The book is widely studied in high schools, but in Barrow County, the essay in question is apparently only studied in the one honors literature class at Apalachee High School.
At a special-called meeting Tuesday, the school board voted to use an edition of the book without any commentary and also form a 13-member committee – with administrators, parents, students and teachers – to draft a policy ensuring that only age-appropriate discussion occurs in public school classrooms.
“I think it’s definitely in the right direction,” said Smith, who was accompanied by his wife, Jenny, and two other parents – Ed and Kelli Jacobs.
“They realize something needs to be done,” Smith added. “They’ve taken a step to do that. At least they’re moving toward something. At least they didn’t sit back and say nothing.”
Ed Jacobs likewise took a wait-and-see approach.
“We’ll see what happens with this committee,” he said after the meeting.
School officials still are assessing whether to tear the essays from existing editions of the books or purchase new copies of “Lord of the Flies.” It is not clear how much in taxpayers’ money it will cost to buy new books.
The parents first approached Apalachee High School officials to discuss the matter. But a curriculum committee at the high school voted not to remove the material, prompting the parents to take the complaint to the next level, the school district.
The district’s media committee met March 6 and considered three options – continue using the book with Epstein’s essay, use the essay but allow students to read an alternate novel and not participate in the classroom discussion of “Lord of the Flies” or use an edition of “Lord of the Flies” without Epstein’s essay.
Of the 15 committee members, 14 voted in favor of allowing students to read an alternate novel and not participate in the classroom discussion of “Lord of the Flies.” As part of that option, the teacher also will warn parents about the “sensitive” discussion.
But a warning doesn’t satisfy Smith.
“We didn’t feel that was a sufficient answer to it, either,” said Smith, adding a warning might not alert parents to the true nature of the discussion.
“I would think, ‘It’s a violent book, it’s about violence,’ ” said Smith, who served on the county’s school board for four years in the mid-1990s. “I would have never thought they would discuss rape.”
“Lord of the Flies” has been part of the school system’s curriculum for years, and few, if any, parents have complained, Barrow County Schools Superintendent Ron Saunders said.
“This is the first one on ‘Lord of the Flies’ that I know of,” Saunders said.
While the book is widely used in the school system, the Epstein essay is not.
“A lot of our teachers have chosen not to use it because they felt it was college-level,” Saunders said of the essay. “You have to be focused when you read it to understand what he’s trying to say.”
Smith said he wants to help future students.
“We can’t do anything about what was done to our daughter,” Smith said. “We can try to do something about the other kids coming up that we don’t want to see put through the same thing.”