Thursday, May 29, 2008

Banned Books meme

Stolen from Fetch Me My Axe

How it works: these are the 110 top banned books. Bold what you’ve read, italicize what you’ve read part of. Read more.

#1 The Bible
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights

#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
#16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin

#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce

#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
#29 Candide by Voltaire
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#31 Analects by Confucius

#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
#36 Capital by Karl Marx
#37 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#39 Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding

#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys
#48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
#60 Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
#69 The Talmud
#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
#75 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck

#78 Popol Vuh
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
#80 Satyricon by Petronius
#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
#85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
#98 Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

#102 Émile by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#103 Nana by Émile Zola
#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Over at belle's people are challenging the reasoning behind the list. So I checked with the America Library Association. Sure enough, their list of the 100 most frequently challenged books differs. So here's my take on their list:

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Knocked my socks off

When was the last time a book knocked your socks off? For me: today.

I picked up a new book from Seven Stories Press called Live Through This; On Creativity and Self-Destruction edited by Sabrina Chapadjiev and the first two essays kicked major butt.

"Long, Long Thoughts" by Carol Queen is an awesome account of the amazing disappointment that comes from the loss of virginity after all the build up. But includes this awesome response:

"...Good thing I got back on the horse. Every time I had sex after that I learned something new, not just about myself but about other people."

This is my first time reading Queen. I wish I had been as smart as she was. She totally rocks.

The second essay is by Daphne Gottlieb and it deals with the question: should I treat my depression if it might affect my creativity? She talks about how we choose our compromises. I really like this:

As therapeutic as it may be, barfing raw feelings onto the page doesn't make for great art either. Usually, when we're depressed, we're not at our best. ... These aren't great conditions to drive a car in, much less create art."

Cool book. I bought it at Mayday Books. I'm savoring it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Luverne, Minnesota

Last weekend, three friends and I went to Luverne, Minnesota, in the southwestern corner of the state to attend the memorial service of a friend.

nobles rock - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

I had never been in that part of the state before. There farmland stretches as far as the eye can see and the landscape is flat or gently sloping. The earth is that Minnesota variety that looks almost black and is full of nutrients.

MinnesotaSoil2 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

This was originally prairie land. The wind is awesome and a great place for the huge, odd newer windmill farms.

PrairieCoteauMN full - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

We went to Blue Mounds State Park, a huge stone cliff that rises 100 feet up from the flat plains. The entire cliff is two-thirds grass and one third rock, Sioux quartz, that is very colorful: red, blue and purple. From Eagle Rock you can see South Dakota and Iowa.

Eagle rock - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

It is also the site of the only cactus native to Minnesota; a rather intimidating being that was not in bloom yet, but whose spikes were impressive.

Cactus - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

It was a good place to say goodbye to a friend whose battle with cancer was long, miserable and heartbreaking. He is free now from all this. Flying with the birds he loved.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Checking in

Back from a weekend in extreme southwestern Minnesota to attend a memorial service for a friend who lost his battle with cancer in December. We joined together to say a respectful goodbye and to place his ashes in one of his favorite spots.

It was an amazing experience and, as always, it reminds me to treasure life and the wonderful people I've come to love.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latest fliers

08 05 15 08 Iraq - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

National Assembly - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

NatAsmblySpanish - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Thoughts about being an ally

This is my contribution to The Carnival of Alllies challenge by Angry Black Woman.

Let's face the facts. The odds are that at some point in each white person's life, we are going to say or do something racist.

The system has been deliberately skewed in that direction. If we realize this and understand the way the system is set up, then we should be pretty damn amazed that we aren't all racist asshats engaging in despicable behavior every single day. Everything in our system has been set up for hundreds of years to get us to believe those lies.

Sure, we've had a couple of decades in which anti-racist ideas have gained popularity. We had the benefit of our parents and grandparents taking to the streets to change the world and suggest a new way is possible. But how can that compare to 500 years of violence against Native Americans and 400 years of slavery for blacks and Asians?

This is something a lot of us white people do not truly understand. We've only come baby steps in the process of creating a world where all races are acknowledged and respected. It's feels like a huge step for us because we've had to give up a bit of privilege to get this far. But it's not enough. Our training in racism and in discounting people of color is that good, that ingrained, that "normal.'

One document that made this training crystal clear to me is Joan Olsson's Detour-Spotting for White Anti-Racists (PDF link). Olsson did us a huge favor by pointing out the behaviors we white people have been taught to use when we talk about race. She says:

Our generous child wisdom told us racism was wrong, but there was no escaping the daily racist
catechism. We resisted the lies, the deceit and the injustice of racism, but we did not have the skills to
counter the poisonous messages.

We've been filled with poison and we need to take steps to root it out. Olsson describes 18 behaviors that are typical responses from white people when they encounter accusations of racism. That was in 1997 and it is a wonderful list. But I think we've grown beyond that list a bit and we've learned new ways to detour the discussions we need to have in order to make this world a less racist place. I'm suggesting additions to Olsson's list based on recent events in the blogosphere.

Detour 19: Pay attention only to the most outrageous complaint and pretend it represents the entire argument..

Let's say I talk about the mortgage crisis and I post a cartoon showing an evil banker. He's wearing a yarmulke and has a long, hooked nose and his name is Cohen. I start getting comments about it:

Comment A: "I'm not sure you are aware of this, but images of predatory bankers with long, hooked noses is a common stereotype against the Jewish people."

Comment B: "Yeah, that image is disturbing. Could you replace it with something less racially charged?"

Now here's where the detour comes in. I say nothing to these comments. I sit back and wait. And then finally, my patience is rewarded: Comment P: "You are a fucking Nazi!" Now comes my chance to step in, and I post: "I've been accused of being a Nazi. Until that accusation is removed, there is nothing more to be discuss."

This is the tactic Amanda Marcotte chose in recent discussions of appropriation. She claims someone accused her of plagiarism and that's all she wanted to discuss. If it's true that one person accused her of plagiarism, then why didn't she take it up with that one person? Why did she not link to that person's blog post and demand a response from that person? Instead, she and her backers pretended that the accusation of plagiarism was the one vital issue and that nothing else mattered. They claimed that every other complaint was based on the one, easily dismissable accusation, and therefore should not be allowed into evidence, as they seem to say every 25 minutes into the show "Law and Order".

It's a detour and it was effective for many of Amanda's supporters. It was also dishonest and allowed her to pretend to address the subject while ignoring the argument altogether.

Detour 20: "I'm too powerless to be a racist."

Let's say I write a post about the bookstore where I volunteer and I claim that we don't carry books by Arab feminists because they are all silenced by Muslim fundamentalists. I start getting responses: Comment A: "Nawal al-Sadawi's novels are easily available from most major distributors." Comment B: "I found Etel Adnan's novels at my local Barnes & Noble."

My response: "Hey, I'm not Wal-mart. Quit picking on me. I work 20 hours a day in an industry I love and I'm doing the best I can. Go after the big box booksellers if you want to complain."

This was the choice that Seal Press made when they interrupted a discussion on Black Amazon's blog. But it's also a comment I see on a lot of radical feminist sites. A group of radical feminists decide to gang up on someone who doesn't meet their standards of feminism and when people complain about their behavior they say, "Hey, I'm powerless. I can't make you do anything at all. The patriarchy has all the power."

In both cases, the behavior is wrong and continues the dominant paradigm, but we white people who aren't rich and male think we should be excused for these behaviors because we don't have the power to enforce our demands.

Detour 21: "I can't be racist because I have saved the lives of 753 women of color personally." This is pretty self-explanatory. I post something racist on my blog and when called on it I claim that I have personally engaged in some enormous number of anti-racist behaviors. For anyone who took elementary logic, this falls apart completely when examined. Doing a bunch of good things does not make it impossible for me to engage in one bad thing.

This point is very important. It is what makes racism so powerful. I can decide not to use it for several years, but it's always there just in case I decide one day to take it back up again and use it to my benefit. I know that. People of color know that.

Detour 22: "Let me interrupt this discussion by objecting to your anger at all white people."

I may need help in better describing this remark. It is prompted by a post by a white female blogger to a woman of color who said "When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted."

I believe Tobes is in error for highlighting that particular logic at this particular time. It would be like attending the funeral of a woman who died of lung cancer after smoking for 20 years and saying, "Smoking is bad! Don't you get it? You smoke, you die!"

Yes, of course, smoking is bad, but is this the appropriate time and place to bring this up? By concentrating on the "smoking is bad" argument, you are side-tracking the fact that a valued an important friend has died a miserable death.

Yes, judging a person entirely by her race is not particularly logical or fair. But if women of color are constantly assaulted by racist behavior on the part of white feminists, then they have the right and the duty to point it out, especially to each other.


In closing, I want to point out that Ilyka Damen said many of the same things in a different format at her blog, Off Our Pedestals, whose hiatus, I hope, will be momentary rather than permanent.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Librarians Rock

After seeing "Hearts and Minds" last night I remembered where I was at 33 years ago. I was working as a typesetter, keyliner for the Post, the student newspaper at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. We worked on IBM selectric composers typing onto a thick clay-backed paper that was then pasted down on keyline boards with rubber cement. It was ridiculously tedious work and required a special skill with an Xacto knife. In addition, we were all full-time students working until all hours of the night to get a daily paper out.

When we received Van Es's iconographic photo over the AP wire, we knew we wanted to use it for an editorial. I remember spending hours cutting and pasting individual lines of type to get the story to wrap around the image. This is, of course, incredibly easy to do these days. Back then, I had to output entire columns of type in each of the different line lengths and then cut one from each column size and paste them into place. It was a weird way to be spending the night that meant so much to so many of us.

Around midnight last night, I found that OU student newspapers are archived and available at Alden Library at Ohio University. They have an "ask a librarian" page and I e-mailed. This image arrived in my e-mail tonight. Unbelievable. Thanks are due to Mike, the librarian who said they don't usually do this sort of thing but he decided to make an exception.

Sai gone - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Oddly enough, I'm still a typesetter, and the guy who wrote the article, who was the second love of my life, is still writing about television. Here's the blog of John Kiesewetter from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Marching in St. Paul for immigrant rights

We attended a wonderful march today in St. Paul to demand immigrants rights. The weather was warm, the skies were grey, and the people were pumped up. I used my clicker to count 620 people on the march, and more met us when we arrived at the capitol. We spent part of the march hanging in a group of young anarchists who had a number of great chants:

"E! Anti! Anti-Capitalismo!"

"No Raids! No Borders! Smash Social Orders!"

St Paul march for immigrants rights - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Three Images from the StarTribune by Elizabeth Flores

Mayday st paul 2008 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
May Day St Paul 2008 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
Mayday St. Paul 2008 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

From Minnesota Public Radio

Hundreds rally for immigration rights

by Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio

May 1, 2008

St. Paul, Minn. — Hundreds of immigrant rights supporters held a rally and march at the Capitol today in honor of International Workers' Day.

The marchers are calling on Gov. Pawlenty to stop the deportation of immigrant workers, regardless of their citizenship status.

They also demand immediate federal action on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Erika Zurawski is a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition.

"We planned the march in the middle of the day, knowing there are a lot of working people out there that are taking a very big risk to come to the march. But we wanted to celebrate international workers day the right way," said Zurawski.

Pawlenty issued a statement today criticizing the DFL-controlled Legislature for failing to enact his immigration proposals.

In January, Pawlenty announced executive actions requiring state employees, contractors doing business with the state and recipients of state grants to electronically verify employment eligibility.

The governor also proposed a measure that would allow police to inquire about immigration status, and enhanced penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.