rick & 1j13
Thursday, January 02, 2003
I'm not necessarily into censorship...

... but I just censored my first book of the new year. There's a comic strip style story in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 Edition that just needed to come out. It's the story of two teens ("Bomb Scare" by Adrian Tomine), one a freshmen boy who has trouble being associated with divorce in his house and a relationship with a perceived homosexual, and a sophomore/junior girl who's discovered that she can get what she wants with sex and drinking and such, only to find that no one respects her. There's alot of "truth" in these stories, but as they intersect, it "ends" (these GenX stories don't have traditional endings, do they?) with the girl allowing the boy to see her body, and she seems to find some comfort in... something...

For me, it was exploitative, both of the protagonists' real emotions and growing pains, and of the genre itself. Why does everything have to be solved, or at least put on a path towards resolution or even just continued apathy, with sex and erotic affection? Anyway, since it's a comic with pictures - I might could've left it in & dealt with it later as prose - I cut those pages out. I want my kids, should they ever look through Daddy's library, to find books that give them alternatives with hope instead of hopelessness, with love instead of self-hate disguised as self-discovery. There are real answers, and they usually lead to more real questions - but are we solving anything if we stop asking and fall in line with the status quo?

Do I think I did the wrong thing? No. Why do I feel like I need to defend my actions? Because I don't want to come across as a bookburner and literary hypocrite. I appreciate the story, and its probably parallel in many many kids' experiences and memories from the past fifteen years. But there's no hope in it, and if anything, I want those around me to find hope in the midst of what's usually just crap.

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