Monday, January 5, 2009

Pete Constant meet Thomas Bowdler...

(This is an update on an issue that has more than a few Watch Dogs in quite a tizzy, including some 18th floor Watch least if the number of emails received on this issue is any here goes...)

Councilmember Pete Constant, meet New Rochelle (NY) school officials
. New Rochelle school officials, meet Councilmember Pete Constant.

You have something in are scared that if young people have access to information you think is "inappropriate" it will warp their brains...

School District officials at New Rochelle High School "bowdlerized" the book Girl Interrupted because it had some sexual content. Which is ironic, because part of the assignment for the high school English class was to compare and contrast the book version of the story and the film version. That would be hard to do without the full book. Oh, did I mention the District ripped pages out of the books? Teaching high school students about censorship and destruction of public property all at once – nice.

For those unfamiliar with "bowdlerize" -- here is what Wikipedia has to say (complete with British spelling):

Thomas Bowdler (11 July 1754 – 24 February 1825) was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work that he considered to be more appropriate for women and children than the original. He similarly edited Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His expurgation was the subject of some criticism and ridicule and, through the eponym bowdlerise (or bowdlerize), his name is now associated with censorship of literature, motion pictures and television programmes.

Damn that pornographic Shakespeare!

Does this sound familiar Watch Dogs? Councilmember Constant would like to "bowdlerize" the Internet in San Jose's public libraries -- based on his moral interpretation of
what is wrong and what is right for you to see.

Both Councilmember Constant and the New Rochelle school officials think they know what is best for you and your kids. And Constant is being pushed (
or pulled, depending on whom you talk to*) by right-wing, Larry Pegram -- which is scary, because I'm sure there are things (like this blog) that Constant and Pegram (and the New Rochelle school officials) don't want you to these, or this, or this, or this, or this...

Thanks Pete -- we'll stick to reading
what we want and you stick to reading what you want...

*According to a Metro article, Councilmember Pete Constant and former Councilmember/right wing/book banner Larry Pegram couldn't agree on whose idea it was to bring up Internet censorship in the City of San Jose. Apparently, they both want to take credit. Here's what the Metro story said: "Pegram says he went to Councilman Constant with his concerns and a proposal; however, Constant claims it was the other way around: He says he was working on porn filtering long before Pegram came to him."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you think either Constant or Pegram have ever read the notorious Shakespeare or Vonnegut or Bradbury or Angelou or Lewis or Sartre? (all of whom have been honored with the censored title)

Or, do you think they care that ideas and thoughts are best when argued about with thought and intent?