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John Green is not a pornographer

The awesome school district of Depew High School near Buffalo, New York plans to use the award-winning (and spectacularly awesome) novel, Looking for Alaska as part of an eleventh-grade high school class. Permission slips were sent home; kids/parents could opt out and read a different book.

Some folks from the community at large are trying to ban the book, and have called the book "pornography." As a former litigator, I can tell you that the standard for pornography is "an appeal to the prurient interest." I can also tell you that Alaska is described as a really hot chick, and so she's attractive. But the scene at issue in the book involves a mouth and a male sex organ, but it's awkward and uncomfortable (and vaguely funny), but not at all sexy/sexual/prurient. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything about the scene even vaguely arousing, and really, it's more the sort of thing that makes you uncomfortable should you find yourself participating in the act in real-life because part of your brain goes "Wow, that was really funny/awkward/uncomfortable" and it detracts from your ability to get into the act in question. But I digress.

Here's John's statement about the matter, which includes (at the end) some stuff you can do if, say, you live anywhere near Depew school district or you've taught the book or you want to send statements of support along to the excellent folks of Depew High School and their school district:

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
I didn't know you used to be a litigator! Learn something new everyday. Thanks for sticking up for J.G. =)
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this. I've been out of the loop since Brotherhood 2.0 ended. I had to laugh over the Waiting for Godot reference in relation to teens.
Feb. 1st, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Rah! Rah! Man, that rocked.

Thanks for the info.

Jules, 7-Imp
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
John Green A Pornographer?
I'm always getting up on my soapbox about the subject of more YA lit. in the classroom. I would love to see more students read LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Yes, people get uncomfortable that these teenagers drop f bombs, hook up, and drink beer. Here's the reality, plenty of teenagers do these things. Period. The "salacious" behavior is only part of what that emotionaly-wrenching, intellectually stimulating, and enlightening story is about! If you give teenagers books like this, many will be encouraged to read, and seek out more books like it!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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