So, you’re a parent of a 9th grader in Depew, NY, and you hear that the 11th graders in your school are reading a book. The parents of those children have to sign a release, because the book is “edgy.” If the parents don’t sign, their kids won’t have to read the book.

So you decide to read the book, even though it has nothing to do with your kid. And when you don’t like it, you try to prevent the older kids of those other parents from being allowed to read the book. That’s just how awesome a citizen you are!

John Green gives the details here:

John sums up what we all should try to remember about book banners: They aren’t trying to protect their children, they’re trying to protect someone else’s children. They aren’t wishing other people would make better choices, they’re trying to prevent every choice they disagree with. They know what everyone else should and shouldn’t read. And yet, overwhelmingly, their readings of the books they protest are flawed and simplistic.

Just remember: Book banners are not as smart, wise, or important as they think they are. And you’re much smarter, wiser, and able to deal with complexity than they think you are.

They are the junk mail of literary discourse.

Click here to see John’s post.

190 thoughts on “Alaska-Phobia

  1. I want to be Special! What with reading books all day and having all those Special qualities, I would be perfectly content. And the whole lesion thing is brilliant, but I think we should take it a step further. We should give everyone an entirely new body, one that is neither male nor female. No hair, no difference in skin color, features, height, nothing. Make them all EXACTLY the same. No difference. Then we can teach them the exact same things, so they are all equal. They won’t have any Random Bursts of Individual Thought (RBIT) and they can’t Discover Things On Their Own. (DTOTO) It will be perfect! No inequality, wars, or pain. It’s so great!

  2. But then i can’t have random outbursts of RANDOMNESS!!!!!!
    I don’t think i want to be special, being sane is a quality that I intend to keep, but I’m all for the reading all day and stuff like that.

  3. All that I have to say about John is that he is HILARIOUS.
    I subscibed to him on youtube.

    And i’ll have to check out that book.
    No book like that should be banned. So wrong. But the sad thing is that this should be a “duh” .

  4. K so i was watching this agian and when he says that teenagers actually can think critacaly it makes me happy.
    I just had to bring up some awareness of what my english class is doing.
    We are part of an experiment to see if each student should have a laptop in class. We have a class blog and all sorts of cool stuff. We’ve been reading this book called A Whole New Mind. It’s really boring but whatever. We’ve been bloging to all sorts of people around the world talking about how our class room differs and changes that need to be made and the fact that teenagers are not stupid. We can think to. It’s been really cool. We read banned books and stuff too.
    I just think it’s really wrong when people are restricted from what could be a really cool experience.

  5. Could people be more stupid! i swear it like we need to shove books down everyones throat so they digest the content and feelings that you are suppose to feel and experience while it the midst of such books and articles and so they realize the content that the author is trying to get the reader to grasp while realizing and reading the things that go on!!!!! Wow, try saying that without a breather.

    I hate it when a person can read whole book, however long it takes and you ask them “Hey, what was your favorite part?” and they give you something and it that is awfully wrong. bugs me. For example. No names. But here is a convo. with a certain someone…..

    “So, So-and-so, what was your favorite part of Twilight?”
    “I liked the part about the Vampires.”
    I arch brows in confusing manner and tilt head to show complication of understanding.
    “Uh, the whole book is about vampires.”
    “Well you know the middle part about them.”
    Squints eyes and puts hands on head. *Ow Migraine*
    “Oh, uh, ok.”
    “Oh come one! You know, the part where Edward is there and his brother is there too!”
    Still has hands on head and pops open Advil bottle.

    Ok so i may have lied on the part where i got a migraine and had to take Advil but you see my pain!!!!

  6. Just to make you feel better my favorite part of Twilight is when Bella has just foud out Edwards a vampire and she accepts that with no problem then freaks out when he starts doing 120 on the way home.

  7. ok so this has absolutly nothing at all to do with the post. but i need to rant. cuz today has been long. and this is just the cherry on top of a suckish day.

    ughhh. i’m frustrated. my tv remote isn’t working. (i have time warner cable with the dvr and stuff) and i traded in the remote i had for an even crapier one 🙁 see my mom told me that if i wanted a new remote she would go and get me one. (cuz they just got these really cool new ones in) and so i gave her my remote and a few buttons weren’t working but it was okay b/c most of them were. and so they ran out of the new ones and so i got an even worse one than what i started with. absolutly NONE of the buttons works. and it’s not the batteries b/c i just put in brand new ones. ugh. plus i desperatly don’t want to go to dance tonight. it snowed all day today but they didn’t cancel school but all the things going on tonight are canceled like conferences and stuff.

    okay. rantings over.

  8. That does make me feel better….

    Ranting can be ok sometimes. Sometimes you just got to dump you yucky load on someone. I hate yucky loads. there…..yucky.

  9. Of course! Ranting is like when you have little minor therapy sessions! there good! They help you let loose an let go! Its is scientifically proven that keeping in stress and anger is bad for you. What there saying in complicated form is, “People of the world. Rant, rant to all and everyone, so that your stress may be forgotten.” That reminds me of a prayer…….

  10. I can’t believe you were in Boston, Scott. According to your other post, you were. I live in Boston. I would have stalked you and finally gained up the courage to say “Um, are you, uh, like…Scott Westerfield-Sama?”
    YOU ROCKK. doesn’t work anymore though. Not just for me, for anyone. It does that annoying-making “404 error” thing. So someone click on my name and add meeee on myspace so I don’t die of having no other fans to talk to.

  11. yep. yep. i love ranting, it just makes me feel soooo much better.

    i might get a snow day tomorrow. cuz it’s still snowing and we have like 30mi/hr wind gusts. which creates blowing snow! *yay blowing snow!* b/c blowing snow means no school! and i was just texting my friend and her dad decides wether or not we have school or not and she says that he will probably call it later tonight! yay! and i ended up not having dance tonight. which was soooo very nice. well looks like things are turing around for me. now i’m gonna go watch House! 🙂

  12. yes. i would too.

    no school for me tomorrow!! 😀 😀 SNOWDAY! 😀 😀 school has been so stressful latly. you have no idea how happy i am right now! 😀

  13. Oh man, that was brilliant. “Do they head out to the pig farms to kill all the pigs because they’re about to become communist autocrats?” Oh, I nearly fell out of my chair on that one.

  14. Yeahh, i want to know when it’s out

    I bet it wont be out in england till nhext year, like everything else!!


    Am getting Extras on SAturday. And its half term. So nothing can interrupt me reading it xD


    And im finally getting my haircut. And buying costumes for my schools production of We Will Rock You. Its so much fun!

    Random info for you there. Also, no one answered me before..

    Who is this Hank guy he keeps mentioning??

    No offence, but i think the movie is gunna be really bad. I still wanna see it though xD

    Alisha-la xx

  15. Are most 7th graders suicidal?
    Cuz my friend is, like, cutting her arm (Specials flashback) and getting seriously suicidal and it is freaking me out.
    I’ve been having nightmares and ever since I found out about her arm I am constantly crying, shaking(I’m having trouble typing right now), and feeling like I am gonna barf.
    I’m freaked out.

  16. Really? Well in a way it shows that you care for your friend but it also shows your freaked out.

    OK Here is Bran-las Edition of like An Opera or Dr. Phill show:

    Ok, so if your friend is scaring you there are some obvious signs. Your shaking, your crying. Somethings up. Most likely its because you know her so well and your scared of what she might do to herself (or perhaps others but thats besides the point). If it really scares you that much you should talk to her! Tell her that you dont want her (ok im saying her but if its a guy, sorry, im just gonna use her though, feel free to knock of the ‘r’ when rereading to yourself) to do those things. The best way to get by it is just telling her the truth. Is ‘she’ gets mad or upset just tell ‘her’ that you dont mean it as an offence, you care. And that is what friends do.

    I use to want to be a therapist. Seriously. I’m use to this stuff.

  17. No offense Bran-la, but she told me that if I was that creeped out by it that I should just stop hanging around her.
    She doesn’t care about anything anymore (except the German band Tokio Hotel).
    She told me that she hated me.

  18. Sometims it is hard to let go. Trust me. I’m in one of your situations right now. I have two choices:

    I can deal with this so called ‘friend’ even though they may dot things that bother the crap out of me
    I can say “See you later” and try to stay away from them.

    As i realized, it maybe just easier to deal with your friends many flaws but as i have also came to realize (i realized this today infact!) that sometimes…… just go to let go! Every time i saw this person i said to myself how stupid it was for me to think of letting go but i have dealt with this for 2 years now! I cant take it anymore.

    So remember this saying:
    My life can be far from cool and fun or i can just run!

    Wow. That was lame. and i just made it up! but really, memorize that!

  19. no, Its’s fine. I had to rant about my situation today too! Well, both our days pretty much went down hill……

    Divorces are never the kids fault. I always feel bad for kids who think that.

  20. Oh, gosh Netta-la! Okay, I agree with Bran-la that sometimes you have to let go, but if your friend is really hurting themselves, they seriously need help. Maybe he/she is going through a rough time, and it seems like she’s pushing you away but sometimes sub consciously without actually knowing that they are doing it, when they are pushing you away, it’s a test to see if anyone truly cares about them. Because if they are really thinking in a suicidal manner then the littlest things can help soooooooo much, like making sure they know you’re there for them. If it goes any further, you should make sure that someone else knows, even if your friend thinks your a snitch, it would be better for their well being. And I totally understand why you would feel the way that you do, but try not to take it really personally that she/he said that they hated you, they’re probably just confused at this point in their life, but they need you more than ever. Okay, yeah I’m no Dr. Phil but that’s what I think.

  21. Ok, you guys are right. I was going to say this earlier but forgot.

    You dont have to tell a teacher cause no one does that but you should at least ask your parent how to support her or tell them your concerned. Theres nothig worse then letting no one no. It may seem childish and like your stabbing her in the back but in the long run it helps.

  22. Well, I’ve told my other friends and were all kinda freaked out so we asked one of my friends, who is particularly good at persuading people, to talk to her…
    but she has been avoiding us completely and we haven’t had a chance…so if she doesn’t stop I’ll tell my mom…
    Curse those ’emo’ cults
    Half of my friends have already crossed over to the dark side
    They’re all saying ‘it’s like cutting yourself with a cotton ball’ and then I have to go ask for a bathroom pass so that I don’t puke everywhere…

  23. I think you should tell your Mom as soon as possible, don’t wait until it’s too late. No offense, but cotton ball my @$$ it would not feel like that.(I would never say that word, i had to argue with myself to even write it like that)

  24. Then I would get grounded for telling her or something really weird like the time in 3rd grade when my friends told my other friend that she couldn’t play with us and I got mad and told my mom…I had to sit in time-out for 20 minutes to ‘think about what I had done’ (When you’re 8 that’s a long time!)

  25. lol. I see you let yourself win on that one Tally and Zane.

    And yes, COTTON BALL! Cutting yourself isn’t exactly unicorns and rainbows if you ask me. But i mean if they think it feels like cotton……..we may have to find a new definition for soft and cuddly and pleasing perhaps!

  26. lol!I suppose I did let myself win on that one. I better not do it again though, or else I might make a habit of it, cuz until very recently, say two days ago, I’d refrained from ever using the word crap out loud, but then I got really really angry and let down my guard and said it, and I’ve said it like a million times the past couple days, and so I am stopping now. I know it isn’t really bad at all, but it’s relative to the concept of other words that I dislike to use and if I let down my guard too much, I might slip and say something that I’ll regret. Yeah, I know I’m wierd.

  27. I have emo friends who cut (i hate it) and the cotton ball thing is a lie.
    I have a friend like yours but my friends and I have kept her from cutting and commiting suicide for 2 yrs now (since 7th grade). The most important thing to do is to be there for your friend and let her know that you care. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I kno thats lame but you can’t handle things this big by yourself.

  28. i have 1 friend who used to cut her self and she olny told me and for like 5 months she hasn’t cause i have like talked her out of it but just make sure ur there for them and make sure they no u care


  29. One of the challengers claims that children are foraging their parent’s names in order to read the book for class… but it seems to me that the book is readily available in their library and they could read it if they wanted. Sounds like a sad attempt to garner support from other parents.

    This video was hillarious to me as a librarian. I had to post it on my MySpace even though most people will not understand the humor. We passed it around the library system a few days ago and it had us all in stitches, and up in arms!

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