January 24, 2009


Apparently there's been a suggestion made that, now that we have a black president, our schools should stop teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. The reasoning, as also blockquoted by Joanne Jacobs, is:

Those books are old, and we’re ready for new.

David Foster, who has made me think and smile for five years, reminded us of something he wrote back in 2003.

As C S Lewis said: If you want to destroy an infantry unit, you cut it off from its neighboring units. If you want to destroy a generation, you cut it off from previous generations. (Approximate quote.)

How better to conduct such destruction than to tell people that previous generations were ignorant and that we have nothing to learn from them?

I recommend reading his whole blog entry, as well as the Stuart Buck link he provides.

In the comments at Jacobs' blog, someone said that To Kill a Mockingbird gets less relevant the older you get. I 100% disagree. I read it first as a high schooler and then again when I was engaged. I wept through many passages, over the kind of man and father Atticus Finch is. I am certain that if I read it again now, now that we are trying to have children of our own, it would seem even more poignant.

Dangit, I'm gonna do that. I'm adding it to my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:27 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 All old books must go. There are only three books anyone needs: the Qur'an, Dreams from My Father, and The Audacity of Hope. Everything else should be recycled so schoolchildren can get free copies of The New York Times. (Omerica needs to catch up with France!) The latter two books will boost the already incalculable power of the Obama Effect! And if students can't actually read, the indOctrinatOr, I mean, teacher can just tell the yOung piOneers Obama's incredible life story: Opiyo sired Obama, Obama sired Onyango, Onyango sired Barack, Barack sired Barack, and Barack became President of the United States of America ... Once he arrived in Manhattan knowing only one person, an illegal immigrant from Pakistan; failing to find him he spent the night sleeping in a Harlem alley, washing next morning at a fire hydrant. 25 years later he was the President of the United States ... Dreams from My Father is an autobiography written before the events. Its task is not to sanitize and rectify memories; its task is to help its author to reach a position where he can take the actions in the first place. Ohhhh, the actiOns! I get a thrill going up my leg just thinking about bOOndOggles! Don't worry, pOetry will also be part of the govschool curriculum. Who could forget airforcewife's immortal haiku?" Imagine millions of little girls saying that as they cuddle their free Sasha and Malia dolls? And boys too. We mustn't be sexist! Mind cOntrOl for all!

Posted by: kevin at January 24, 2009 02:59 PM (y3aIN)

2 Thanks for the nice words, Sarah!

Posted by: david foster at January 24, 2009 03:09 PM (ke+yX)

3 I first read To Kill A Mockingbird around the Fall of 1966 when I was in 8th grade. We spent considerable time examining the differences between how Calpurnia spoke at Atticus' house vs when she was at her church. The book is full of "teachable moments" that still need addressing today ... The Cunninghams Sr and Jr ... Mrs Dubose fighting her addition ... Atticus ... Heck Tate ... the Rabid Dog ... Mr Ewell (another rabid dog) ... the financial situation of the Depression where some people had to pay through means other than money ... and Boo Radley. So many things to talk about ... that are still worth talking about in our High Schools.

Posted by: The Thomas at January 24, 2009 04:38 PM (CMpbs)

4 To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. One of my very favorite movie scenes comes from the film version. Guess along with my firearms and ammo I need to pick up some copies of the classics? Cripes.

Posted by: Guard Wife at January 24, 2009 05:37 PM (IADCv)

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