Judy Blume for Banned Books Week: “Children are the real losers”

23 09 2011

. . .when anyone tries to control what they can read, and know, and ask and talk about. Are you ready to read a banned book tomorrow to help kick off the 30th anniversary of the ALA’s Banned Books Week? We sure are!

See other author and book-champion videos on the dedicated Banned Books Week youtube channel. Play with the interactive “censorship” map of the US here. (Show your kids it’s not just YOUR backward town or state! It’s everywhere!)

Snook posts for Banned Books Week every year — this makes six because the blog started just in time for the 2006 celebration, which was the silver anniversary. Last year’s posts are here: Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same and If I Had a Robot, Would I Hammer in the Morning?

And there are lots of book-burning related posts through the years, most notoriously this and maybe this from 9/11 last year:

On this notorious day as Americans remember, reconstruct and reject both the best and worst of our national identity all at once — because whatever else we the people may be, we’re never easy! — the images of hate in my mind aren’t of burning towers but burning books, burning flags, burning bigotry and yes, burning flesh.

See a more comprehensive collection of links to explore here: Ideas Are Incombustible! (that means you can’t burn ’em up no matter how big your bonfire.)

But I think the most fun we had discussing Banned Books Week probably was in 2007:

. . . a Maine woman and an Alabama granny-girl combo using the eerily similar publicity stunt of kidnapping a book that shocks them and holding it hostage, supposedly so no one else can ever read it.

LOL – Southern ladies used to be so much more clever with their public manners, to solve such problems with devastating yet impeccably polite little social gambits.

If I were the shocked Granny, I might’ve Read the rest of this entry »





A Musical Theatre Unschooler’s Ode to Last Harry Potter Premiere

14 07 2011

I woke up this morning to discover — posted as a new note on his FaceBook page — what Young Son had been up to all night. Talk about flow! 🙂

As far as his mother knows, this is the first song parody he’s even tried to write, so it just astounds me.

He’s still asleep so for now I can only speculate how it came about. (When I checked just now, one of his Jim Dale-performed Harry Potter audiobooks was playing, as it has all night every night since he started putting together a premiere character costume and pre-purchased his ticket for tomorrow.)

He’s studying French with a private tutor, yet I wonder whether he noticed his parody particularly fits today as Bastille Day, set as it is to music from a French musical, his all-time favorite, Les Miserables.

For my part, I never imagined much less planned for Bastille Day to figure into our unschooling musically or any other way, even though it already has done, for both of them.

Young Son and Les Miserables power of story

Harry Potter power of story

You’ll appreciate this much more if you have the soaring Les Mis lyrics and rhythms in your head, which doubtless aren’t QUITE as deeply bred into everyone as in my house:

Okay? Did you play the video? Do you have a goose-bump or two? Then here we go, exactly as he wrote and posted it! [hush falls over the audience]

“Ode to the Harry Potter premiere”
by Young Son Ross on Thursday, July 14, 2011

(To the tune of “1 day more” from Les Miserables)

‎FAN #1: One day more, another day another costume piece, in this never ending wait to the release. The fans all seem to know it’s time, to buy tickets is not a crime, one day more.

FAN #2: I will not live until that day, the day when it all ends forever

Read the rest of this entry »





Harry Potter: We Better Believe It’s Real

19 11 2010

Is the new Harry Potter movie life imitating art?

Do you need to know who said this, about whom, when and where, to believe it?

The world is a dangerous place. It has never been more so, or more complicated, more straining of the reasoning powers of those with actual genius and true judgment.

. . .The era we face, that is soon upon us, will require a great deal from our leaders. They had better be sturdy. They will have to be gifted. There will be many who cannot, and should not, make the cut. Now is the time to look for those who can. . .

It’s not a time to be frivolous, or to feel the temptation of resentment, or the temptation of thinking next year will be more or less like last year, and the assumptions of our childhoods will more or less reign in our future. It won’t be that way.

We are going to need the best.

(It was Rita Skeeter’s real-world counterpart, in Rupert World’s Wall Street Journal.)

No need for a night at the movies, to experience a war-riven world without real grown-ups, this “bleak, perilous grown-up world that tests the independence [we] have struggled to obtain” in an “especially somber and scary coloration.”

Childish things have been put away — this time there is no quidditch, no school uniforms, no schoolboy crushes or classroom pranks — and adult supervision has all but vanished. . . . Harry and his companions must rely . . . above all, on one another.

. . . Hermione for her part, seems lonelier than ever. She has broken entirely with her Muggle parents, expunging herself from their memories to prevent them from being caught up in an increasingly vicious intrawizard civil war. . . .

Time to put away childish things including the fiction that school is preparation for real life, instead of Dark Art in itself. Time for serious leaders to do serious work in serious ways.

Small screen queens billed as real moms tweeting and dancing like bears animated by corporate control set up to seem like America’s “votes” are really dangerous only if we believe it’s real. Harry Potter is dangerous only if we don’t..

Watch tv and see the new movie, or not, but get the picture.

And then act, for real.





Power of Story Can Change the World

18 11 2010

Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has done.

We need to sing our epics or lose them. For any nation in any age including here and now, the ultimate war is over competing narratives, conflicting power of story.

Oh sure, the usual ancient stories and myths of course — and here we go fighting about the meaning of Christmas again — but wasn’t the world-changing power of old religious stories most potent in their own real-world time? We don’t call “currency” that for nothing. What are world-changing power of story stories with currency in our time, in this world?

MisEducation humbly suggests she herself may be the first — of whom she in her cloistered library is aware!– to ponder The World of Potter for real school themes rather than Sunday School themes.

. . .I think Rowling’s genius is to see humans as carrying both hope and fear, both good and evil, to see us as magnificent, and animals, and facing new threats of extinction — to realize our ancient songs and stories need to be understood in progressively evolving ways, for anyone to win anything worth living or dying for.

. . . we love movies about learning to define yourself and your own creative power in the world, instead of any organized institution (church or school) conspiring with society to standardize and subjugate individuals, the better to keep them under control . .

Stories like Avatar and the Harry Potter series might seem like unlikely starting points for civic engagement, but they speak a global language, and they stir something in people.

Did you ever wish that Harry Potter was real? Well, it kind of is.

Just as Dumbledore’s Army wakes the world up to Voldemort’s return, works for equal rights of house elves and werewolves, and empowers its members, we:

* Work with partner NGOs in alerting the world to the dangers of global warming, poverty, and genocide.

* Work with our partners for equal rights regardless of race, gender, and sexuality.

* Encourage our members to hone the magic of their creativity in endeavoring to make the world a better place.

Join our army to make the world a safer, more magical place, and let your voice be heard!

Remember whatever your personal world and worldview:

. . .the whole purpose of “education” anywhere, is more and forward and freedom, not less and backward in a box. . .





“The Exorcist” Re-released to a Catholic Church Near You!

13 11 2010

Exorcism of our demons was not the hope and change America was expecting perhaps, but the Catholic Church is its own State even in America and it’s got time-tested solutions for people from all over, whose beliefs are all over.

(Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, will that be next?)





Dream or Nightmare? Is Nothing Left of What’s Right on Left or Right?

7 11 2010

Maher went on to poke holes in Jon’s arguments, saying “Martin Luther King spoke on that Mall in the capital and he didn’t say, ‘Remember folks, those southern sheriffs with the fire hoses and the German shepherds, they have a point too.’

No, he said I have a dream, they have a nightmare…Liberals, like the ones on that field, must stand up and be counted and not pretend that we’re as mean, or greedy, or short-sighted or just plain bat-shit as they are.

And if that’s too polarizing for you, and you still wanna reach across the aisle…try church.”





What’s in the Name Lucifer — Nothing Good

23 09 2010

I learned something interesting today. I don’t worship Lucifer! Whew.

Nance doesn’t either btw, however much she may enjoy pretending or however often she’s accused of same. (Wanna know how I know? Glad you asked!)

Jerome Corsi wants the President of the United States to renounce Lucifer. So I went a-reading in Google Scholar.

This Baptist reverend doctor’s pdf on Lucifer for the UK Bible Society persuades me that Nance and I and the President too, renounce Lucifer every time we manage to do good for someone else rather than merely doing well for ourselves.

The good reverend doctor describes “Lucifer” as nothing more supernaturally evil than the absence of good:

Humans are now imprisoned within a power of darkness of their own making, but beyond their control. It takes actual form in a variety of unpredictable ways: in distortions of people’s mental and spiritual health, in the fracturing of their inner selves, in their imprisonment within addictions and compulsions, in the breakdown of wholesome relations, in institutional systems of power and domination, in the inequities between nations, in dehumanising ideologies and false religion.

The symptoms don’t fit the President. Corsi and his distorted, fractured, dehumanizing and falsely religious ilk OTOH, really might need to be asked whether they’re willing to renounce “the absence of good” in their own lives . . .

I once beat around Lucifer’s bush burning on John McCain’s porch: Read the rest of this entry »





Buying In and Getting Sold Out by Church, State, Corporate Marketing

18 09 2010

Today seemed a good time to replay this comment from a discussion about how we buy into Rules and Authority, and get sold out in the process:

Well, I for one appreciate the connection Nance and Son are making for me, between Church marketing (evangelism), movie marketing (we’ll never forget that Jaws poster and musical theme), product marketing (tv commercials) and R- party marketing (politics.)

And don’t forget that wicked university credit card marketing scheme, so slyly using sports team branding and the trust we all help instill in our kids for school, and especially higher education, as intellectually worthy of them — yes, I’m still hot about that!

So the common theme — thanks for playing, Jim! — connecting all of these, is how vital a part of real education it is, that we educate our kids about their own human thinking and how it works, so they can see through such amygdala-driven seductions and indentures. Nance and Son give me hope in REAL education and enlightenment, the kind that helps kids think critically no matter which Humbug Oz-Head is behind the curtain, belching smoke in their eyes until Fear and Longing can deliver them up as supplicants before the Foreign Altar . . .
(Talk about scary movies! That was my own first total surrender to movie manipulation, when I was about four.)





Which Vulnerability Do You Feel Most Keenly?

9 09 2010

“This is a battle over which vulnerability you feel more keenly,” he said.

Yikes, these words could apply to SO many aspects of current American life! Talk about Power of Story. Everything all at the same time even. Maybe challenge yourself and guess which, before you click through to see.

Have you stopped to really sort out which vulnerability YOU feel most keenly these days, and how that feeling is affecting your thinking? (I do this a lot because it keeps changing, hmmm. . .)





Science Can Answer Moral Questions: Sam Harris at TED

12 05 2010




Political Power of Story in Smacking, Hitting, Punching

28 12 2009

UPDATE August 4, 2010 at Meming of Life

************
Matalin to Palin: Quit Bitching, That’s Just How The GOP Treats Its Women

If someone isn’t in tears every day, that day wasn’t all it could be advancing the campaign. I once witnessed an experienced (big) man slap a professional female colleague across the face over an ad buy… and no one thought anything of it, starting with the woman. In fact, she would have been insulted if anyone told her she should have been insulted.

. . .the reason the modern GOP mindset is broadly accepting of the physical brutality Matalin shrugs off so easily, is the work of child psychologist / reactionary Christian leader James Dobson. Nearly forty years of Dobson’s abusive child-rearing strategies have produced a modern far right wing filled with smacking, punching authoritarians who learned from childhood that might alone makes right.

Legitimizing this mindset depends on enablers like Matalin, who extend the aura of civil acceptability toward violence against women and co-workers. When this violence persists, we should remember who “thinks anything about it” and who does not.

Snooking on smacking as effective:
Can you go all day without hitting a child?:

Can anyone really deny that we are perpetuating and endorsing the lesson of “might makes right” when we rule over our children using physical punishment?

Stop every kid-hitter you can — teach ’em a lesson!

Thinking about hitting and children

Child abuse is not home education:

Spankings were a minor part of the allegations. Hitting with objects and . . .in anger, yes, but there is much more to this
story than that. . .

Fear of fashion and it’s not even a man-purse!

[S]chool policy doesn’t have to be about religion–much less Christmas–to be soulless . . .
Sooner or later, unthinking policy at school or home–from labeling children to make them tolerant of differences, to hitting children to make them stop hitting, to clipping their wings to teach them to fly–achieves its own natural consequence, a new unthinking norm, normally to the detriment of the very children the stupid rules are meant to “save.”

Is your love for your kids controlling?





The Liar, The Witch, and the KKK’s Wardrobe

20 11 2009

Sarah Palin’s presidential-ambition-blessing pastor was a real, literal witch-hunter and witch-persecutor.

No joke.

Now comes another no-joke witch story, one I saw earlier today in the Chronicle of Higher Education weekly round-up by Don Troop, under the irresistible and accurately newsworthy headline, “The Liar, the Witch and the KKK’s Ridiculous Wardrobe.” 😉

(Just ask if you want to know more about the Liar and the Wardrobe*.)

A woman who sued the University of Nebraska saying the school fired her after learning she is a witch has agreed to settle the case for $40,000.

The university made the offer “solely to compromise the claim … without admitting the validity of plaintiff’s contention or any allegations of wrongdoing by the defendants. . .”

Jane Doe said she took a job with the university in 2007 directing a youth program. But an associate dean terminated her, despite her satisfactory performance at work, after learning she was a witch and her religion was Read the rest of this entry »