Fandango’s Provocative Question #156


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Republicans in 30 states are now seeking to remove books from classrooms and school libraries that offend them. GOP activists, school boards, lawmakers, and governors across the nation are issuing orders and crafting legislation to protect kids from books that discuss racism, sexuality, feminism, and other “dangerous” topics.

We’re talking about books like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eyes and Beloved, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Ernest Hemingway’s The Farewell to Arms, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House-Five, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Not to mention Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust fable Maus and a whole slew of young adult and children’s books.

This ongoing “frenzy” of right-wing censorship is the largest since the 1920s campaign against teaching evolution. But today’s focus seems to be on books that have the potential to cause “discomfort” to straight, white Christians. Many critics are calling this a concerted and historic book-banning effort.

This week’s provocative question is…

How do you feel about state and local school boards and other jurisdictions banning of classic books such as those I’ve listed? Under what circumstances, if any, do you feel that banning of such books is appropriate and justifiable?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

38 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #156

  1. pensitivity101 February 9, 2022 / 3:04 am

    The world has gone PC nuts Fandango. They want to re-write the classics and history books because they don’t like what’s written, afraid that someone, somewhere will take offense. How can we learn about real life if everything is sugar coated?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Taswegian1957 February 9, 2022 / 4:07 am

    i read a good many of those books as a child, teenager and young adult. I can’t imagine why, suddenly, they are considered offensive in some way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • EliBritain February 9, 2022 / 4:45 am

      Same in UK, Of mice and men was part of our core grade in English writing at our high school coursework grades (we have our core ones at age 16), alongside Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet. You would not hear someone say Shakespeare is not allowed in the classroom and he had written about two people from different classes, yet Of Mice and Men also about class divides is on their banned list?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango February 9, 2022 / 11:23 am

      I find it hard to fathom as well, but some people don’t want to face the uncomfortable truth, so they ban books that speak that truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. XingfuMama February 9, 2022 / 5:58 am

    Several of those were required reading when I was in school. I find this dystopian.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rugby843 February 9, 2022 / 9:51 am

    Never!  And all except the last one you mentioned I have read, most were required reading in my high school English classes.  Thank heavens for that, and that was in the sixties!  These fanatics need their own country, leave, please!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Astrid February 9, 2022 / 12:00 pm

    I read Anne Frank’s diary at age thirteen and had no clue of its sexual content until my husband pointed it out years later when this book banning thing was first mentioned.

    Other than that, I only read Brave New World. While it could easily be used to draw parallels between that dystopian society and our current society (in and outside of the U.S.), I don’t think that makes it offensive or necessarily threatening to the Republican party, especially when they’re not in office.

    However, re your question: I think book banning in general should only be allowed in very rare situations and this certainly isn’t one. I mean, Adolf Hitler’s work is banned here in the Netherlands and that’s totally warranted for in my opinion, but that’s about as far as it should go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marleen February 9, 2022 / 12:02 pm

    Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust fable Maus was not meant, by him, to be a young adult or children’s books. But he has embraced this outcome.

    How I feel, right now, is some satisfaction in their admission to how narrow-minded they are and that 1984 and Animal Farm describes or offends them.

    However, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (white hero) was considered acceptable somewhere as a replacement for a book written from a black perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn Armstrong February 9, 2022 / 5:40 pm

    I don’t have enough words to say how much I hate what is happening to what used to be my world. this will be up just after midnight, but it will about 9:30 your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lou Carreras February 9, 2022 / 6:22 pm

    Extreme movement tend to fragment. Extreme movements that wish to carefully control what is orthodox tend to fragment very badly. Just like the plethora of small Christian churches you see in most cities the fragmented groups all think that they have the WORD. And the all come to disaprove of other groups who ” have fallen into error.” that’s the future of the Republican Party in one paragraph.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 9, 2022 / 7:50 pm

      What a mess it is.


  9. Maggie February 10, 2022 / 5:36 am

    I will write a response, but I’m lagging behind, Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 10, 2022 / 2:09 pm

      No worries, Maggie.


  10. Marleen February 10, 2022 / 10:57 am

    Yes, Fandango — safe spaces and (as Sadje said) cancel culture! I think it shows how much they don’t think about the meaning when they pick up a catchy thing to say from their own subculture (or overlords that they don’t detect as such) or how much they don’t care about demonstrating and living out consistency and grace. Many (or most) of them also want people to have unfettered access to large-round ammunition and guns with no training or qualification or rules as to what can be in the streets. [ Now, at the same time, I think most of them want the gun show loophole (for background checks) closed; the NRA and gun manufacturers not so much. ]

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marleen February 10, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    I remember this stuff; of course, this visual presentation is more interesting than me describing. Plus, Mehdi brings in a little (not so little) factoid most people didn’t know; check into it by viewing. Meanwhile, they’ve been fucking around with our language since Lee Atwater or before — “payback” (the stubbornness of dark hearts) for saying black people shouldn’t be called “n……”

    How the GOP talks about racism without talking about racism

    The Virginia governor’s election put ‘Critical Race Theory’ on the ballot. But as NBC’s Mehdi Hasan explains, CRT is just the latest in a long line of Republican dog-whistle tactics. Nov. 7, 2021

    {My own commentary, however (additionally), is that at the same time as the elected governor has problems with character and the base the defeated governor was stupid to say parents shouldn’t be involved in education; stupid, or telling.}

    Liked by 1 person

  12. paeansunplugged February 11, 2022 / 3:26 am

    Oh, really! The books that you have listed? How can anyone think of banning these classics.
    It is alright to be ‘woke’ but we can’t shut our eyes to the reality these books depict.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Irene February 11, 2022 / 7:58 am

    If they are so concerned, maybe an “age-appropriate ranking”, like with movies, would be granted, but absolute bans are just insane; “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury comes to mind

    Liked by 2 people

  14. leigha66 February 19, 2022 / 4:17 pm

    I really think it is crazy to ban any books. Granted, you don’t want pornographic material in schools, but these books are far from that. Truthfully I have always encouraged my daughter to read those that were banned and DISCUSS them. There are adult themes in some of them but how are they going to learn if you dont approach the topics. The world is far from perfect and knowing that instead of being blind sided with it later in life is a kindness you can give your child. BUT I think a lot of it comes down to lazy parenting, they don’t want to have that possibly uncomfortable talk with their children so just ban anything that brings the topics into view. Insanity in my book!

    Liked by 1 person

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