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posted by n1 on Thursday June 12 2014, @02:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the current-stock-to-be-used-as-fuel dept.

Ars Technica reports:

After the Booker T. Washington Public High School in Pensacola, Florida, placed best-selling author and popular Boing Boing blog editor Cory Doctorow's young adult novel Little Brother on its "One School/One Book" summer reading list, the school's administration promptly canceled the school-wide reading program.

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  • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:05AM

    by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:05AM (#54405) Journal

    So a book -- any book -- gets selected for a reading program, then a big bad authority figure cancels the whole program, then the story is spun (rightly or wrongly, I haven't RTFA yet, but the point is that it doesn't matter) as being due to the subversive content of that book, what do you think kids will do? If your answer is something other than "read that book", you don't understand kids very well.

    I mean, you'd almost think it was some sort of cleverer-than-average marketing stunt for Little Brother. Obviously not, but it's that perfect.

    • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:07PM

      by egcagrac0 (2705) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:07PM (#54612)

      If you think that (the majority of) kids will suddenly read a complex book since the summer reading program has been cancelled and it's no longer mandatory, you don't understand kids very well.

      If you feel a need to blame Microsoft for the situation, there's probably an Xbox in there somewhere.

      • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:35PM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:35PM (#54624) Journal

        A "complex book"? Have you read it?

        I have, and I can't see how it's any more complex than, say, the average Heinlein juvenile. I don't keep up with current kids literature generally, so for all I know maybe it is "complex" compared to the alternatives, but that seems improbable.

        • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:56PM

          by egcagrac0 (2705) on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:56PM (#54654)

          No, haven't read the book. (Apparently there's a PDF I need to download.)

          Our categorizations of the book are likely significantly different from that of a modern teenager in Pensacola.

  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:10AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:10AM (#54407) Journal

    Doctorow's writing may be rather bad, but that is not reason to cancel the whole program! Just switch to something better written, like Cryptonomicon!

    • (Score: 1) by GmanTerry on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:00AM

      by GmanTerry (829) on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:00AM (#54463)

      Cryptonomicon, now there's a book. It even shows you how to encrypt messages using a deck of playing cards. It works, my son and I used it.

      --
      Since when is "public safety" the root password to the Constitution?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @10:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @10:13AM (#54511)

        It's also the only Stephenson book that bored me too much to finish. Also the only one I own in hardback. Just waaay too much exposition. Dullsville.

        • (Score: 1) by morpheus on Thursday June 12 2014, @11:43AM

          by morpheus (1989) on Thursday June 12 2014, @11:43AM (#54539)

          Exactly. Doctorow's writing may be bad but Stephenson's writing is ... well, terrible. Cryptonomicon has a great title but the book itself is boring and dull. His `Snowcrash' is written entirely in present tense (`he goes', `he sees'). The only book of his that I found readable was `In the beginning there was a command line ...'

          • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:12PM

            by egcagrac0 (2705) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:12PM (#54614)

            Zodiac was surprisingly enjoyable.

            The Baroque Cycle books couldn't even hold my interest for a few minutes at the bookstore.

  • (Score: 1) by Landon on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:13AM

    by Landon (45) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:13AM (#54408) Journal
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:10AM (#54422)

      "Emails released Tuesday show that Washington High Principal Michael Roberts pulled the book 'Little Brother' from Washington's school-wide summer reading program because the novel 'is about questioning authority' and shows questioning authority 'as a positive thing,' making the young adult novel unfit for some students at the school. A May 19 email to Washington High English Department Head Mary Kate Griffith also shows that Roberts pulled the book from the school's summer reading program after it had been assigned to students."

      He probably picked one of the worst reasons to "restrict" the book.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Geotti on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:26AM

        by Geotti (1146) on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:26AM (#54473) Journal

        and shows questioning authority 'as a positive thing,' making the young adult novel unfit for some students at the school.

        So, the critical thinking in 'some' students is wrong?

        • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by velex on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:58PM

          by velex (2068) on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:58PM (#54575) Journal

          Yes. Here's the dilemma. And I don't care about my karma. This is way off topic.

          Introduce girls to critical thinking and questioning authority such as their mothers and grandmothers, well now you've got a hacker culture on your hands. Might even be worse. The college I took a few classes at for the past 15 years has had a "rape culture," which as far as I can tell means that there's a culture of sexist women who believe every assigned male, regardless of biology, is a rapist who merely hasn't been caught in the act. I was required to sign a form to that extent before I was able to attend orientation and get my room key. Assigned females were exempt.

          So, the girls conform, become good little baby machines, form their own rape culture and pidgeonhole anyone not assigned their gender at birth (and conveniently ignore the fact that some assigned females can't become pregnant). Point is they don't go into STEM careers.

          The OMG OMG OMG !!!eleven1! There are no women in STEM careers!!!! It just proves that all hackers are sexist rapists!!!eleven1eleven!!

          Circle of protection: White knights. T: Anyone suggesting that I post this shit because I'm not a good little sexual object to women (haven't gotten a woman in bed/isn't "good" with women/whatever) can go to hell. You know that feeling you get when a gay man is making a move on you? Yeah, that's what I feel when a woman is making a move on me. And it's happened plenty of times. I know you're jealous. I'm just not a fucking lesbian. Sorry.

          And anyone who thinks I want women back in the kitchen can go get fucked. Like. Right. Now. Just go get fucked. Excuse me. I have a glass of vodka and Xena is on so I have to go fangirl now. Good-bye, karma bonus.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:34PM (#54645)

            Whoa, whoa, whoa there... What?! Maybe this would be more appropriate to post in your journal rather than in the comment section of an unrelated story.

          • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Thursday June 12 2014, @05:05PM

            by bucc5062 (699) on Thursday June 12 2014, @05:05PM (#54657)

            I don't know about karma, but many times I read your ... writings ... and cannot get your point. What is your point here? Men bad, women good, I'm not a lesbian?

            Wheat is eleven1?

            Perhaps slow down on the Vodka and ramp up some coherent thought just so I can understand enough to either say "right on sister" or "gurlfrend, youz nutsz"

            --
            The more things change, the more they look the same
          • (Score: 1) by khedoros on Thursday June 12 2014, @06:09PM

            by khedoros (2921) on Thursday June 12 2014, @06:09PM (#54675)
            This is also way off topic: No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:30AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:30AM (#54474) Journal

        "unfit for some students". Hmm, which ones, pray tell, mister authority figure of very little brain?
        (And on a more serious note, how could anyone be disappointed in the Internet? Please do try and keep up!)

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:07PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:07PM (#54557)

          Hmm, which ones, pray tell, mister authority figure of very little brain?

          That's easy: The children who the principal has decided will never amount to anything, usually based on a series of judgements that may or may not have any relationship to academic performance. Your typical school administrator tends to look most favorably on students who:
          - Are born to parents rich enough to pay for college
          - Of European or Asian ancestry
          - Conforming to the modes of dress and speech of white upper-middle-class people
          - If male, are good at playing handegg (a.k.a. football) and other sports
          - If female, are physically attractive while not overtly slutty
          - Get good grades (this may or may not relate to how smart they actually are, because a lot of teachers operate with the same set of prejudices)
          - Take part in one or more school organizations, showing apparent dedication to the institution of the school
          - Never ever ever question school decisions

          School administrations do a great deal to push students who fit the first few criteria in particular to go into a college prep track, while students who don't get pushed to focus on a more "basic education" track or make use of a technical school if one exists. That's a major reason why educational attainment and economic class is much more hereditary than many Americans are willing to admit.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Thursday June 12 2014, @08:36AM

        by Horse With Stripes (577) on Thursday June 12 2014, @08:36AM (#54485)

        Wow, it's like Footloose [imdb.com], but with books.

      • (Score: 2) by AnythingGoes on Thursday June 12 2014, @09:14AM

        by AnythingGoes (3345) on Thursday June 12 2014, @09:14AM (#54499)
        I think the principal should also pull a certain document called "the Declaration of Independence", after all, it was also about questioning authority. In this case, the daring settlers had the audacity to question the God-given authority of the English King..
      • (Score: 2) by mrider on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:59PM

        by mrider (3252) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:59PM (#54638)

        The problem is that the jackasses in charge can't tell the difference between questioning authority and flouting authority.

        --

        Doctor: "Do you hear voices?"

        Me: "Only when my bluetooth is charged."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:45AM (#54430)

      > This is being blown out of proportion everywhere.

      Seems completely in proportion to me. Principal cancels entire summer reading program because one book on the list "is about questioning authority" gets himself excoriated on the net.

      What is out of proportion about that? Is he getting death threats? People protesting in front of the school? I just don't see it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @04:06AM (#54421)

    Living in Pensacola for 18 years is a hell of a thing.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @08:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @08:47AM (#54861)

      Cocaine's a hell of a drug!

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by anubi on Thursday June 12 2014, @06:31AM

    by anubi (2828) on Thursday June 12 2014, @06:31AM (#54456) Journal
    Cory is very open about his work. Apparently, he is sending 200 copies of his work to Pensacola for distribution to the students... [boingboing.net]

    Cory has made his book available here... for free no less!

    ( Warning... this links to a 140 page .pdf ) [craphound.com]
    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @07:44AM (#54478)

    The Nazi book burnings were a campaign conducted by the German Student Union to ceremonially burn books in Nazi Germany and Austria by classical liberal, anarchist, socialist, pacifist, communist, Jewish, and other authors whose writings were viewed as subversive or whose ideologies undermined the National Socialist administration.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_book_burnings [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by krishnoid on Thursday June 12 2014, @08:11AM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday June 12 2014, @08:11AM (#54482)

    One of Doctorow's other books [humblebundle.com] is available as an audiobook for the next week-plus as part of Humble Bundle's recently added books offering.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @10:39AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12 2014, @10:39AM (#54519)

    Hacker culture is evil but thug culture is okay. Heh.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:30PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Thursday June 12 2014, @12:30PM (#54565) Journal

      Along the same lines that violence is alright. But sex is not. Make punches not enjoyment. Now that sounds like a motto for a happy people ;)

      Anything that deviate from the obedient wage slaves that will go to violent wars for their puppet masters will be met with ostracism.

  • (Score: 1) by bzipitidoo on Thursday June 12 2014, @01:25PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday June 12 2014, @01:25PM (#54581) Journal

    Schools are always banning books, imposing too strict dress codes. Officials are constantly on the watch for defiance, ready to play whack-a-mole on uppity students. They aren't the brightest, and are too often oblivious to their own hypocrisies. Education in a democracy should not be run like a fascist indoctrination camp. There's something inadequate with the system that this is a constant problem.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:21PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday June 12 2014, @03:21PM (#54619)

      Education in a democracy should not be run like a fascist indoctrination camp.

      No, but it makes perfect sense that education in a fascist country is run like a fascist indoctrination camp.