Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It takes more than one to tango

Since 2006, And Tango Makes Three has been our most challenged book according to the American Library Association, who tracks these things, except in 2009 when it was the second most challenged book, making it overall the most challenged.  Think about all the other books that have been published since then & the biggest threat to our society is...penguins?

The gist of the challenges is that the story (which is based on two male penguins who, after attempting to hatch a rock together were given an extra egg which they did hatch) 1-promoted a homosexual agenda & 2-does not tell the rest of the story when one of the father penguins leaves & forms a nesting pair with a female penguin.

It is hard to know where to begin.  So lets start with the whole gay agenda thing (after all it is the real reason for all the objections that follow).  There are slews of books about gay families, & a good chunk of those are picture books; there are picture books about living with gay parents, gay adoption, the AIDS Memorial Quilt,  & so on.  What makes And Tango Makes Three so much more objectionable than others which are patently about gay families?  To put it in a nutshell (eggshell?), these were actual, observable penguins & penguins don't make "choices"; they operate solely on their godgiven wiring.

Next, the complaint a picture book does not tell the whole story...specifically events that happened after the book was published.  Was the publisher really supposed to recall all the books & add that paragraph to the end?  Would the adverse be true?  Is anyone recalling the King James Bible to add the note by the by King James himself had sex with men to the biography bit with the frontispiece?   This particular complaint has kind of faded away after Tango (the baby girl penguin with two daddies) has herself hooked up with a female penguin; I guess they don't want that particular footnote added, although since it reinforces some prejudices I really don't understand why not.

Also published in 2005 (& protested & banned & all that) was Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.  All the Harry Potter books have been listed as unacceptable by one person or another, although it amuses me to learn  now that the whole series is in the world (& there will be no putting that genie back in the bottle) some groups are suggesting the whole thing is a christian allegory à la The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe (also challenged by a christian group for mysticism et al although if you cruise a few forums more than one person who says Harry Potter should be banned because those books ARE evil floats the idea that the reason Lewis was banned was because he was so very christian).  I guess if you can't beat him, pretend he joined you.

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