Friday, February 11, 2011

friggin' censorship

I think I'm becoming THE MAN.

I've always hated censorship. I don't believe in book burning, black bars, FCC bleeping, or that annoying sticker that Tipper Gore put on CDs in the 90's that almost kept my mom from buying the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood*Sugar*Sex*Magic CD for me in 8th grade. As an artist, I've always believed that a well-timed swear word can be entirely apropos.

That is, of course, until my daughter asks me what a feckinvegetarian is or my son begs to watch Lady Gaga videos on YouTube and then points at the screen and says, LADY GAGA BOTTOM!

Now, I'm not so sure.

I still believe that art is, by nature, sometimes lurid or obscene. But I also believe that 4 and 2 are way too young to understand that. Thus far, I'm drawing my own lines in the sand: I put a hand over Lady Gaga in her thong, and I either turn down the volume or fake sneeze during the really bad swear words on my music. I'm just never going to be one of those moms who plays the Wiggles in the car.

And it's working, because they love music. I beam with pride when my four-year-old requests Nirvana, Asteroid Galaxy Tour, the Civil Wars, or, my personal favorite, "that lady who sings ska." And when t.rex croons along with Mumford & Sons, my heart nearly bursts with happiness, even if their biggest hit is riddled with the F-bomb.

In any case, I finally understand why some people get so up in arms over censorship. They want to protect their children at all costs, and for some people, a blanket statement is easier than making individual decisions on what is and is not appropriate. But I want to be the one making that choice for my kids-- not the government, not religious groups, and definitely not other parents. And I especially don't agree with banned books.

Which brings up a new thought. One day, the Biscuit is going to ask what my books are about. And one day, when she's MUCH older, she's going to read BLUD, whether I want her to or not. And then she's probably going to want to gouge her eyes out with a grapefruit spoon, just like I did when my mom lent me Jean Auel's Valley of Horses in 7th grade.

I want my kids to grow up loving art and literature and interesting music. I just don't want them to read my paranormal romance books.

But you know what? It's going to make Career Day at school a lot of fun.


dk said...

Agreed on all counts. I try to play "my music" in the car as much as possible, which usually means metal, ska, or bluegrass (think Avett Brothers), all of which tend to be a bit harsh with the language now and then. Should a 3-year-old be hearing that? Sure. Do I want her LISTENING to it and copying any of it? Repeating it in playschool?! Ugh...

Anonymous said...

Tell T-Rex I yell the same thing when I see a Lady Gaga video. Also, it's what I yell at the end of the Lord's Prayer.

Anonymous said...

You are the epitome of a "good Mother". It's a parent's job to teach their children how to be responsible adults. You can't do that by hiding the real world away from them. Let them see and question while they're under your tutelage. I am and have always been so very proud of you & Dr Krog and your choices as parents. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

Amen, dk. Keep fighting the good fight.

Anon-- I know you're joking, because I know you don't pray.

mom-- Tanks.


Wendy Sparrow said...

You know... my friend has a voracious reader in her daughter, and her daughter was 11 when she started reading a book a day. She can't possibly stay ahead of a speedreader like that... though she insists on picking out her daughter's books for her. This, apparently, has still led to some horror moments where her daughter brings her books and says, "I really shouldn't be reading this, Mom."

Yes, parents should be the ones to determine what their child reads... but what should they do when they can't possibly preview for their child?

I'm against banning books in high schools, but JR High is creeping up on my daughter faster than I'd like. I'd rather know that any books she finds in the library there are appropriate for her age and comprehension.

I'd also like to see a rating on books for ages. Some books have recommended ages, but not all. However... I'm super conservative... and I know that.

My son likes "Devil Went Down to Georgia." It made me want to pat his head and give him a hug.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Missy - I think this is my favorite post in a long time. When can we read one of your books?

Hell, I'm an English teacher. I know from books.

Delilah S. Dawson said...

Anon, you won't like my books, because none of them are about hobos dying from locomotor anataxia.


Beth said...

This is tricky... we just dealt w/ our foster son who is in 6th grade (middle school) bringing home a book about a teenager who was sexually abused by his step-dad and was a cutter to deal with the pain. It was explicit in re-hashing the abuse. Like, turn my stomach explicit.

We showed it to the school and they were mortified it was in their school. But on the inside cover it said for ages 12 and up! Seems like the publishers don't care to protect children in place of the almighty dollar :-(

It makes the parents' job harder as now I feel the need to really screen any books brought into our house!