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teachergirl

Bontragers and books

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refugee
10 hours ago, nastyhobbitses said:

I think that a lot of these fundies know that books are liberating.

I wonder.

I gave this some thought this morning, while trying to clear an unusual amount of brain fog with coffee and pondering.

I'm not so sure the rank-and-file fundies know this, or even are aware enough (in terms of critical thinking ability) to consider this. Perhaps the manipulators at the top of the power structure, the con artists and showmen who are making a living by promoting their version of "godly living" are aware of the liberating factor, except that they (and those under their influence) call it "corrupting" instead.

I always found it so... ironic, I guess is the word... when people would get all shrill and hysterical about some book that they hadn't even read.

We read a lot of books I considered objectionable for various reasons (Berenstain Bears were cute and had good lessons, but the father was almost always the fool in the story. I think I cheered when we read one book where the mother lost it, and the father came to the rescue. I would have liked a little more balance in that series. Yeah, every dog, er bear, has his day...), and discussed them. Some of the books I considered objectionable were "golden" on fundie reading lists, actually.

We talked about the racism in books we read that were on the Robinson Curriculum reading list, for example. (RC, that bastion of conservative education.) And the Vision Forum catalog, and their glowing recommendations... I still shake my head at the books they were pushing, and my VF-immersed friends were talking about in glowing terms. Elsie Dinsmore was too stupid for words. We couldn't read that one, not more than the first few chapters, even to generate thoughtful discussion. In a dyslexic moment I called the book Elsie Dismal -- and it fit.

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Loveday
3 hours ago, Rachel333 said:

My mom was saying the other day that she wished she had censored the Little House books when she was reading them to me because she thinks the descriptions of butchering animals caused my vegetarianism. :pb_lol:

I don't know about that, but I do vividly remember the part where Laura and Mary play with a pig's bladder.

I googled it and here's a blog post discussing the song, and other instances of racism in the books: https://theawl.com/no-offense-to-laura-ingalls-wilder-4aa9e20e8755#.eopa3ouo2

Thanks for the link. It was in the first book, then, not the second. No wonder I was losing my mind. Ha ha. But yeah, that one's pretty blatant in its racism.:pb_confused:  

And omg, the minstrel show in Little Town On The Prairie.  I know it was all part and parcel of that era, and the books are nothing if not realistic when it comes to the history of that time, but it's all so matter-of-factly presented, as if Laura thought it was perfectly all right to sing racist songs and perform in blackface. And I suppose she thought it was. I wonder if she ever grew to think any differently late in life?

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nolongerIFBx
34 minutes ago, Loveday said:

Thanks for the link. It was in the first book, then, not the second. No wonder I was losing my mind. Ha ha. But yeah, that one's pretty blatant in its racism.:pb_confused:  

And omg, the minstrel show in Little Town On The Prairie.  I know it was all part and parcel of that era, and the books are nothing if not realistic when it comes to the history of that time, but it's all so matter-of-factly presented, as if Laura thought it was perfectly all right to sing racist songs and perform in blackface. And I suppose she thought it was. I wonder if she ever grew to think any differently late in life?

I think that this is an issue that we will run into more and more often as time goes by, A hundred years from now, our great-great grandchildren will be saying, "You know they actually did X then? Can you believe it? And no one thought anything of it. Crazy!" We have to remember not to judge yesterday by today's mores. It doesn't mean that slavery was ever okay, but it does mean that it never occurred to a lot of people that referring to a black person as "darkey" was wrong.

And lest you think that I am saying that because an act happened in the historical past that it was okay, I was very quick to protest my University's Title IX slogan of "Not Any More" by saying that non-consensual touching (rape, groping, etc.) isn't just "Not Any More" okay, it never was; I really dislike the slogan. Racism never was okay before either, but let's realize that it did not even register as racism on their radar. Spanking your wife, or beating her with a stick "no wider than his thumb" was never okay, but less than even 50 years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see it played out on TV and everyone thought it was a great movie/show.

Just my 2 cents but trying to ban or erase history because they didn't have the same mores that we do today takes away a good opportunity to show our children that good people can do bad things and still be good people and that anyone/society can grow and change.

Edited by nolongerIFBx

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nastyhobbitses
30 minutes ago, Loveday said:

Thanks for the link. It was in the first book, then, not the second. No wonder I was losing my mind. Ha ha. But yeah, that one's pretty blatant in its racism.:pb_confused:  

And omg, the minstrel show in Little Town On The Prairie.  I know it was all part and parcel of that era, and the books are nothing if not realistic when it comes to the history of that time, but it's all so matter-of-factly presented, as if Laura thought it was perfectly all right to sing racist songs and perform in blackface. And I suppose she thought it was. I wonder if she ever grew to think any differently late in life?

I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't question it as a kid -- a lot of kids will unwittingly accept pretty fucked-up beliefs as we know from this very forum. But I do hope that she came to realize as an adult that those racist songs and performances were wrong. Though I think that in a way, it's good to see those things presented very bluntly and matter-of-factly, because at least in my situation, it was a teachable moment about history, society marching on, and tolerance. I actually really like the way Warner Brothers handled a similar problem; in the 1930s and 40s, they made a lot of animated shorts that are appallingly racist by today's standards, and were pretty racist by contemporary standards. Instead of locking the shorts up in a vault, they included the shorts in their Looney Tunes compilations with an introduction that read as follows: 

Quote

Some of the cartoons you are about to see are a product of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and they are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros.' view of today's society, some of these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

 

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ALM7
2 hours ago, refugee said:

We read a lot of books I considered objectionable for various reasons (Berenstain Bears were cute and had good lessons, but the father was almost always the fool in the story. I think I cheered when we read one book where the mother lost it, and the father came to the rescue. I would have liked a little more balance in that series. Yeah, every dog, er bear, has his day...), and discussed them. Some of the books I considered objectionable were "golden" on fundie reading lists, actually.

[snipped/my bold]

This reminded me of a trend that started in books, commercials, tv series and movies a few years back. It seemed the male (child or adult), was made to appear clueless, or characterized as not as intelligent as the females.

Believe me, I know this has happened to females throughout the ages.  We've constantly battled with stereotyping, and have to fight for advancement.  However; the answer isn't to do what has been done to us, to the men and boys.  If I had children, I wouldn't want a son feeling inferior to his sister, and vice versa.  And, I don't think it's acceptable for a man to be portrayed as a goof.  I don't know why the media/advertisers thought this was/is cute.

Anyway, this strikes a nerve with me too.

 

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Loveday
1 minute ago, nolongerIFBx said:

I think that this is an issue that we will run into more and more often as time goes by, A hundred yea from now, our great-great grandchildren will be saying, "You know they actually did X then? Can you believe it? And no one thought anything of it. Crazy!" We have to remember not to judge yesterday by today's mores. It doesn't mean that slavery was ever okay, but it does mean that it never occurred to a lot of people that referring to a black person as "darkey" was wrong.

And lest you think that I am saying that because an act happened in the historical past that it was okay, I was very quick to protest my University's Title IX slogan of "Not Any More" by saying that non-consensual touching (rape, groping, etc.) isn't just "Not Any More" okay, it never was; I really dislike the slogan. Racism never was okay before either, but let's realize that it did not even register as racism on their radar. Spanking your wife, or beating her with a stick "no wider than his thumb" was never okay, but less than even 50 years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see it played out on TV and everyone thought it was a great movie/show.

Just my 2 cents but trying to ban or erase history because they didn't have the same mores that we do today takes away a good opportunity to show our children that good people can do bad things and still be good people and that anyone/society can grow and change.

I'm a huge proponent of not trying to ban or erase history. For instance, I would rather not see memorial statues of Confederate soldiers be removed (that's been a big issue here in eastern VA lately, and in some other areas of the South as well). What I would  like to see are plaques prominently displayed close by, giving some of the history and context of the statues, and explaining that they've been left where they are to remind us of how far we've come. I think they'll eventually come down, though, especially the ones on public land (some are on private property, from what I understand, so I don't know how that's going to be handled when the time comes). 

On the other hand, I'm all for removing the Confederate flag from any public place--except as part of a historical display at a Civil War battle site, such as Gettysburg or Shiloh, or a museum exhibit explaining the Jim Crow era and the KKK. Some people feel it shouldn't even be allowed at those places, but how can you tell the full story of the Civil War and its aftermath while leaving out such a potent symbol? And as for all the schools around the south named for southern generals, I'm thinking it's probably time for some new names. Somehow, 'Nathan Bedford Forrest Elementary School' just sends a certain message, ya know? :my_dodgy:

And on the subject of judging yesterday's behaviour by today's mores and values, that's one of my pettest of pet peeves. 

15 minutes ago, nastyhobbitses said:

I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't question it as a kid -- a lot of kids will unwittingly accept pretty fucked-up beliefs as we know from this very forum. But I do hope that she came to realize as an adult that those racist songs and performances were wrong. Though I think that in a way, it's good to see those things presented very bluntly and matter-of-factly, because at least in my situation, it was a teachable moment about history, society marching on, and tolerance. I actually really like the way Warner Brothers handled a similar problem; in the 1930s and 40s, they made a lot of animated shorts that are appallingly racist by today's standards, and were pretty racist by contemporary standards. Instead of locking the shorts up in a vault, they included the shorts in their Looney Tunes compilations with an introduction that read as follows: 

 

Exactly. And I love the way WB handled the problem.  I don't think I'd show those cartoons to young children, but as part of a middle or high school history class I think they would prompt some very good discussion of racism in history.

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TXGirlInAMaterialWorld

  When I was growing up- our church instructed parents to make sure that every child's record in the school library noted that we were not allowed to check out anything except "the classics".  Even with that- our parents would routinely request a report of all the books we checked out and question some of the selections. 

  One time I wanted to read a book that I knew my parents would not approve of and the librarian told me that she was sorry, I could look at the book in the library but I could not check that book out without a signed note from my parents.  Wowza!  A whole new world of reading opened up for me as I realized I could read whatever I wanted when I was at the library.  I spent my free time before school and during study hour in the library reading anything I wanted.

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nastyhobbitses
21 minutes ago, Loveday said:

I'm a huge proponent of not trying to ban or erase history. For instance, I would rather not see memorial statues of Confederate soldiers be removed (that's been a big issue here in eastern VA lately, and in some other areas of the South as well). What I would  like to see are plaques prominently displayed close by, giving some of the history and context of the statues, and explaining that they've been left where they are to remind us of how far we've come. I think they'll eventually come down, though, especially the ones on public land (some are on private property, from what I understand, so I don't know how that's going to be handled when the time comes). 

On the other hand, I'm all for removing the Confederate flag from any public place--except as part of a historical display at a Civil War battle site, such as Gettysburg or Shiloh, or a museum exhibit explaining the Jim Crow era and the KKK. Some people feel it shouldn't even be allowed at those places, but how can you tell the full story of the Civil War and its aftermath while leaving out such a potent symbol? And as for all the schools around the south named for southern generals, I'm thinking it's probably time for some new names. Somehow, 'Nathan Bedford Forrest Elementary School' just sends a certain message, ya know? :my_dodgy:

And on the subject of judging yesterday's behaviour by today's mores and values, that's one of my pettest of pet peeves. 

Exactly. And I love the way WB handled the problem.  I don't think I'd show those cartoons to young children, but as part of a middle or high school history class I think they would prompt some very good discussion of racism in history.

I've been thinking a lot about this, though more in the context of just about any war in history. Germany doesn't seem to have very many memorials to the soldiers who died in World War II, which I understand. But (and let me preface this with stating that I am an American Jew) they were human men just like anyone else, and I know "just following orders" is a cliche, but the vast majority were just young men who were fighting because they were conscripted and that was what you did if you had a penis and your legs and hands worked. They had loved ones who missed them when they went to fight and grieved for them when they died, just like American, British, French, Indian, Japanese, Italian, Canadian, and Soviet soldiers. I don't see much wrong with acknowledging that. By the same token, I don't think it's wrong to have memorials to Confederate soldiers. They were still humans with families even if they were on the "wrong" side. Now, celebrating generals is another kettle of fish, but then again, if we took down every statue of a military leader who committed atrocities or espoused wrong or utterly fucked up points of view, we wouldn't have very many statues in the world.

Back to Germany for a second: when I went to Berlin, I was very impressed with how blunt the city was about the past. It pretty much lays out all the horrible events of the 20th century very bare and raw, and doesn't sugar-coat what happened, but also shows that Berlin and Germany as a whole are moving forward and the future will be better. I think more memorial sites, museums, and cities in general can learn from the historiography of Berlin's tourist sites.

Also, I kind of wish the rest of Japan would get on board, but Studio Ghibli has made some very good films examining World War II from the Japanese perspective in a sensitive and heartbreaking way. Grave of the Fireflies is about the way ordinary children suffered during a war they didn't ask to be involved in. The Wind Rises is about the inventor of the Zero aircraft creating something beautiful, only for it to be used for the ugliest of ends.

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Rachel333

This is reminding me of something I've been noticing in liberal culture now where if someone ever says something considered objectionable then the response is to completely invalidate everything else they say. (I also find it amazing that this trend is happening right alongside the completely opposite trend where Trump can say blatantly racist and sexist things and not suffer any consequences.) This is happening now with Alice Dreger. In December there was a good article about the situation -- Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals -- and since then there have been more instances, like when Everyday Feminism  reposted an essay by Alice Dreger but then deleted it a few days later because some people didn't like Dreger's writing on an entirely different topic. Dreger wrote about this on her own site here.

I don't want to get too much into the issues here, but basically some people think Alice Dreger is transphobic because she defended another scientist's right to publish his research that suggested ideas that many transgender people dislike. She didn't even say she necessarily agreed with him, just that she didn't think people should be sending him death threats and threatening his children (this actually happened).

I personally don't think Alice Dreger is transphobic (she has actually been very vocal about transgender rights), but let's say that she is transphobic--not necessarily in a hateful way, but out of ignorance. Does that invalidate her other writings and activism on other subjects?

It's funny, it's also a very fundie attitude that if there is one thing wrong with something then it should be completely discarded. I remember seeing that kids shouldn't read the Anne of Green Gables books because the author was a bit of a feminist and included some elements of spiritualism in her other books, or that the Narnia  books shouldn't be allowed because Lewis included creatures from Greek mythology in the books.

I don't think that it doesn't matter if someone says something problematic, but why can't we acknowledge that we all are subject to prejudice and misinformation? In another hundred years people will probably look back in horror at ideas we find perfectly acceptable now. I don't think we have to completely disregard people or books because they have some ideas we find offensive.

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desertvixen

re: Racism in Little House - it happens.  I remember reading it as a kid and wondering why it was so funny to the characters.  It's the type of thing I would read and then explain, I think.

I do like the Warner Brothers treatment and the similar treatment that Applewood Press (especially Nancy Drew) gives titles by presenting them in their proper context, and not just erasing them.  It happened, and pretending it didn't is offensive.

Edited by desertvixen
complete thoughts help discussions along

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Chocolatedefrauded

Sometimes you don't know how you feel about a topic or idea until you read something that makes you say, "nope, that is just wrong. I don't accept that!" Reading only things with your current viewpoint or religion will not challenge you to grow or think deeply.

I think it is especially important for teens to consider more viewpoints than their own little bubble. Books are a great, cheap way to do this. Not all of us can travel but we can read & get free books at the library. We should want all young people to explore the world & others.

 

 

 

 

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PennySycamore

@nastyhobbitses,  Graveyard of the Fireflies is a masterpiece!  We watched it in Japanese language class along with The Burnese Harp.  Roger Ebert considered the film one of the greats along with My Neighbor Totoro.

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