” “The sweeping attempt to remove these titles from classrooms and libraries on the eve of a new school year is an appalling affront to students’ First Amendment rights. It is virtually impossible to run a school or a library that purges books in response to any complaint from any corner,” Jonathan Friedman, PEN America director of free expression and education programs, said in a statement.”
I still remember seeing Psycho in my high school film lit class!
“… LaPierre’s eighth-graders set out on exonerating EJJ, petitioning the Massachusetts legislature with the hopes that a lawmaker would introduce a bill to clear her name. Eventually, after three years and “numerous disappointments,” one state senator heard them — Diana DiZoglio sponsored an amendment to the state budget this year to add Johnson’s name to an existing resolution that exonerated other “witches” by name.
All that petitioning and bureaucratic navigating was instructive for her eighth-grade classes, but LaPierre said “the long-lasting lessons are probably more important: Standing up for justice, advocating for those who cannot do so for themselves, recognizing that their voices have power in the community and the world, and understanding that persistence is necessary to achieve their goals.” “
“The experience of being immersed or engaged while reading a story is called narrative absorption and serves as more than an innately pleasurable experience—it can also enhance our sense of wellbeing. Researchers believe that mentally transporting ourselves away from our physical surroundings can provide an escape or opportunity for meaningful contemplation.
Reading not only provides these opportunities, but it also helps us make sense of our worlds. In one neuroimaging study, participants who read more narrative fiction had greater activation of parts of the prefrontal cortex involved in perspective-taking when reading text containing social context. This greater activation may partially explain the correlation between lifetime reading and the ability to understand how people are thinking.”
I’m adding Ms. Doran to my newest list of heroes.
“The event in question, which had been planned for June 4, is Drag Queen Story Hour, a national program begun in 2015 in which drag queens read stories to children and their families in libraries, schools and bookstores. The Pride Month presentation, Doran wrote in her statement to the board, is “a culturally inclusive, accessible, diversity-celebrating program for families that aligns with our mission as a library to serve the (diversity, equity and inclusion) and literacy needs of our community.”
Doran also wrote that there “is no precedent for library employees to seek prior approval for programs at the library. The trustees hire the library director and charge the library staff with putting on programs.” She also noted that the program fits within the mission and strategic goals of of the library that were discussed by the public at two visioning workshops last fall.”
It’s so hard not to compare the same story presented in both print and digital media. But we have to stop. Print is a different medium than film. Even when united by the same story, each remains a different entity.
Likewise, we need to refrain from the belief that one is “better” than the other. One of the reasons I love film is that it opens up the world of reading to struggling readers. In a well-made film there is symbolism, foreshadowing, character development, story arcs, and commentary on the human condition. Each exists in print too, but how can we disregard film when it opens that world of literary appreciation to those who previously felt that it was too daunting?
Reading is for everyone, but sometimes, film opens the door.