Saturday, January 30, 2010

Too Serious To Laugh

I'm not too sure what happened this week in the Culpeper County Public Schools in Virginia. A book was pulled, or it wasn't. It was done on purpose, or it was a mistake, or it never happened. It was because of sexual explicitness, or was it homosexual themes? The superintendent supports the action, or maybe not.

The book in question is quite a serious matter, Anne Frank's, Diary of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, the well-known account of a Jewish family in hiding in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. I remember reading the diary in eighth grade, which is around the age when most Americans read it. That makes sense, since the author was right around the age of 14 as she wrote.

Those of us who read the book prior to 1995 have missed something. The book we read was a little shorter, Anne Frank's father having withheld some details from the published edition. "The definitive edition" was the first time the unabridged diary was published in English, restoring the omitted sections.

And there's the problem. It seems that a few of the restored sections discuss sexual feelings, "including one where the young girl writes about discovering her vagina," as the Culpeper Star-Exponent put it. A parent complained about this, and at least some school officials tripped over themselves rushing to be seen as taking action. One school official, according to newspapers, stated that the book had been pulled. National and international ridicule and condemnation of the administration was swift and merciless. Then administrators tripped over themselves running in the opposite direction.

Removing the dictionary from a California classroom because it contained dirty words was laughably ridiculous. Challenging Buster's Sugartime in Tulsa for daring even to mention a same-sex couple was entertaining buffoonery. But pulling Diary of a Young Girl is not funny at all. It's evil.

Culpeper County School officials now say that pulling the book was a mistake. They have assured the media that the book is still available in the classroom. But it appears there is still going to be a "review" sometime this Spring.



  1. Thank you for saying this. I have not read the diary yet but I will very soon.

    Maybe these censors were upset because, when you think about it, it's evidence that sexual feelings are inherently human and *GASP!* not actually caused by the Leftist/Socialist/Liberal media after all! Shocking!

    All sarcasm aside, this isn't the first incident of this book being pulled. It was removed from a another school for being a "real downer." Good heavens.

  2. Hmmm..... according to various news articles, the offending passage that started this pathetic brouhaha is:

    There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!

  3. Ah, I see.

    Hahaha, that's rather cute, really. I think everyone with XX chromosomes has thought that at some point. But is that it? Really? That's worth keeping such an important book away from children?

    I'll be working on the Alaska review today, sorry for the wait.