Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Don't tell Cato....

Cato, at Delmarva Dealings, has discovered that (a) the Pittsville Elementary School has graphic novels [aka comix] and that (b) a 9 year old can check out Dragonball and take it home:

Many years ago, when I was a child, public schools had librarians. These kind, quiet ladies made sure that our schools were stocked with material that would help us learn AND was appropriate for our age. Today, at least in Wicomico County, schools don’t have librarians. They have MEDIA SPECIALISTS; and, as I have recently discovered, they don’t worry about making sure that what goes on the school library shelf is appropriate for the children they are charged with helping to educate.

A couple of weeks ago, a nine year old child came home from Pittsville Elementary School with a library book. It was a “graphic novel” (which is really a comic book bound as a book) called Dragon Ball. Fortunately, that child’s parent took the time to look through the book. What she found caused her enough distress that she paid a visit to her county councilman – Joe Holloway.

WARNING – The balance of this article contains pictures and attachments that many may (and should) find offensive.

Cato is massively offended by the fact that Wicomico County school librarians don't read every word of every book they put on the shelves [presumably including dictionaries].

I am just hoping that nobody tells him that kids can already watch Dragonball Z on television, and that--worldwide--the whole Dragonball franchise is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed examples of manga/anime of all time:

Dragon Ball is one of the most popular manga series of its time, and it continues to enjoy high readership today. By 2000, more than 126 million copies of its tankĊbon volumes had been sold in Japan alone. By 2007, this number had grown to pass 150 million. It is the "quintessential mainstream manga" driven by an unending story. Its immense popularity resulted in the series being continuously extended, first through the use of acrobatic devices that regularly kept the series from falling into the routine characters and story lines, then by having the central characters surpass death itself using miraculous devises. In Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subculture Takashi Murakami notes that Dragon Ball's "never-ending cyclical narrative moves forward plausibly, seamlessly, and with great finesse." Goku's journey and his ever growing strength resulted in the character winning "the admiration of young boys everywhere". On several occasions the Dragonball anime series has topped Japan's DVD sales.

In a survey conducted by Oricon in 2007 between 1,000 people, Goku, the main character of the franchise, ranked first place as the "Strongest Manga character of all time." Manga artists, such as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, have stated that Goku inspired their series' main protagonists as well series structure. When TV Asahi conducted an online poll for the top one hundred anime, the Dragon Ball series came in place twelve. The first episode of Dragon Ball Kai earned a viewer ratings percentage of 11.3, ahead of One Piece and behind Crayon Shin-Chan. Although following episodes had lower ratings, Kai was still mantained as one of the most viewed anime series from Japan.

Ah, but none of that matters--either in nearby Maryland or Wassilla, Alaska--if somebody, anybody, is offended by it being in a school library, then it's time to burn either books, crosses, or librarians. Maybe all three.

On the other hand, this could just be how Cato decided to celebrate Banned Books Week with a spoof post.

Here's a hint for concerned parents: don't like what your children are reading? Then you check their book bags and engage in your own in-home censorship. But leave my own children's reading choices [and my choices as a parent] out of your family business.

Oh, and Cato? For the record: my son first read Dragonball manga when he was seven years old, not nine. I did not notice it create a rush on his part to masturbate in the bathroom or pull the panties off girls in his class. He thought those parts were pretty stupid. Probably should have stopped him from wasting his time on comix, however, because today in the eighth grade he's not reading on grade level.

He's been tested as reading on a junior college level.

Damn comix.


G Rex said...

I used to read comics like mad...and I kept them. Now they're worth thousands! Wolverine #1 through #76 anyone? Anyway, I'm sure your offspring doesn't appreciate the allegation he tossed off to manga comics. That's just weird.

Hube said...

Not so fast, Rex. What condition are they in?

G Rex said...

Bagged, Hube.

pandora said...

My motto: Let them READ what they want to READ. BTW, my poor 10th and 7th graders aren't reading on grade level either!

Honestly, I never thought I'd be telling my kids to "put that book down, turn off the lights and go to bed!"

Oh, and they loved the Manga stuff. Steve, has your son discovered Elfquest?

Hube said...

Get 'em CGC graded, Rex, and they'll fetch you a bundle!

G. A. Harrison said...

Steve -

I'm quite disappointed that you would resort to such an obvious, and poorly constructed STRAW MAN. I did not, nor ever would advocate the banning, much less burning, of any book.

However, I do not believe that this material is appropriate for a child and certainly does not belong in a school library. You do. That's fine. I'm not advocating that the state seize your child because you do.

As for librarians reading every volume before it goes on the shelves - ABSOLUTELY! A certain percentage of those volumes are screened at the board level, so that takes care of them. I don't think we need to worry about dictionaries or encyclopedia either. Unfortunately, it's not practical to have them review every volume already on the shelves. Therefore, you may see more outraged citizens as they discover what is already there.

Good try though. Do you advocate that we legalize crack as well? I thought that you were more of a libertarian than a LIBERTARIAN. Fortunately, we are trying to stop anarchy reigning down the peninsula.

PlanetaryJim said...

This tempest in a tea pot is an excellent reason for parents to home school their children. Or unschool them.

It seems to me that children mature at different rates, just as they learn at differing rates. Let parents choose what they want their children to read, and stop forcing all adults to pay for the education of the little brats.

Let's not burn any books, but do let's sell the public schools. Make them over into bars or brothels or something useful that the private sector chooses. There's no reason that Cato should have to pay taxes to subsidise Steve's son's interest in Dragonball Z.