Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Changing History


So, yesterday I posted about a school board in Oklahoma not bowing down to a couple of wingnuts who wanted a book banned because it featured a couple of minor characters with two mommies. and, for a second there, I thought to myself, Self? Are things changing? I mean, Oklahoma is changing, maybe everywhere is changing.

Then I woke up.

And heard about Virginia, and Culpepper County [sidenote: does it get more "bumpkin"than Culpeppah Countay?] where public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.

The book in question, "The Diary of a Young Girl: the Definitive Edition," was published on the 50th anniversary of Frank's death in a concentration camp, and will not be used in the future, according to James Allen, director of instruction for the Culpepper County school system because the school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints about instructional materials. Allen said that the more recent version will remain in the school library, but only the earlier version will be used in classes.

The version of the diary in question includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original edition, first published in Dutch in 1947. Some of the extra passages detail Anne Frank's emerging sexual desires, while other parts of the book include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together.

What people seem to forget is that, even though she was a prisoner, living and dying in a concentration camp, Anne Frank was still a girl, with the same thoughts and feelings and questions about sex that every young girl, and boy, has from time to time. and she probably got a little angry at her mother every so often, and wrote nasty things in her diary. See, that's what she was writing: a diary.

Anne Frank didn't know her thoughts would ever see the light of day, and had no way of ever knowing the impact her diary would have on anyone who's ever read it. And now, thanks to asshats like those up in Culpepper County, the students in Virginia will never know the real girl, but will be taught the sanitized version of her too-short life.

2 comments:

froggy said...

You know the question they never ask - is how did my gay friends and relatives become gay without the help of children's literature?

Kyle said...

I saw this too Bob. Perfect response. They will never know the real Anne and that is a shame.