Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And it continues ....

The controversy regarding Newbery Award winner The Higher Power of Lucky continues. Today I read two more blog postings on the topic; one from Keir Graff at Booklist Online and another from Neil Gaiman's blog. Both are interesting and present a new point of view.

"I've decided that librarians who would decline to have a Newbery book in their libraries because they don't like the word scrotum are probably not real librarians (whom I still love unconditionally). I think they're rogue librarians who have gone over to the dark side." (Gaiman, 2/20/07)"

"This kind of stuff — censorship spurred by the use of a clinically appropriate word – just makes me want to crawl under my bed and stay there until our country grows up. It’s not surprising that other nations are confused by our behavior when we consider ourselves grown-up enough to wage war and yet are too terrified to discuss certain parts of our bodies just because they happen to normally be hidden by underwear." (Graff, 2/21/07)

Is continuing to discuss the issue only creating more furor? This is blog is not what anyone would call an "A-list" library blog, so I doubt I am causing much of a ripple in the blogosphere, but isn't it time to let sleeping dogs lie?

Clarification (2/26/07):

My question was placed a bit too close to the conclusion of the quotes and may have caused confusion (my bad). Both of the aforementioned blog posts present valid arguments and comments on the current controversy regarding the Newbery Award winner. And obviously I am not against adding my two cents into the fray because I have posted on this topic twice since asking if it was time to stop the discussion about the word and concentrate on the book and it's overall contribution as a Newbery winner.

Tags: , , , ,


Rebecca B. said...

I've also been reading a lot about this issue the last couple of days. Diane has more contact with children's lit then I do, plus she beat me to post. Librarians do have the charge of ordering (or not ordering) what they feel is appropriate for their libraries. However, purchasing or not purchasing a book based on one word (which is in at least one other book in the library - the dictionary) seems rather unprofessional given that librarians are trained to use a host of factors in collection development. Obviously there are other redeeming qualities to this book since it's won such an award and those qualities deserve consideration.

As to the question of the discussion causing more furor, I don't know. The blogosphere isn't discussing as much as the main stream media and I doubt we've heard the last of it. A Pulitzer prize winner here in Cleveland wrote a column about this yesterday.

Keir said...

You ask a good question, Diane -- when we all jump on the controversy of the day, how helpful is it? In my own blog post, I was lamenting the attention paid to the issue (and the image of our country that it propagates) while simultaneously paying attention to the issue. In these days of fragmented media, when thousands of people are howling about the same thing, it can seem kind of ridiculous. And when the issues are slight (Britney's new 'do), I agree that it's clearly too much. But when the issues involve intellectual discourse -- insofar as we can say that debating whether to employ the proper word for a dog's scrotum constitutes intellectual discourse -- I say bring it on!