Given, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has since rescinded his plan to investigate 51 books found on library shelves, as originally reported by The Frontier. But the fact that he even considered it should send shivers down all of our spines.
And it wasn’t just contemporary books that have gone without thorough review or discussion. Also included on O’Connor’s hit list were classics like Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Lord of the Flies. There are also some real headscratchers on the list like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. And while it’s hilarious to think about some befuddled censor trying to digest Michel Houellebecq’s Whatever, how that even managed to make it onto the list is a mystery unto itself.
“We have to also look at things and decide for our community standards what is pornography?... And usually if a number of parents are shocked that a given photo or diagram is inappropriate, that should be reviewed and they should look at removing the use of that book or whatever,” O’Connor told The Frontier.
“A lot of the effort seems to be, in some circles it’s considered cool to expose kids to drawings of, say, homosexual sex in a diagram. And many parents, including me, disagree with that, whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual sex,” he said.
Also, who’s going to be the one to tell O’Connor that the vast majority of books on his list are chapter books, not picture books?
And while O’Connor’s list may have been scrapped, as previously discussed here, Senate Bill 1142, proposed by state Sen. Rob Standridge, which prohibits any discussion of sexual or gender identity on school library shelves and may result in up to a $10,000 fine if not pulled from them, is very much still on the books. And that’s a scarier story than anything Alvin Schwartz ever penned.