Archive for July, 2011

That’s right, it’s banning book time!

Back on the 15th of July, Channelview ISD went ahead and banned The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby because it encourages children to say “poo poo head.”  The mother in question (who won’t be named here, but do feel free to read the article here) basically commented that the book was “gross” and “disgusting” because “Who wants to talk about feces?”

Well, from the fact that her son (in first grade) read it and then called another child “poo poo head,” I’m guessing that her son is one of those who wants to talk about feces.  In fact, I think just about first grade boy would join that line, and, in fact, I think that a number of first grade girls would, too.  The fact that the book is sold by Scholastic tells me that it has a market.  (In fact, it’s a series.)

I think, actually, that the question is “Who *doesn’t* want to talk about feces?”

But let’s take it further…

Who doesn’t want to talk about rape?

Well, apparently that would be a professor of management at Missouri State (also not named here, but check out this article here…)

A book has been banned in Missouri because it, horrifyingly, tried to make it clear that a teenage girl being raped is a bad thing.  To be fair, he doesn’t think that’s what the book is about.  In fact, the article notes that he classified the book as “soft-core pornography.”  The author of the book (Speak) argued that for the complainant’s characterizing a sexual assault as titillating is “at best a gross misread of the book and at worst a disturbing revelation” of his mental state.

So what can we do about it?

Read the banned books.

Give the banned books to friends and family.

Stand up and attend any local meetings when people try to ban books.  (In the Missouri case, the meeting was attended only by the board members, the complainant, two school administrators, and a reporter.  No number of attendees was provided for the Channelview case, but I have to think that if there was an opposing viewpoint, perhaps there might have been a better outcome.)

It’s time we let the schools (and others) know that books are not for banning.  They’re for reading.



There’s an app for that…

Posted: July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

So as a recent participant in Slutwalk Houston, I was very interested to see this article on The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Apparently, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, with the Department of Health and Human Services, decided that they would release an app to help stop sexual assault and rape.  They are asking for people to design it and submit it to the contest.

The purpose of the app in plain speak?  It is meant to let women set up friends and emergency contacts for check-ins (silent alarms) for when they go into high risk situations.  And then, just in case that fails, the women will be able to get access to information about dealing with the assault or rape.

The article includes a quote from Kimber J. Nicoletti-Martinez, the director of multicultural efforts to end sexual assault at Purdue University.  She said that  “an app that calls on female students to take preventative measures has its shortcomings. It relies on women recognizing when they are at risk and does not change the attitude that the burden to avoid assault is on women.”

So, once again, we’ve decided that women are at fault when they are raped or assaulted.  Damn them for not knowing when they are at risk!  Why aren’t they carrying their spare tire?

Seriously, I’m glad to see that the government is finally taking rape on a college campus as a serious crime and not just as a prank, but there has to be a better way to handle it.  Put the responsibility where it belongs, firmly on the heads of the rapists.

Time Enough

Posted: July 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Someone I know was foolish enough to post a quote – “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  And my father responded with a comment about places where he used to work with the motto “We don’t have time to do it right.  But we have time to do it over.”

So which one is right?

Well, when it comes to students, it seems to me that sometimes there is only time to do it over.  Like when a deadline looms, and students foolishly believe that it’s better to beg forgiveness for a poorly done job than ask permission for an extension.

Or maybe instead they just decide to submit the “wrong file” and get surprised when it wasn’t the “right” one.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been on both sides of that one.  I’ve been the student who made an honest mistake (which is why I have a naming convention I now follow, not adding my name onto my submission until it’s the final version just to make sure it’s the right one).  And I’ve been the instructor, trying to figure out if I had a student just as clumsy as me or just lying to avoid getting that zero.  I can’t always assume the student is honest or dishonest, so I have to try to figure it out.  Am I always right?  Who knows.  Until we have a built-in lie detector in the web classrooms, I probably will never be sure.

But to get back to the point – the point is that sometimes there really is more time to do it over than do it right the first time.  At least if you’re in school.