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Passions in Poetry

Would you let your teen read Howl?

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Brad
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0 posted 01-23-2001 08:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

A friend of mine sent me this; I thought I'd share it and see what reaction it brings. It's an issue that I may have to deal with in a few years (and I don't know what I'd do) but I'd like to know everyone's opinion. It seems to me a number of issues are confronted here, not only the title question but also the nature of education (value versus significance) and teacher discretion.

In other words, even if you agree that Howl should not be taught in high schools, did the teacher do enough to prevent the kind of actions that might be taken against him? How does one deal with this?

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Story last updated at 12:53 a.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Teacher faces action over poem 'Howl'


By Laura Diamond
Times-Union staff writer

Amid protests that a poem was offensive, an English teacher at a Jacksonville high school was prohibited Monday from teaching the work that professors describe as crucial in understanding modern American poetry.

And the Forrest High teacher who distributed the poem, Jon Nerf, is being investigated by the school system. Superintendent John Fryer said yesterday it is likely some action will be taken against Nerf, but stressed it was too soon to say what it would be.

School Board Chairwoman Susan Wilkinson said she doubted Nerf would be fired.

Last week, Nerf gave copies of Howl by Allen Ginsberg to the 55 students in his Advanced Placement English classes. The course is for advanced students who take college-level work while in high school.

Written by the famous Beat generation poet in 1955, the ground-breaking poem attacks racism and the repression of sexual orientation and political and academic ideas prevalent during the 1950s. But it is the graphic description of homosexual acts that offended some members of the community.

"It is X-rated," said the Rev. Gene Cross of Wesconnett Freewill Baptist Church. His daughter Christie is in Nerf's class.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this doesn't belong in schools," Cross said. "I built picket fences and church walls to protect my daughter from homosexuality in this raw and filthy manner."

Nerf, who has been at Forrest for 12 years, said he was advised by Duval Teachers United attorney David Hertz not to comment on the issue.

Forrest Principal Walter Carr said Nerf has a policy where students who find an assignment offensive may receive another one without being penalized. Of the 55 students in Nerf's advanced English classes this year, two asked for another assignment, including Cross' daughter, Carr said.

Nerf also sent a letter to parents at the beginning of the year explaining that students will be reading material that some may find questionable. The letter listed several works but did not include Howl, Carr said.

Howl has been hailed by many poets and professors as one of the most important works in modern American poetry.

"If you want to understand the development of the modern American poetry you have to read Howl," said James Smethurst, professor of English at the University of North Florida.

Smethurst described the poem as "revolutionary." The work inspired other poets who where trying to find a voice for American poems, he said.

"I would say there is not a single poet that has not been touched by Ginsberg's Howl," Smethurst said. "Some rebelled against it and others have been inspired by it. . . . If you want to know how American poetry got to be where it is, you have to read Howl."

Still, Cross said he did not like his daughter being asked to read the poem and called Carr and others in the school system to complain. Cross also faxed copies of the work to members of his church, many of whom also called Carr to complain.

Carr said he received calls from people who both opposed and supported the poem, which can be found on the Internet.

"We are a public high school and our real objective is to get students exposed to a wide range of works," Carr said. "If we were a college we would probably stand up and fight. But we are a high school and if something is this offensive to people, there are other poems for students to read. The students have plenty of time to read the work later in life."

Howl was not an approved curriculum item to be used in class, but teachers have the discretion to add materials they find relevant. Carr said the advanced English class has more leniency because it is college level but added that teachers must understand they are still working with high school students.

The school system has a policy where questionable materials can be reviewed by an instructional materials panel. The panel includes teachers, parents and administrators. The panel was not asked to review Howl.

And while students will not be reading the poem, the situation is not over.

Nerf has been interviewed by school system staff and a report is being completed on what disciplinary action should be taken against him. Fryer said a decision will be made within a couple of days.

"Academic freedom is one thing, but what we tell our students is another," Fryer said. "Our high schools need to reflect our community values."

Cross, who filed the complaint, said he trusts the School Board to make the right decision regarding Nerf.

"I don't want to attack the man," Cross said. "We just wanted the material removed. But, personally I don't think he needs to be in the classroom."

Ryan
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1 posted 01-23-2001 10:00 PM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

Yes.  I really want to say more, but I don't have the time now.  Suffice it to say, this is one of the few things that would make me ditch classes for a week or so and protest down there (the other being electing a moron to the white house, but that doesn't belong here, does it?).

Ryan


"ah, little girls make shadows on the sidewalk shorter than the shadow of death in this town--" - Jack Kerouac
Jamie
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2 posted 01-23-2001 11:32 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

I for one would not particulary care to have my daughter reading that particular poem in the high school enviroment... this particular teacher shouldn't be reprimanded for his actions as much as for his inaction. I find greater fault in his not having the poem approved for the class than I do for assigning it. He had to know it would be controversial, so you ask yourself; what was his reason for not getting approval? Because he knew it would be rejected or perhaps he wanted the attention for some reason. This isn't one of those border line things.. it is pretty much a no brainer as far as his knowing he should ran it by someone first. Of course Brad, that is just my current opinion.  


Jamie

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Swamp了aeryie
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3 posted 01-24-2001 12:28 AM       View Profile for Swamp了aeryie   Email Swamp了aeryie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Swamp了aeryie

On a personal or individual home enviroment,i would say it depends on the child whether or not i would allow this poem to be read. Some kids are stable and sensible,and capable of drawing their own conclusions reasonably,some kids are wild,reckless,and a bit impulsive,that kind of teenager is less likely to appreciate the revolutionary and historical value of howl and immediately turn to the steamiest most contreversial parts of the book.If i thought my child would be able to read it and veiw it objectively for what it is,well then have at it.
   As for high school readings of it....i'm a little so-so on that. In a basic high school course i think i would say deffinately not!! But i do beleive it should ABSOLUTELY be a part of college curriculum as a deffinate classic of american literature and history. That was an important time period for revolution and for literature and howl was a landmark peice of literature that should be covered by college students...therefore i would have to say that a college prepratory high school course COULD include it,i don't know if it absolutley  SHOULD be included,but the way i look at it they're going to or ought to run into it eventually somewhere along the college route.
  Now for my veiw as a teenager (because i am one). I was always raised with a huge access to printed literature,i was taught to appreciate it and to enjoy it. I was also taught to explore my surroundings on my own level,not to take anything for face value,and not to take the word of anyone else,but to explore the subject in my own mind and make my own decisions indepentently. Also i was exposed (constructively) to all walks of life,my parents educated me about the things i would encounter in this world,i have not lead a particularly sheltered life(although short),my eyes have been opened,and in my opinion it was for my betterment. Howl to me,was very important,and i can't say i felt terribly corrupted after reading it,although high moral standards have been and are instilled in me,i veiwed those passages objectively and have made my own decisions concerning it. It's just like going to art school and drawing naked people,i mean,yeah their naked,but it's a necessary part of your education. It is imperative to be familiar with human anatomy,you have to know what the body looks like without clothes,to be able to draw it completely WITH clothes. But like i said,i think it depends a great deal on where the mind of the student it. If it's seriously considering an educational experience,well it's going to be benificial,but if the student's mind is more concerned with sex,than with their education,well then it may not be quite so effective........
Ryan
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4 posted 01-24-2001 12:47 AM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

What I find ironic about the objection the reverend made is that he's not objecting to any of the truly controversial stuff.  He's talking about the stuff that refers to homosexuality.  If he wants to argue that the poem is corrupting, at least attack the parts of the poem that can be considered corrupting.  Of course, this opens up arguments about whether homosexuality is "corrupting."  I'm not going to get into that other than saying that I don't feel it is.  So what we have here is single reverand/parent trying to force his religious views on an entire school.  The high school I went to had a incident exactly like this several years ago, although it was in reference to Franco Zeffirelli's movie "Romeo and Juliet."  Fortunately, the district was a liberal one, and the school board essentially laughed him out of the building during the hearing.  This man has no right to force his views upon the school.  The teacher took plenty of action by providing alternatives for students who felt uncomfortable with reading "Howl."  When you realize that the reverands daughter was not forced to read the poem, it becomes obvious how out of place the reverand is.

I find the whole incident incredibly sad, and I find it more sad that the district is letting it happen.  I think what we have here is a prime example of why the separation of church and state in education is desirable.

If this all sounds incoherent, it's because even the thought of this article being true angers me beyond belief, and I really don't want to do anything but scream in rage at the stupidity of it all.

Ryan


"ah, little girls make shadows on the sidewalk shorter than the shadow of death in this town--" - Jack Kerouac
jbouder
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5 posted 01-24-2001 01:03 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

If my child was participating in an AP course, I would not be in opposition to his reading "Howl".  I would, however, be involved in discussing the content with him and would want to know how the content is being interpreted and presented to my son in the classroom.  If the teaching is done intelligently and responsibly (and you KNOW I would make certain of this), I would not dispute the reading of "Howl" in this context.

Jim

P.S.  What on earth is a "Free-Will Baptist"???  Isn't that something like a square-circle?  Sounds like a T-U-L-I-P without the petals.
mark woolard
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6 posted 01-25-2001 01:30 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

ok.  a couple comments.

first, Ryan:  

with all due humility and poetic love i say GET OFF IT MAN!  ". . .single reverend/parent trying to force his views on an entire school."  NO.  he is simply stating his world view and calling it like it is.  he didn't say everyone had to feel this way--and if that was somehow inferred, i'm sure he would apologize. . .it would be just as easy for me to say you were telling everyone on this forum to embrace and condone homosexuality as the only sexual preference.  see--it's easy to read between the lines.  just because the man is a reverend the whole world freaks out!  freedom of expression/opinion are strongly fought for until any man/woman of God opens their mouth.  then they are quickly silenced by paranoid "freedom fighters" hiding under the blanket of personal fredom.

sorry to to throw a fit.  i'm just tired of the double standard.  sure.  the reverend could have found better words to express his opinion, but then again, if we demanded everybody to rephrase their thoughts, HOWL would not exist (yes, yes.  i know about the "hearing").

also, since we're ambiguously discussing thought control, i ask you this:  why do you think the press decided to quote the reverend in the first place?  were they attempting to sway the public to agree with him?  of course not! the reverend's comment is out of place!  his comment helps their agenda:  "morality bad"

"square circle"  ha. funny.  you're saying christianity leaves no room for "free will", but don't realize you use yours by feeling that way.

now to the poem itself:

at sixteen, my english teacher gave me a photocopy of HOWL because he identified my appreciation of verse (and in a class of twenty cowboys, that was a rare thing).  since then, i have cherished mr. ginsberg's work with fervor.  each time i read HOWL, the voice is louder, and the imagery more haunting, painting an aspect of the human condition with knowledge and zeal.

would i let my teenager read HOWL?  it depends on what kind of teenager i had.  as S.F. said, some teenagers would not appreciate the poem for what it is.  and as i think back, the full impact of HOWL was not appreciated by me at the age of sixteen.  i was most concerned with the images of drugs, sex, cities, and jazz--what sixteen year old male isn't?

since the class was an advanced variety, we can only assume that the pupils could have handled the content responsibly.  the teacher gave alternatives to those who found it offensive.  i see no need for extreme disciplinary reprimand.

bottom line:  i don't see this as an issue of thought control or censorship.  it's more an issue of personal conviction.  i can only assume the teacher in question was not studying HOWL with the intent to "dirty" the minds of his class.  he was studying the aspects of the poem that make it a true masterpiece.  

this whole thing is a definate tragedy.  if the  world could accept freedom of expression exclusively, there would be no problems.  unfortunately, though, this is not the case.  

Springer-esp "final thought":

ain't it odd how the question of the validity of HOWL to teenagers turned into a vindictive assault on expression in general?  makes me wonder if anyone knows what they're really saying.  freedom is for everyone.  isn't that what ol' al was trying to say?
Masked Intruder
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7 posted 01-25-2001 02:07 PM       View Profile for Masked Intruder   Email Masked Intruder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Masked Intruder

Hey Mark!  How's it going?

I have a few quick questions that should clear up my interpretations of your arguments.  

First of all, What religion are you?

Secondly, How old are you?

Finally, Where did you grow up?
mark woolard
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8 posted 01-25-2001 02:26 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

i will respond by asking you the same questions.  

interpret my arguements as they are.  

what bearing do my age, faith, and background have on your interpretation?
Masked Intruder
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9 posted 01-25-2001 03:48 PM       View Profile for Masked Intruder   Email Masked Intruder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Masked Intruder

Mark,

I am wholly agnostic, 18 years old, and grew up on a farm outside of a small town in Northwestern USA.

If I were to respond to the primary question, then the answers above would certainly have great credence on how that primary question was answered.  Because I am agnostic, I feel that religion should in no way affect state.  And since the high school in question is state funded, I feel that the reverend in question should have no effect on the school or what it teaches.  

Since I am 18, meaning teenager, I would be one of the first to stand up against anything that may detract from my life.  In this instance, removing Howl from a curriculum because it states things I see, hear and feel everday.  And believe it or not, probably ninety percent of the teenage population is the same way.  So unless someone can in some way cut out the parts of our (teenagers) lives that we find enjoyable, then why bother trying to cut out a part of the adult life that we are searching for?  

The third question doesn't particularly matter to me, I was just wondering where you grew up is all. *Grins*

So, in order for me to understand the psychological aspects of your statement, I really would like to know the answers to my first two questions.  Actually, I have a few more questions as well.

Do you have any children?  How many children were in your family when you grew up?  Were your parents strict?  Are you a strict parent?  

-me
mark woolard
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10 posted 01-25-2001 04:59 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

hey M.I.  i can understand the need for knowledge in a psychological background.  sure.  i didn't respond initially because i'm a paranoid freak, and felt the questions had no relavence to the discussion (and still don't, really).  but since you offered yours, i will respond accordingly.

24.  no religion.  small midwest farming town.

no kids.  unmarried.

also, before you proceed, let me add that i don't believe HOWL should be pulled from the shelves or restricted to "adults only".  if this is what the reverend was implying, i disagree.  i believe it is a parent's active responsibility to be aware of their child's lives, and should discuss logicly the content of said poem, instead of banning it.

as far as seperation of church and state go, i have no real knowledge, but am going to briefly beef-up on it so as not to be too naive.

i look forward to your comments!

mark.
jbouder
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11 posted 01-26-2001 12:38 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Mark:

You didn't get the joke and you are mis-stating my position.  Baptists very often have strong, Calvinistic theological leanings.  Some call them "5-Point Calvinists" based on an early "TULIP" acrostic used as a Calvinist polemic against Arminianism.

Total Depravity -- man is totally unable to redeem himself to God.

Unconditional Election -- God chooses who He is pleased to choose, not based on merit.

Limited Atonement -- Christ's atonement is particular to those God gave Him to save.

Irresistible Grace -- People come when they "hear" the inward call of the Holy Spirit.

Perseverence of the Saints -- Christians will remain in God's hand until they are glorified.

Do you see the irony yet?  A Baptist generally places man's will in respect to God in a subordinate position.  Evidently, the "Free-Will Baptist" decided to keep the Baptist name but pluck the TULIP.  

As far as your argument is concerned, I agree with you that I think there is more to the story than has been reported.  That is the nature of popular media.

Masked Intruder:

I don't think the "keeping church out of state" argument holds much water.  Have you ever read the US Supreme Court's "Lemon Test"?  It is a poorly constructed test but if you look it up, you may understand a little better what the highest court in the land considers to be a violation of the Constitutional Establishment Clause.  

The reverend obviously believes the content of "Howl" to be obscene.  Quite honestly, I find some of the content to be offensive.  I think the question is whether the material may be harmful to a young reader.  Maybe it could be, maybe it is not.  As a parent, however, I would assume the responsibility of deciding whether it is appropriate for my son to read the book or not.  Furthermore, if a school board decided that the book was not appropriate, that is their prerogative.  I have more important battles to fight.  If I want my son to read "Howl", he can read it at home.

More later.

Jim

Ryan
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12 posted 01-26-2001 01:37 PM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

So, I've gone back over my previous post, and I think it comes off as more of a rant than anything else.  That's not exactly what I want.

Mark, maybe I did come across as a little overzealous in my comments toward the reverend.  It's simply that like I said, this is an event I've gone through, and it really strikes me wrong.  I still believe that this is an issue of censorship and forcing one's beliefs on others.  But I think I might be able to address those points better after I respond to Jim's last statement.  I'll be back.


Jim:  Hi, how's it going?  Been awhile.  I think I was the one that first brought up the separation of church and state thing.  I did it rather hastily, and, in retrospect, probably shouldn't have.  In response to the rest of your argument, I believe the crux of it comes when you say "young readers."  I do not believe that the students involved in this particular case are young readers.  Because it is an AP class, I will assume it is most likely a junior or senior English class.  This would put the age range anywhere from 16 to 18, and probably more 17 and 18's then 16's.  What we have is a group of students who can do things from driving to voting.  At this age, students (especially those in AP courses), most likely have the maturity to decide what they want to read and what they don't want to read.  I believe we have to realize, that as students reach this age, it is no longer the parents' choice on what students can read.  Am I wrong on this?  I'm basing most of what I say on my own feelings at that age (not so long ago), and my experiences in the AP and Honors classes I took.

Mark:  Hey, back again.  I think that what I just said in response to Jim might clarify my remarks about the reverend trying to force his beliefs onto others.  Each student should be able to decide whether his beliefs would allow him to read "Howl."  The reverend, based on his beliefs, may choose to not want to read it.  He should not be able to say, based on his beliefs, that nobody in the school may read it.  This, as I see it, is forcing his beliefs onto others.  I do believe that censorship is an issue in this case, but I don't believe that it is the issue around which Brad asked this question.  Perhaps another topic on the censorship facet of this case would be interesting.  Well, I think that I've said all I want to say right now.  Thanks for the taking the time to read everybody, and thanks Brad for the interesting discussion.

Ryan

PS  I found the original copy of this article on pure accident.  It is archived on the Jacksonville Newspaper homepage.  I then did a search for all year 2000 articles that had the word "Howl" in them.  That gave me some interesting follow-up articles on the topic.  If anyone wants the link to the original copy of the article, let me know, and I'll get it to you.


"ah, little girls make shadows on the sidewalk shorter than the shadow of death in this town--" - Jack Kerouac
jbouder
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13 posted 01-26-2001 02:06 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ryan:

It has been a while ... nice chattin' with you again.  In my first response, I pointed out that I would not have a problem with my son reading "Howl" in the context Brad described.  If my son can participate in an AP course, then I think he may be mature enough to handle the subject matter.  As a parent, I would want to know what my son is reading and hope he would feel comfortable talking through some of the ideas expressed in whatever he read.  When you are a parent, let me know if you agree with me.

Later.

Jim

P.S.  I have no problems with people trying to force their opinions and beliefs on me ... as long as they don't mind me taking them to task on sloppy reasoning and regurgitated rhetoric. Why can't everyone be so open minded?    
mark woolard
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14 posted 01-26-2001 02:27 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

hello.

jim:  (blush)i've never heard of that, and yes, i do see the irony.  sorry to be so snide.  thanks for clarifying.


ryan:  after re-reading the reverend's comments ("doesn't take a rocket scientist") i can understand where censorship could be an issue, and stand firmly against such action.  the reverend's quote is laughable, for sure.  picket fences and church walls are often seen as something to climb over.

thanks all for the brain lube!  see ya'll next time!
Stephanos
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15 posted 01-26-2001 11:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Wow,

what a bedlam I've wandered into!  I read all of this late, and regret not getting in on the fun sooner.  However I will spill a few belated words anyway if anyone perchance might come back to read.

First of all,  I had never read Howl until now.  This sparked enough curiosity to go look it up on the web so that I would know exactly what I was talking about.

Would I want my son or daughter to read this poem in School?  Absolutely not.  This is my opinion.  I have reasons.  First of all, I do not laud all avante gard trends in poetry as "ground-breaking" and as greatly needed strides.  Personally I feel that many modern poetic trends have done much harm to poetry as a whole.  Am I a stuck in the past traditionalist?  No.  Am I anti-progressive?  No.  I have simply seen elements in poetry which have been magnified or abused and have launched much of poetic expression quite out of reach of the common reader/ writer.  What are these elements you ask? ... using shock value more than aesthetic value,  using eccentricity to impress rather than to express, and glorifying negativity and existential despair with grating words and over-sated phrases.  The "average" reader is made to feel stupid or un-artistic, or even unspiritual if  he or she can't understand, or enjoy what is often written.  It's bogus.  Most of what is written in these veins is simply nonsensicle and undisciplined (not always the writers).. noncoherence for it's own sake.  The writers themselves don't understand it.   (I can endure obscurity's transient presence if it is there for a reason.  He is a guest, not the master of the house we call poetry).  
However, this is my opinion.  I cannot agree to have it excluded from a classroom for that reason alone.  I could only hope the instructor would see things similarly.  If not, I do not hate him.  If you disagree with me, I am still your poetic brother and mean no offense.

There are other reasons which I feel stronger about which transcend the realm of mere opinion.  This poem simply displayed vulgarity for vulgarity's sake.  There is a point where painting nude figures is abandoned for taking nude snap shots for porno magazines. . . but you can no longer call it art at this point.  It's pornography plain and simple.  In this example, it's usually clearly defined.  If you want nude art, you go to the appropriate sources.  If you want porno, you go to porn shops or wherever.  But sadly anyone can write anything they want as long as it has some line breaks and stick the all inclusive placard of "poetry" above it and it will be accepted as such.  We can still pass of what is unfitting for expression and call it good expression.

I also, like the father mentioned who happens to be an ordained minister, have convictions and beliefs about what is right and wrong in expression based on the teachings of God and Christ.  And it would be wrong to say it is just the homosexual issue.  Beyond just that, there are many, many, many people who feel it is wrong to portray graphic sexual content in this way.  Don't pick on the reverend.  It  is not  as issue of one man pushing his views on others.  There are alot of grass-roots feelings out there that are kindred to his... though they may not be as vocal.  Is getting a teacher to exclude something because it is morally offensive a breach in "separation of church and state"?  If you recall the context of our national mood when the constitution was written, you will remember that we were a bunch of mostly religious people who were coming out of tyrannical government that imposed it's views on the "churches".  The State told the churches what to believe.  The protection was not the other way around.  The idea is separation of church and state, not the separation of state and God (which is our contemporary convenient atheistic version).  The churches were to worship as their consciences before God permitted them... No bullying from the King.  It's out of context today to scream "separation of ch..." every time a person expresses religious convictions.  If that were how it was meant back then, we would have never even had "In God We Trust" stamped on our money. "  

To sum it up.  This teacher should have been held in check.  There should have been someone to run this poem by before it was made a part of curriculum, especially when it was obviously a controversial piece with graphic and ribald content.  

(don't hang me!)

your friend,  Steve.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 01-27-2001).]
mark woolard
Member
since 01-02-2001
Posts 148


16 posted 01-27-2001 04:46 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

howdy!

first paragraph--shock value:  i can see that.  i dig HOWL cuz it was the first of its kind i read.  other smut makes me laugh (even Burroughs!).  it seems everyone is trying to top ol' Ginsberg.

Vulgarity for vulgarity's sake:  souds like a quote from my dad.  you're a smart man!  as i grow older, i find my adolescent mind growing to fit this thought pattern.  i understand your statement of rediculousness.`

separation of church and state:  that was the general opinion i found among the people i asked about said topic, and the one i agree with.  how far we've come!

thanks for the words of clarity.

your faithful puppy dog,

mark.

Swamp了aeryie
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since 12-04-2000
Posts 395
fairyland....of course;)


17 posted 01-30-2001 02:50 PM       View Profile for Swamp了aeryie   Email Swamp了aeryie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Swamp了aeryie

stephanos you obviously didn't care muc for howl,but because it's your opinion that it is pornographic does not make it's historical value any less. You know in my american literature course i absolutely hated reading Daisy Miller by Henry James in fact i skipped the whole dang thing and just answered the questions (thank god for page notations beside each question *eg*) i absolutely do not care for any of his writing but the fact still stands that it was in that course because he was one of the foremost writers of that time and is essential to our history,just because i didn't care for his work does not mean it's not important. Likewise with howl,yes,you may not like it,yes you may call it pornography,but it still remains that no one had ever wrote like that before,NO ONE!! THAT is EXACTLY why howl is important,it was NEW,it was revolutionary then and it is important for that history to be remembered,it hailed an etire new generation an entire new outlook,a new era of american history. Yes mebe it is pornography,but it is also HISTORY. The nazis tortured human beings,starved them and burnt them up and it's an awful part of world history,but that does not mean we turn out backs to it and forget it ever happened because it was heinous gross immoral trecherous and undescribably terrible. No,even if it is absolutely revolting it MUST be remembered for one reason or another,whether it be for revolution like howl,or grotesque crime like the nazis,they are entirely differnt situations i know,but they have simulatrities. Both could be called immoral,both can be disgusting,both can be neinous,gross,but they also are remembered,because it must be remembered as historical.



Do i contradict myself?Very well i contradict myself.I contain multitudes.~walt whitman
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


18 posted 01-30-2001 03:29 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

just to answer your topic question...

YES

(sorry, no time to expound)
Dark Enchantress
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since 07-27-99
Posts 1460
meet Morgana


19 posted 02-16-2001 03:46 PM       View Profile for Dark Enchantress   Email Dark Enchantress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Dark Enchantress's Home Page   View IP for Dark Enchantress

I would. I would be mad if I was denied of this poem, "Howl". I think that the knowledge withheld in literary works should be shared with everyone. Yes, they're young, but would you rather have them read it in a poem at school where it can be discussed, or just see it or hear it someplace else? Someplace where they may not say anything if it did offend or hurt them mentally. And believe me...the possibility of that happening is very likely.

and in the end
we still pretend
the time we spend
not knowing when
we're finally free
and you could be
-NIN "The Wretched"

Angel of Darkness


[This message has been edited by Dark Enchantress (edited 02-16-2001).]
Allysa
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since 11-09-1999
Posts 2307
In an upside-down garden


20 posted 02-16-2001 04:01 PM       View Profile for Allysa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allysa

Being a teen myself, I can say I pretty much read whatever I wish. My mother still limits me on Danielle Steel, and some John Grisham (he rocks) and she won't let me read Helter Skelter which is about the Charles Manson trials, but she says I can read them in highschool. I think one should read what one's heart desires, and that's all I can say.

I wish people would stop telling me that I can do anything I want to. I never thought that I couldn't.

Ina
Senior Member
since 10-09-2000
Posts 1331
Quebec, Canada


21 posted 02-21-2001 07:48 PM       View Profile for Ina   Email Ina   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ina

I actually recoil with disgust when I hear of some sort of censorship in any form espaically the forbidding books in high schools. I live in Canada, we do not have such a great problem with censorship in schools. But homosexuality or anything of that sort and more MUST NOT be banned for teaching. We as a student have a right to learn about EVERYTHING that is happening in our world. Im not saying that all material is appropriate at my level, grade 8. but here we take risks and they dont get banned.
REgina

for those who say I'm their friend, u know me not well for if u did u would not stay around anymore to watch me fall away.
White Wolf
Member
since 09-18-99
Posts 384
Somewhere in the vast wastelan


22 posted 02-23-2001 07:10 AM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

I have to laugh at this topic. lol It is funny how one little thing can be twisted to so many different meanings. As far as the rev'rnd is concerned, I have a question. Why is it wrong for him to push his beliefs on everyone else? I don't feel it is wrong. After all where would we be today if people didn't push thier beliefs. Let me see, as far as Americans are concerned, there would be little to no women's rights, slavery would be a common practice, the rich would exploit the poor in every way, and if we go back alittle further, we would still be ruled by England. I think you get the idea. It is what makes us better as a people. If an idea doesn't work then it is changed until it does work and then it is revised. I just find it funny that so many are opposed to the very thing that has made us who we are. Or maybe it is just a double standard. Just think about it for a few minutes and see the hypocracy.

As far as the original question is concerned. I believe that if you want this problem solved what needs to happen, and at this rate it is not far off, teachers will need to be required to submit a curriculum to all of the parents of children and students of voting age in that school district to vote on it to approve it and any changes must also be approved. To me it sound obserd but it looks like the way things are going. My opinion is that any objectional material should be given to the parents for their approval. The only thing I can see that the teacher actually did do wrong was he didn't inform the parents of the reading material before the students were given a copy to deside for themselves. It did take away that parental right. But on the flip side if a parent doesn't want their child to read it what will stop the child from reading it anyway. Here is a personal example. My parents never let me attend the sex education classes in school and said they would teach me. Well they never did. So I did my own research, in the libraries and other such reading materials(I was a good boy). But I know some of my friends that learned the "hard" way, trial and error. I have one last comment in this area but I will say it later. Needless to say that if you restrict something from a teenager they will either learn it themselves without parental guidance or be ignorant of it.

The last part of this brought up an arguement that I can remember about "teaching" about homosexuality in sex education classes. My parents always told me it was wrong. They said it went against God's principles. That really isn't an answer. If you ask me, if you restict a child, in this day and age, from learning about homosexuality at school or teaching them yourself then you are setting them up to either find out by expierementation or by what the other kids say. I can't remember why I brought this up but I think it relation to the original post somehow but I am failing to remember it now.

Anyways, I think I have said enough for now.


The White Wolf

PS The last paragraph in no way refects how I feel about homosexuality. I believe that everyone has the right to be whattever they want to be, whether they(or you) believe it is a choice or not. Personally I am not a homosexual. I have nothing against them. In fact I have a little rule about this. You can hit on me once and I will take no offense and let you know. The second time, well let's just hope there will be no second time. No offense was intended. If offense was taken I apologize now for it.
Moon Dust
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since 06-11-99
Posts 2250
Skelmersdale, UK


23 posted 02-24-2001 09:34 PM       View Profile for Moon Dust   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moon Dust

I don't know I dont have a teen

~FKA Maria Byrne~

 
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