'Captain Underpants' Series Stars In This Year's Banned Book Week; Suck It, '50 Shades'
It's the American Library Association's Banned Books Week again, that time of year when we celebrate literacy's fight against the censorious prigs who make it their business to make sure that children and even adults are protected from BAD BOOKS. Not badly-written books, of course -- those are doing just fine. Many of the books that end up getting pulled from school and public libraries are actually quite good, but they have content that makes some people nervous, like sex or bad words. Not infrequently, they include some genuine classics, like The Grapes of Wrath (burned in 1939 in East St. Louis, and banned many other places) or Slaughterhouse-Five (also burned in Drake, North Dakota, in 1973, and banned most recently -- 2011 -- from the high school in Republic, Missouri).
This year's list of the ten most-challenged books has a new #1: the entire Captain Underpants series, a goofy superhero parody written and drawn by Dav Pilkey. These books are challenged for pretty much the same reason that they're hugely popular with the under-12 set: They are filled to bursting with mild potty humor. That's it: poots, toots, boogers and the eponymous hero, Captain Underpants, the Waistband Warrior. But apparently they're threatening enough to all that is decent and holy that they have had to be removed from libraries nationwide, because they contain "offensive language" and are "unsuited for [their] age group." That last one is just plain wrong, as any parent of a ten-year-old knows -- the more honest complaint might be that they're suited entirely too well to their target audience. Also, some parents object to the deliberate misspellings in the main characters' homemade comic books, because they fear that their precious punkins will be tainted by loose standards -- a complaint that no longer seems to dog Huckleberry Finn.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.