Father Wants "Fahrenheit 451" Banned, Misses Irony

As I've noted in other posts, there's an effort by some on the right to ban books that promote 'dangerous ideas.'

Here's another example, though this one has some encouraging developments. Via ABC 13, Houston:

A book about banning books is under fire. A Montgomery County family wants the classic novel "Fahrenheit 451" pulled from the high school reading list. But some students are working to show support for the book.

"Fahrenheit 451" was first published 53 years ago. It's said to be named for the temperature at which paper burns. In this world no free thought was allowed and books were destroyed by fire.

Two weeks ago at Caney Creek High School, a tenth grade English class was given "Fahrenheit 451" as a reading assignment. But Diana Verm stopped after a few pages. She said she was offended by "the cussing in it and the burning of the Bible."

Diana complained to her father. She was given an alternate reading assignment, but her dad is pushing the issue. It is ironic in the truest sense that a fictional book on book banning is now the target of a request to remove it from school curriculum.

"With God's name in vain being in there, that's the number one reason," said Diana's father Alton Verm. "There's no reason for it being read."
Ok, let's review. First, Diana objected to the assignment and was given an alternate one. This Alton Verm guy isn't objecting to what his daughter is being assigned, but to what other kids are reading. He's not objecting to what his daughter is reading, he's objecting to the fact that a book is simply there - in the school, on the library shelves, just tempting kids to read it.

The irony, of course, is what gives this story legs. If Alton Verm was objecting to some other story, there (sadly) wouldn't be a story here.

Also, if we're going to ban any book in which God's name is taken in vain what are we left with? Not Shakespeare. Not Melville. Not Hemingway or any other dead white guy we all read in high school...

As I mentioned, there is a bright spot:
[S]tudents are now circulating a petition in support of the book. They plan to wear t-shirts on Friday voicing their opinions.

"This was probably one of the greatest eye openers that we've had in our school curriculum," said student rally organizer Darrell Lee. "A lot of the people who did sign said that of all the books they had to read, this was the one they enjoyed. It really makes you think about the situation."

Coincidentally, this book was assigned during National Banned Book Week.

In the complaint filed against the school by Alton Verm, he listed each objected item line by line, complete with individual page numbers. Besides bad language and violence, Verm lists "downgrading Christians" and "talking about our firemen" as reasons the book should be banned.
People like Darrell Lee get it. Darrell Lee realizes that by being expected to read a book you aren't expected to adopt its premise as the basis for your life. You're not even expected to agree with it, just to read it.

If there's any hope for this country, it's in people like Mr. Lee - people with not just the ability to see that banning books is wrong, but with the strength of conviction to stand up and do something about it even if that may be unpopular.

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