Parents Action League wants 'Eleanor & Park' removed from Anoka-Hennepin libraries

Categories: Education
EleanorPark.jpg
The Parents Action League -- classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Center last year, largely due to the group's onetime support for ex-gay-therapy -- is back in the news for filing a formal complaint calling on the Anoka-Hennepin School District to remove Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park from library shelves.

SEE ALSO: Justin's Gift, LBGTQ youth group, shut out of Anoka's Halloween parade

Rowell was actually scheduled to visit the Anoka County Library days ago, but her visit was canceled due to the controversy. The Nebraska native even offered to travel to Anoka County and appear without getting paid, but district and county officials never got back to her, according to an Omaha World Herald report.

Here's a brief and out-of-context excerpt from the book (meant to give you a flavor for the controversial language Rowell uses), which is ultimately about two teens who have difficulty finding a social niche in school but end up developing a romance through their shared musical interests:
"There," Steve said. He looked for something to throw at Mikey, but couldn't find anything. He pointed instead. "I fucking told you."

"What the fuck does Sheridan know about kung fu?" Mikey said.

"Are you retarded?" Steve said. "His mom's Chinese."

Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I see it," Mikey said. "I always thought you were Mexican."

"Shit, Mikey," Steve said, "you're such a fucking racist."

"She's not Chinese," Tina said. "She's Korean."

"Who is?" Steve asked.

"Park's mom."

Park's mom had been cutting Tina's hair since grade school. They both had the exact same hairstyle: long spiral perms with tall feathered bangs.

"She's fucking hot is what she is," Steve said, cracking himself up. "No offense, Park."

Park managed another smile and slunk back into his seat, putting his headphones back on and cranking up the volume.
In a report about the book published on the Parents Action League's website, the parents of a 15-year-old student write, "Never in our 43 years have either of us read anything more profane."

According to the aforementioned World Herald report, the parents counted 227 offending words, including 67 "Gods", 24 "Jesuses," and four "Christs."

More from MPR:
Librarians had included the book on school library shelves, and it was selected for use in the summer "Rock the Book" program.

Parents of a student objected to the book's content, citing its use of profanity and its treatment of sexuality. The Anoka County Library had scheduled a visit by Rowell, but the event was canceled due to the controversy. Chair Tom Heidemann of the school board said officials were considering two issues: whether the book should have been included in the library, and whether it was appropriate for the reading program.
Anoka-Hennepin school board chair Tom Heidemann told MPR the school board "has passed no judgment relative to whether or not that should or should not be in the library," adding that parent complaints about the presence of the book at school libraries will be evaluated via "a process that will involve the community and public hearings as we go forward."

A statement published on the Parents Action League website says, "Because of the apparent lack of moral awareness shown by the district staff at all levels we feel that it has become necessary to engage the parents and residents of the district to push the necessary changes from the top down and accelerate the removal of this profane and inappropriate material more quickly than the district's formal process will allow."

Rowell told the World Herald she wishes her critics would pay more attention to the book's message and less to the colorful language she sometimes uses.

"When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they're saying that rising above your situation isn't possible," she said. "That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isn't even fit for good people's ears. That ugly things cancel out everything beautiful."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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51 comments
TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

The book clearly violates school district policy with it's profanity.   Someone wasn't thinking. 

lazulilu
lazulilu

In my opinion, the book that people call 'the holy bible' is way 'worse' than this book -- they are twisting their knickers up into knots over ! ... lol - it's HIGH time they understand also, that there are people, indeed -- some honest to goodness REAL people THAT ACTUALLY do talk the way the characters in the story do talk ... they need to get over that as well. Life will go on ... Sadly those dissenting parents (ready to ban the aforementioned book 'eleanor and park") are in a "Little House on the Prairie" league of their own - in a  sense that - 'that world' that they wax nostalgic over,  has been eclipsed - so how it is ...  get with the program folks!!! 

keny1
keny1

Since Liberals want our youth to be exposed to every element of society before they actually become adults and witness it firsthand, why don't we show gay porn in public schools? This way, the students can become "culturally aware" of the sexual activity of homosexuals.

For example, they could have a 6-week curriculum where each week, a gay porn movie would be shown highlighting homosexual sexual activity and then have a discussion session. Here is how it might work:

Week #1: Basic blow jobs, rimming, and ass-fucking.

Week #2: Fisting and Felching

Week #3: Multi-partner anal train sandwiches

Week #4: Barebacking and Footing (Similar to fist fucking, but using one's foot instead).

Week #5: Leather, Cop Fantasies, Nipple play, BDSM, Trannie fun, and other fetishes

Week #6: Reflection and analysis.

Now that Liberals want day-long Kindergarten, this would be a great way to pass the extra time for our youngsters. Because remember what G.I Joe once said...............

"Knowing...........is half the battle".    

Arkadi
Arkadi

"The Anoka County Library had scheduled a visit by Rowell, but the event was canceled due to the controversy."

...isn't a controversy the BEST time for the author to come and speak about her work?

keny1
keny1

I love how all of you stupid fucking morons spend so much time writing 500 word essays about what you think of this, yet I bet not one of you live in this school district. Like the people who live there give a flying fuck what you think.

Katrina Michaels
Katrina Michaels

These are important issues that some of our children don't fully understand. We should allow them to read about these topics. If they are bullies, maybe this will give a new perspective about what some people go through in life. At the very least, it will show some children that they are not alone in their struggles. And how about this: Isn't it great that your kid is READING?! Reading is learning- why put a damper on that?

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

We have lost our 1st, 2nd and 4th amendments. What next?

yoopie93
yoopie93

I was going to express my disappointment with the Anoka-Hennepin school district for giving in to these faux-moralistic, book-burning fascists, but then I realized that this is the same district whose leadership basically plugged their ears and said, "La la la la la la la" after nine(!) gay students killed themselves from excessive bullying.  Way to keep it classy, Anoka-Hennepin.  If I had the money, I'd rent a plane and airdrop hundreds of copies of this book onto every home in that district. 

Christian Johnson
Christian Johnson

I can't think of anything more appropriate for teenagers than a book about two outsiders who bond over music

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

One book that I hope they ban is The Bible.  Talk about offensive.   Incest, murder, whores, and justifications of slavery.    I mean there is this God guy and he rapes poor Mary.  What the fuck?   Who teaches this filth to children?   As a novel its a mess.  They don't introduce the main character until halfway through the book but what kind of guy is he?   Sometimes he is hanging out with whores than other times he is camping out with a bunch of dudes.  We have all read Brokeback Mountain so we all know what sort of filth the Bible is implying.  Honestly I don't get what perverts let their children read about Lot and his daughters but they should be locked up as pedophiles.  Sick.    Finally let's not forget Matthew 19:21 where the gay whoremonger Jesus tells his cult of slaves to sell all their possession and give to the poor.  THAT IS COMMUNISM YOU LONG HAIRED COMMIE FREAK.  BAN IT.  BURN IT.   BURN THEM ALL! !!!!!!!!!!!!

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

As a parent I'll never understand these "concerned parent" types.  They must not remember what it was like being a kid. They must have no idea what their kids experience all day, every day.  They must have no confidence in their own ability as parents, nor in their kids' abilities and judgement.  Which again implies no confidence in their own parenting.

My kids have heard every vile thing in our language.  They didn't hear it in my house.  I remember when our son was 5 (10 years ago) he told us at the dinner table he thought he knew what the "S" word was.  I was a little puzzled, so I asked him what he thought it was.  "S-tupid," he asked?  "Yeah," I said, "Stupid. People don't like to be called that."  So I thought we'd done a pretty good job cleaning up our shit, when I heard him say that.

What are we preparing our kids for?  To be functional in the real world we live in, I thought.  That means, letting them know that people who say "fuck" every other word are considered to be st--oops, The "S" word.  Teaching our kids how people really behave so they aren't taken by surprise, but teaching them also what forms of behavior are and are not acceptable.  And believe you me, they already know by the time they can talk.  And they know when you are telling them one thing but living out another.

That must be what frightens groups like this "Parents Action League" so much.  I know I have taught my kids a sound moral compass, and I've seen them live it out to the point I'm confident they will do the right thing whether or not anyone is watching.  They can read books with swear words, or sex, or crime, or pain, or doubt, or flat-out evil.  I taught them which was which, and the difference.  And they're smart enough to take that knowledge and live by it.

Must be scary to be a parent and not know you've done your job right.

_Joe_
_Joe_

Wanna make sure your kid reads a book?  Do exactly this.  They're going to have to order more copies just to satisfy demand.

Hiding everything from view is not the way to teach your children critical thinking.  Making decisions for them is not the way to teach them how to make decisions.

When I was growing up my Dad read every book that I did.  And we talked about them.  A lot.  He shared his thoughts on the stuff I was reading, and often, many of those thoughts became my own because he's a pretty smart guy and that's how you learn.  The point is that he didn't ever bar my path.  Instead, he took my hand and walked it with me.

So instead of getting mad and making a big public spectacle, maybe try turning some of your attention and fervor inward and focus on what really matters instead of trying to deny literature to EVERYONE'S kids just because you don't like it.

Jean C Thorne
Jean C Thorne

this is an attempt at censorship - not allowed here

_Joe_
_Joe_

Right... that's where I learned all my curses.


The Library.

barbertj23
barbertj23 topcommenter

"Never in our 43 years have either of us read anything more profane."

Sweet mercyful Satan, that is Hilarious.

They should read just one chapter of an Edward Lee book. After that, everything else in the world will feel tame.

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0

@keny1 Wow, Kenny, looks like you've done your research. Hours and hours of "reluctantly" watching gay porn, eh?

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0

@keny1: Ha, I just noticed its you again there Kenmeister, apparently watching all that gay porn has had a detrimental effect on your vocabulary.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

Speaking of someone whose opinion nobody gives a fuck about...

keny1
keny1

@Chad Liljegren 

Soon, we all will have to get prayer rugs and pray to the East 8 times each day while chanting, "Oh-Bam-Ah, Oh-Bam-Ah, Oh-Bam-Ah, Oh-Bam-Ah.................."

And if you refuse to do it, there will be a tax refund penalty. And if the House has any issues with this, Obama and Reid will say, "We will NOT negotiate on this."

BoDarville
BoDarville

@MicheleBachmann It would only be Communism if Jesus somehow got the government to seize all their possessions.  Doing it on your own free will doesn't count.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@swmnguy 

*fistbump*

Though, I'd argue that being a parent is scary no matter what.

j.reiter
j.reiter

I was going to reply with a serious response but I think that any logical explaination would be lost on a person obviously misguided by Critical Theory.  Some people have beliefs Joe, and it is their right to believe that exposing children to profanity in a public place should not be acceptable.  If you have a problem with that, then you are just being intolerant and attempting to shift that intolerance onto the people that are being victimized.

keny1
keny1

@Drewey 

Well, apparently, you do because you respond to me every time. Dork. 

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@BoDarville Sounds like COMMIE TALK TO ME BoDarvile or should I say BORIS Darville you commie Russian pig.  

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@_Joe_  Well, no kidding.  Scariest thing I've ever done.  Helluva lot less scary though, knowing the kids have some darned sense.  And they couldn't have, if they didn't have some basic information.

True story.  The same boy, at 14, came home from South High. Said he'd taken a city bus home and been hit up by a panhandler. He said the guy had a complicated story and he didn't totally believe it.  But he gave the guy 65 cents.  The guy started to get aggressive, and my son told me he told the guy, "Look, all I've got is bus fare and 65 cents.  I have to get home so I'm keeping the bus fare.  If you can't use the 65 cents, give it back 'cause I can use it."

Seriously, as the father of a (then) 14 year old boy, my work is done.  Scary to think of the kid who used to be the baby on my lap arguing with some guy on 31st and Cedar Ave. S, but would I have handled that as well as he did?  Thankfully I'd told him the truth as I knew it, years ago, about people who panhandle at bus stops (Yes, they're desperate; no, they're usually not dangerous; the more complicated their story the less likely it is to be true; all they really want is money for booze or drugs, usually).

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@j.reiter So a man who believes in discussing things with his children as if they were intelligent beings being groomed to become reasoning and functional adults is "obviously misguided by Critical Theory?"

A parent who believes "that exposing children to profanity in a public place should not be acceptable" should be allowed to pretend that such things never happen, and should be permitted to impose his or her wishes onto the same resources I also pay for to educate my children, when I believe my children should be taught about the world the way it is rather than the way it might have existed in some sort of protective ideal?

And I'm being "Intolerant," whatever the hell that means, if I don't permit other people to impose their cultural and religious beliefs onto my parenting?  That's what really frosts me.  I've had it with having to accommodate lazy parents who don't understand the world securely enough themselves to be able to explain it to their own kids; so none of us should ever let our kids learn about the actual world, just to spare these chicken shit ignoramuses from having to work at having an actual informed opinion, well-enough articulated to explain to a kid.

I had to explain gay marriage and homosexuality to my son when he was about 3.  Sounds terrifying, huh?  Here's how it went down.  The next door neighbors were a lesbian couple and their 2 sons, one of whom is 6 weeks younger than my son.  One day when he was 3, he'd been playing in the sandbox with "Bobby" all day.  He came in and asked, "Dad, how come 'Bobby' has two moms, and I have a mom and a dad?"  I said, "I dunno, 'billy.'  There are all kinds of families. Little Suzie across the alley has two dads, and Jack across the street has a mom and a Grandma.  Just so everybody loves each other and takes care of kids, it's all fine with me I guess and it's not my problem."  That was it.  I've never had to talk to him about it again, and he's now a 6'-2", 170#, nearly-16-year-old chick magnet.

I've had to explain drugs and sex to my kids, also.  Drugs are mostly a waste of time, and you have to deal with people who have already decided to do something that will get you in lots of trouble, so you have to question their judgement.  Sex is a bad idea until you are willing and able to deal with the potential consequences, like babies, disease, and having an intimate obligation of some sort to somebody else, who might turn out to be crazy or at least not in nearly the same place in the world as you are.  So it's better to take longer at it, despite all the marketing.

No doubt that makes me a rotten, immoral and worst of all "Intolerant" parent.  Fine.  My 13 year-old daughter came home from school last week and told us one of her classmates is pregnant.  Yes, her parents are the drunken, physically (if not otherwise) abusive "Christian" parents who outlaw swearing, tell their kids falsehoods about sex and drugs, have ridiculously severe and inconsistent rules, and consider my wife and me to be immoral.  Figures.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@j.reiter 

Sooo... because you can't be bothered to parent your child and protect them from the big bad scary F-word in a book, you get to dictate that NOBODY's kids have the option to get that book at the library?

Pardon me, but go fuck yourself. 

It is my right to believe that my kids are intelligent enough to read a story and realize that there are more than just 227 offensive words in the book, and that it is those words that make up the important part of the story.  But hey, if your dumbass kid can't figure that out, then you keep the book out of his hands.

NewsDog
NewsDog

@j.reiter  So the opinions of the few should set precedent for the many?

Here's an idea: Why don't these parents just tell their kids not to read the book. Since they have raised the children in such a good Christian household of course the kids will honor and obey their parents wishes.  

barbertj23
barbertj23 topcommenter

@j.reiter 

We don't need to make concessions to people who have beliefs that don't hold up to scrutiny.

Some people believe 9/11 was an inside job, and others believe hitting their wife is just fine. There are scum out there who think relationships between adults and children are just fine, and they belong in prison, or am I being intolerant of their beliefs? Some people think murder is justified and they don't belong in jail, are we being intolerant there?

Those are certainly extreme examples, but the point is the same.

There is intolerance and there is scrutinizing irrationality, don't confuse the two.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@henk.tobias0 That's an interesting perspective, and sometimes I feel that way.  I give what I can, when I can.  I've encouraged my son to give what he can.  He's a kid now, so he doesn't have much to give.  I've made sure he understands anyone can get to the point of having to panhandle.  He knows more about poverty than most kids born into a middle-class family. He's also inclined to compassion and righting the wrongs of the world, which seems about right to me for a teenaged kid.  Hopefully he can keep that, not idealism because that implies impracticality; but maintain and apply his values as he gets older and has more responsibilities of his own.

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0

@swmnguy @_Joe_ So I hope you taught the kid to give them something. What they do with the money really isn't your concern, that you gave is. Panhandling is their job, you wouldn't want someone telling you how to spend your paycheck would you? Personally the more complex the story the more I give. Its work panhandling, coming up with a good story and delivering it well is part of the job. If they do it well, who am I to judge.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@henk.tobias0 @swmnguy @j.reiter Is that why keny is obsessed with the grossest weirdest gayest sex out there?   Is he projecting something?   I've never met a human that talks about gay sex as much as keny does and I know actual gay men and women.  

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0

@swmnguy @j.reiter  Its funny you're complaining about having something shoved down your throat at the same time you're shoving your version of morality down everyone else'. Projection is serious malady the effects the vast majority of the Conservative Radicals in this country. When they claim that someone is practicing a certain behavior, 99% of the time they themselves are neck deep in that behavior. Its uncanny how often this holds true.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@j.reiter  I wasn't just responding to you; I hope you understood that.  It was the overall point, and one that's been shoved down my throat enough by others that I'm a tad touchy about it, I'll grant.

"Prating," huh?  That's a good word.

And I'm glad you got a kick out of my uncertainty over the word "intolerant" and what it means today.  I'm being sincere in that.  These days, it seems if you don't like me hating your guts, you're "Intolerant."  Or if I say all red-haired people should be killed, and you object, then you are being intolerant.  "Tolerance" is at best a minor virtue, and more often an excuse to maintain one's own prejudices without examination.

yoopie93
yoopie93

@barbertj23 @j.reiter   Perfect!  A troll making a Hitler analogy as part of his nonsensical post.  It's right out of "Trolling for Dummies."  j.reiter is clearly someone who is in love with the look of their own words on a screen.  Sad.

barbertj23
barbertj23 topcommenter

@j.reiter

My favorite comment you've made in the last month or so is:

"Frogtown is nicer than St. Jewish Park"

That is classy.

j.reiter
j.reiter

There is too much prating in your response, my statement is clear that children do not need to be exposed to profanity by strangers; for you to suggest anything else or try to attach my belief to anything else is just proof that you have a weak argument.

As for the Christian values comment; nothing I said solicited such a response, but it is nice to know that you don't really believe in anything, you just know you don't believe Christianity.

And lol, the statement that you don't know what intolerant means made my day ;)

j.reiter
j.reiter

Lol! I am not telling you to do anything with your children, if you want to swear at them and expose them to pornography at home, go ahead.  Nice try on changing the conversation but you are forcing your beliefs down everyone elses throat by being a bastard in public.

Good dig, you figured it out, I didn't read as a child.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@j.reiter  

1. I don't have to "meet" you to be upset with you for injecting your beliefs onto my children.

2. If you read carefully and slowly, you'll see that I am advocating guidance over just stonewalling a child's experience.

Maybe you should have checked out more books from the library when you were in school.

j.reiter
j.reiter

It is interesting to me that while we are discussing children's lit, you revert to a childlike ego and say something like "the big bad scary f-word." I don't understand how someone could be so angry at someone they never met, but if this is the result of the "allow children to develop without guidance" medicine that your selling; I'm gonna hold on to my beliefs because I would never want to raise a human as tormented as you.

NewsDog
NewsDog

@j.reiter

Anti-Christian? I was raised Roman Catholic, a Christian faith (although there are some who don’t understand that too well).

No threat, not even indirectly, an observation. The comments of the PAL tend to lean Christian (fundamentalist) and as such I’m sure their teenage children would of course honor and obey the parent’s wishes.

j.reiter
j.reiter

I think the "majority" of people think children shouldn't be exposed to racism or profanity by strangers.

What is that second comment? Some kind of indirect threat? I didn't say anything about Christianity, but your intolerance towards Christian values is noted; Thanks for anti-Christian insight!

j.reiter
j.reiter

I would like if you continued to repost my thoughts, it's nice having a minion that repeats everything I say. :)  Thank you

barbertj23
barbertj23 topcommenter

@j.reiter 

You sure spend a lot of time in the comments responding to people by saying you can't respond to them.

You can't control strangers, people are going to be exposed to strangers their whole lives. It's a pretty important part of the socialization process. If you want to act like that doesn't exist you are doing your children a disservice, bordering on abuse.

My point was that not all beliefs are valid. Some definitely are, but you can't just sort something into a "belief" pile, and call it important or worth defending.  We separate beliefs worth having (Freedom of Religion for instance) from beliefs that aren't valid (wife beating is ok, censorship) through logic and scrutiny.

My point was that these parents beliefs aren't valid. If they are worried that exposing their children to the reality around them will affect what they have been teaching their children, then it's more than likely the case that what they have been teaching them doesn't really fall in line with reality.

j.reiter
j.reiter

What doesn't hold up to scrutiny? That children don't need to be exposed to profanity in public places?

I can't really respond to the rest because I have no idea what you are talking about; it sounds like you are saying that we should not have any beliefs but we should believe in the right to free speech.. If would be helpful if you could explain how preventing strangers from acting unrestrained around children has anything to do with wife beating

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