Bank Street Books for Banned Book Week

BadForYouThe Bad For You authors, Scott Cunningham and Kevin Pyle will be at Bank Street Books with some of the contributing youth to the latest issue of World War 3 illustrated. We’ll do live readings of some of the projected pages followed by a discussion.

September 29, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Bank Street Book Store
2780 Broadway
Manhattan, NY 10025

BAD FOR YOU AT THE LIBRARY

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As part of the American Library Association’s celebration of Banned Books Week, which is taking place from Sept. 21-27, BAD FOR YOU authors Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham will be presenting two special slide show readings at local libraries, detailing the dark days in this country when comic books were once burned! That’s right, comics were thought to be corrupting kids in the 1940s and 50s! And guess what, grown-ups are still trying to ban comics today!!!

In fact, BAD FOR YOU has a whole chapter on the kinds of reading materials that adults were once afraid of kids partaking in—including fears from ancient times about reading itself! Also included will be examples of scary old fairy tales and the secret to why Harry Potter books keep getting banned (hint, it has something to do with the devil).

The Banned Book Week presentations seem especially appropriate this year given that the ALA is focusing on censorship issues around comics and graphic novels. “We want to publicize the many events being organized around the country during Banned Books Week,” said Judy Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week Executive Committee, “to show the collective voice that is speaking out against censorship.”

The first talk will be presented at the Hamilton Grange Library, 503 West 145th Street in the Bronx, on Monday, September 22, from 3-4:30 pm and will include a hands-on section where kids can make their own comics.  On Saturday, September 27, the authors will be talking at Manhattan’s main branch, at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium, from 3 to 4 pm.

Both events are free and open to the public. Hope everyone in the area can join the authors for our celebration of Banned Books Week and find out how much fun BAD can be!

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2014/09/27/bad-you-celebrating-banned-books-week

OH BROTHER!

Young Adult sci-fi novel, Little Brother, was recently booted off a Florida high school summer reading list. According to the novel’s author, Cory Doctorow, the school’s principal “cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority,” as the problem. Guess “questioning authority” is an idea that the students at Booker T. Washington High couldn’t be bothered with over their break. An affirmative view on “hacker culture” was also troubling. “In short,” Doctorow said, “…the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”

To protest the principal’s decision, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) sent a letter to the Pensacola Florida school board asking that Little Brother be returned to the reading list. “School officials are bound by constitutional considerations, including a duty not to give in to pressure to suppress unpopular or controversial ideas,” said Executive Director Joan Bertin. “Cory Doctorow’s work as an author and activist engages with the realities today’s young people are confronting on a daily basis as citizens in their own right,” Charles Brownstein explained, who is another Executive Director, this time of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund—which is partners with the NCAC on The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP).  “We hope the concerns expressed by all of us at the KRRP will lead school officials to honor the rights of their students by reinstating this valuable book, ” continued Brownstein.

BAD FOR YOU also adds it’s voice of support to Doctorow (and not just because of the great review he gave us at his amazing website BoingBoing.net).

The Anti-Anniversary!

The country is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act this year, but on the other side of freedom, there’s another important anniversary to acknowledge as well: “On this day, in 1954, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency was closing out a second day of hearings.”

And, of course, one of the key speakers during the investigation was Dr. Fredric Wertham, who’s testimony before the committee helped to sway the senators to recommend the adoption of the comic book code, the self-imposed censorship that lead to the demise of much of the horror and crime comics from that period. What it didn’t lead to, though, was a decrease in juvenile delinquency. The numbers didn’t start to decline until the 1990s! The comic book code officially ended in 2012.

There has not been an increase in youth crime since the code was lifted.

In honor of this special day, we are reprinting our map of the comic book burning in America from the 1940s & 50s.

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THE TWELFTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STUBBS THE ZOMBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, everyone loves zombies – just look how many movies and TV shows feature the creatures. In this particular video game, the really cool part was that it turned the whole horror genre around by letting the player become the brain-munching monster, roaming the city, hunting humans. Stubbs was also one of the first horror games to use humor as part of the action – leading to what the game’s creator called “funny results.”

WHY IT WAS BAD: According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, Stubbs was encouraging cannibalism in kids! “It’s something we’ve never seen before,” NIMF told a crowd at their 2005 press conference to announce their annual “Games to Avoid” that year. Stubbs supposedly send “the worst kind of message to kids” and was “dangerous to your children’s health.” While the organization never had the power to actually ban a video game, for 15 years NIMF would post the list a few weeks before Christmas, hoping to scare parents away from purchasing them as gifts for their kids.Over a hundred video games made NIMF’s “Games to Avoid” over the years, some of which were super popular, including Doom, Grand Theft Auto and Halo. All these games mentioned so far were rated M for Mature. Which means they’re for 17-year-olds and not kids – so what exactly was NIMF so worked up about? By the way, the group dis-banned in 2009. Ho-Ho-Ho.

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And now that you know how dangerous toys can be…

 

HAVE A VERY WARY CHRISTMAS!

THE ELEVENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: EA SPORTS MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a brutal fighting game where players can pretend to punch, stomp, kick, knee-slam, elbow and karate chop the heck out of their opponents! But unlike the real cage matches the game is based on, if you get pounded by another player in this virtual world, it only pain you feel is your hurt pride.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Think it was banned because of its violence? Wrong. In Denmark, the marketing of energy drinks is prohibited, which just so happens to be the product heavily promoted throughout the game. But Venezuela did become the first country to ban all violent video games. Then-president Hugo Chavez called Nintendo DS and PlayStation “poison” (a different kind of toxic toy). PlayStation is also illegal in China. The Communist country believes its a waste of time (wonder what they think of Hula-hoops and Pokeman?).

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THE TENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: POKÉMON TRADING CARD GAME

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY THEY WERE FUN: There are now over 718 “revealed” species of the title “pocket monsters” franchise – which can also be divided up into “generations” of games. Think about it, the variations are almost endless. And yet, somehow, if a kid gets obsessed with them, they’ve got to try to complete the set – or in Pokemon parlance, they “gotta catch ’em all.” It becomes an all-consuming goal for a kid. It’s…addicting.

WHY THEY WERE BAD: Same reason. According to Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, which issued the edict banning Pokemon games in 2001, they “possessed the minds” of young folks, causing them to “spend all their money to buy the cards and compete with each other to win more.” Well, duh – that’s the point!

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THE EIGHTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: HOMER SIMPSON DOLL

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: It’s The Simpsons.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Because, as everyone knows, Homer Simpson is the ultimate promoter of “Western culture” – which is a terrible thing if you live in Iran (at least according to the country’s Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults). Barbie dolls are also banned for the same crime of promoting “Western culture.” Iran does allow Superman and Spider-Man toys into their country because superheroes help the “oppressed” (so, that part of Western Culture is OK).

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THE SIXTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STEVE THE TRAMP

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, how can you beat a movie-toy tie-in? And in 1990, Dick Tracy was one of the big action movie releases that year. Based on the old comic strip detective, the movie was crowded with weird-looking criminals – many made-up to appear like real-life cartoons.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Descriptions on Steve’s display package promised that this action figure had “low I.Q.” and would “use and abuse any young helpless prey he comes across.” What parent is going to read that and think, “What a perfect gift for my child”? On the plus side, you could never lose the toy; since Steve was a tramp, “you’ll smell him before you see him” (another quote off the box). These descriptions earned Steve the dubious honor of most “Warped Toy for Christmas” that year. When homeless activists protested the insensitivity of the toy, Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby, a chain of 1,200 stores, pulled the controversial figure from its shelves. Also ranking high on the “Warped Toy” list: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ “Flushomatic High-tech Toilet Torture Trap.”

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THE FOURTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: OREO FUN BARBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: When Nabisco and Mattel decided to combine forces the result was a tasty version of Barbie sporting head-to-toe gear inspired by the famous cookie (for instance, Barbie’s bag looked just like the black and white treat). Another reason the doll was fun: well, it had “fun” right there the title. And who doesn’t like an Oreo?

WHY IT WAS BAD: It depends how you use “Oreo”; the word can also be a derogatory way to describe someone of African-American descent (as in,“black on the outside and white on the inside”). Since Barbies are produced with different skin tones, the racially insensitive “cookies” crumbled not long after they debuted in 1997. 

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