GOOD NEWS/“BAD” NEWS

Time for another BAD FOR YOU roundup of reviews (excerpts included; follow link for full post).

From graphic novel writer/researcher/editor Paul Buhle’s review for The Comics Journal:

“For a book aimed at kids, this one is chock-full of information, but presented so well in comics (and also charts and info-graphics) that the details are destined to move easily, and usefully, into young minds.”

From comic legend Tony Isabella’s blog Tales of Wonder:

“This non-fiction book combines comic-book storytelling – art by Pyle – with graphs and prose articles in a delightful journey through the centuries. … If I ever write a sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, you can bet Pyle and Cunningham have earned themselves a place in it.”

From a “Young Adult/Children’s Librarian in Indiana” blog:

“This is a cool exploration of the many ways that adults have tried to take away fun from kids and teens.”

And from a self-described “ artistic queer vegan feminist librarian” at the blog Glitter and Dirt:

“AHHHH! This book is awesome!!!

The whole of the piece is a testament to the historical and present American mistrust and mistreatment of youth– it’s totally great. I read it straight through.”

Our interview on the Geekdad site “Video Games, D&D, and Farting on the Bus: Bad for You Is Good for You,” got a discussion going about the once vilified game of chess.

That exposure lead to a post on a gaming website Gamasutra –  a coveted spot in the eyes of the authors, since BAD FOR YOU features a whole section on the debate about the impact of video games on kids.

“Like video games, chess was once decried as a time-waster that kept kids entranced at a desk for hours when they could have been outside playing or studying something useful.”

BAD FOR YOU even appears on a website about “BIGFOOT” and “THE PARANORMAL.” It’s a blog by the author of Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience. The website features an excerpt from the book about, big surprise, Legend Tripping.

JAIL & BAIL vs THE PROPER SCALE

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 2.54.37 PMIt’s seems location is everything when it comes to terrorist tweets and punishment-worthy posts. In Texas, Leagues of Legends player, Justin Carter, age 19, is just now getting out the cooler, thanks to an anonymous individual who posted his $500,000(!) bail. Justin’s crime was posting “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head,” in a post-Leagues of Legends online argument . “I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.” Justin claims it was a joke (admittedly not a very funny one). Well, if he wasn’t “messed up in the head” then he probably is now after the abuse he suffered in his almost four months in jail. Click here for the details of that ordeal and the punishment he still faces for his facebook flub.

Meanwhile, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed in Chicago (it is quite a bit north of Texas after all) when “Mark” a 15 year-old high school sophomore threatened, via tweet, to shoot everyone in his hometown and “get away wit it just like Zimmerman,” He deleted the tweet after a quick backlash and asked “Why you taking it serious.”The local police seem to have approached it with just the right amount of seriousness, bringing “Mark” to the station and letting him go after questioning. “There is no credibility to the threat. He has no weapons and no access to weapons,” a law enforcement official said.

BANNED IN IRAN…AND CHICAGO

This week Chicago public school students were set free for the summer, but when they return to classes at the end of August there will be something missing that was there when the 2012-13 year began (and we’re not talking about the 50 schools that will be shut down for good after being deemed underperforming). The big difference we’re talking about is the absence of the highly-praised graphic novel Persepolis: A Story of Childhoodwhich was officially banned from all Chicago middle and high schools in March. According to an email sent out to staff by Christopher Dignam, principal of Lane Tech High School, the Chicago School Board mandated that all copies of Persepolis be removed from every library and classroom in the network. The autobiographical comic by Marjane Satrapi, which depicts her early years growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution, was first published in France in 2000, and has gone on to become an internationally acclaimed comic. In 2007, it was adapted into a successful animated film as well and even received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. All of which begs the question: what can’t Chicago kids read it in school? According to an email sent out to staff by Christopher Dignam, principal of Lane Tech High School, while he was mandated to “physically” take each copy out of the school and confirm that it was done – he was not “provided a reason for the collection of Persepolis. If I learn more I will inform all staff….”

Later, Chicago Public School’s general counsel James L. Bebley explained that the ban was based on the book’s “graphic images of torture… as well as obscene language.” CPS administrators determined it is not appropriate for use in the 7th grade curriculum and are considering whether or not 8th and 9th graders should be exposed to Persepolis. The Kids’ Right to Read Project, an initiative of the National Coalition Against Censorship, filed a second Freedom of Information Act records request with the district for internal documents on the removal. At this time, they have yet to receive those documents from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Whatever the internal documents say, it will still be hard to explain CPS’s erratic behavior, given the fact that Persepolis served “as a foundational text to discuss violence against women and equal rights in a curriculum developed and endorsed by CPS itself, the Chicago Teacher’s Union and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.” Chicago Teachers Union’s financial secretary, Kristine Mayle, commented on behalf of CTU: “We are surprised Persepolis would be banned by the…CPS system. The only place we’ve heard of this book being banned is in Iran. We understand why the district would be afraid of a book like this – at a time when they are closing schools – because it’s about questioning authority, class structures, racism and gender issues.”

BAD FOR YOU tracks the long history of comic (and book) censorship in America in its opening chapter “Flames of Fear.” Click on the “Book” section of the BFY banner to see the “Comic Burning Map,” which graphically explains the fiery issue comics became in this country in the 1940s & 50s.