A Post-Break Progress Report
Going into Spring Break, I had the project and the goal of progress on my mind. Now, after a whole week, I can officially report that the only major things I accomplished over break were watching (a lot) of superhero movies and making progress on the project, which I accomplished in three major areas.
First, I spent most of my time this week contacting people and organizations for my case.
To be completely honest – if I had to give feedback to myself – contacting people and facilitating timely interactions is (and has been) the part of the project I struggle the most with, which I feel comes both out of intimidation and inexperience.
Over the week, I mailed out a let
ter to Marion Goldwasser (the text of which is featured in Figure 1), emailed context interview questions to Dr. Amy Clark, and reached out to Clyde Edgerton through the contact section of his webpage.
In addition to individual people, I reached out to Channel 7 News, which I read in Marion Goldwasser’s (1997) reflection, “Censorship: It Happened to Me in Sounthwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You,” had filmed and reported on events of the case (p. 36-38). I also emailed WHHV, a christian radio station in Hillsville, VA. Lastly, I re-emailed the Carroll County School Board to thank them for the materials they sent me and to ask if they had the original complaint letters of the case.
Of those emails, I have only received a reply from Channel 7 News, who responded that they could not grant me access to any material that was not already available on the internet. I am extremely hopeful that I will receive replies to the other messages throughout the coming week. However, this coming week I also have some additional sources to reach out to. Specifically, this week I am going to:
- continue contact with the alumni group (and hopefully) find some specific alumni willing to recount and reflect their experience with the case,
- reach out to a librarian to schedule access to the newspaper archives to find a few more articles from the year of the challenge,
- and reach out the media services staff at the college to acquire about using a computer that can read an SD card. (I have photos from Hillsville, VA that are on an SD card my laptop does not have the capability to read.)
Second, I finished reading The Floatplane Notebooks early in the week. Reading the book as a reader, a critic, and a researcher was an extremely interesting and challenging experience because I had to practice awareness on several different levels. I took note of my personal emotional reactions to the material of the novel, in addition to marking the novel for material that books get challenged for (specifically, profanity and sexual content), and reflecting on the literature and discussion I’ve been exposed to in the course.
As a reader, I was hooked and moved by the story. As a critical thinker, I can see both the educational value and merit of the book, as well as why some parents may have been uncomfortable with high school students reading the book. As a researcher and student, I saw applications to the course literature reflected in the content of the novel.
However, of all the reflection, I was repeatedly brought back to the idea that censorship often restrains marginalized voices, which we discussed in class. In The Floatplane Notebooks, a character named Meredith loses his left arm and leg from the explosion of a mine in the Vietnam War (Edgerton, 2017, pp. 200-205). When Meredith returns home and interacts with his cousin Mark, he reflects:
Mark likes to talk about his women. That and the F-4. He was pretty comfortable around me. I mean he didn’t give me any of this I’m-proud-of-you-and-you’re-a-real-inspiration bullshit. It’s damn terrible the way the human race don’t know how to act around somebody that ain’t the average talking Joe. Let something be a little off and people get turned on to this different frequency and they act like total assholes and don’t even know it. (Edgerton, 2017, pp. 238-239).
I stopped briefly after I read passage because the strong voice made me keenly, and suddenly, aware of the fact that I had only read, at most, one or two pieces of literature that feature the voices and experiences of characters who are physically or mentally disabled. The ideas presented from Meredith were thought provoking, and it was in that moment that I realized that to censor the novel for its less-appropriate passages is also to remove the agency of the voices that drive the lessons of the literature. While I was familiar with this idea through our course readings and discussions, it was extremely surreal to have that specific moment of reflection with my own case.
Lastly, I made satisfactory progress on my project site. After spending the end of the week focused on the site, I completed a draft of my biography page and the course description page, in addition to beginning an offline draft of one page from my context section.
This week, I aim to complete the majority of the context section of the site and post at least one page of the novel section of the website.
Specifically, I have a few questions about designing the site that I am going to attempt to locate the answer to this week:
- Can I make a table or stack buttons, so that I can feature multiple options at the bottom of a page?
- How do I add functioning content boxes to the homepage of my website?
- How do I change the size on a image for the site without losing the quality of the image?
These are the three problems I encountered most when working in the site over the week, so finding the asnwers to the questions will speed along my site progress.
With all these considerations in mind, I look forward to resuming the semester and racing towards the finished project.
All references, expect for the quotation from the novel, are hyperlinked at first mention. However, the novel, in addition to all other references are also fully listed below.
Contact. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2019, from http://clydeedgerton.com/contact
Edgerton, C. (2017). The Floatplane Notebooks. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Goldwasser, M. M. (1997). Censorship: It Happened to Me in Southwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You. The English Journal, 86(2), 34. doi:10.2307/819671
New Life Church and Ministries. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2019, from http://www.whhvradio.com/
Turner, T. (2019). Copy of The Floatplane Notebooks after Reading [Personal photograph taken in Bartlick, VA].
Turner, T. (2019, March). Letter to Marion Goldwasser [Letter to Marion Goldwasser]. Bartlick, VA.
WDBJ. (n.d.). Meet the Team | Contact Us. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from https://www.wdbj7.com/station/