Discussion: 001

Nazism. Burning of books unrelated with the regime. . Photo. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

I do apologize, I should have made this type of post sooner. Initially, I came into this class trying to have an objective view on censorship, though I did not know much of censorship, aside a festive week that Oklahoma City Community College put on called banned books week. I had assumed that the library was trying to bring light to the evolution of free speech throughout the world, due to many of the flyers showed older classics being banned, and if I recall correctly it the latest book being C.S. Lewis’ Chronicle of Narnia: the lion, the witch, and the Wardrobe. After the first few class session, I believed that no book should be censored, that an individual should be able to read whatever he or she wanted to, then be able to form their own opinion. However, I recently watched a documentary that altered my stance. The American Anarchist is a documentary that interviews William Powell, the author, of An Anarchist’s Cookbook almost fifty years after his controversial publication, as well as gives a brief synopsis of his work. An Anarchist’s Cookbook has inspired many domestic acts of terror, the most notable being Timothy McVeigh. He was partly-inspired by the work in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the 1900s. It was this documentary as well as reflection on the recent rise in domestic terror attacks, mainly public shootings, that has altered my view on censorship. While freedom of speech is an unalienable human right, there is a line, persay, that should not be crossed, for if works like the An Anarchist’s Cookbook. If it was not published how many individuals would not have been radicalized by such a work? While in a perfect world there should be no censorship, any idea that could be put to paper should be published, however, we do not live in such an optimistic place. Knowledge is like a fire, those not careful will get burned.

However, aside from books such as An Anarchist’s Cookbook, I do not be censored or challenged. Especially, if the book is banned for such issues, as parents wanting a book banned, despite the child showing interest in the book. In doing so by banning such books, the parent only makes the book more popular and read, due to then the act of rebellion in reading such controversial books. If parties were insistent on banning, perhaps instead of banning, there should be a system similar to the video game industry, books should be rated by age group. Whereas books like the Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe could be offered to all age groups, while the Kite Runner would not be able to be purchased without a parent unless the individual is old enough to buy it.

Survey of Technology

Technology . Fine Art. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

I do apologize for the tardiness of this post, it had completely slipped my mind. Last week Max and I conduct the survey of technology at our university. We met with Mr. Adeel Siddiqui, the network administrator, here at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and our meeting was as informative as it was quick. During the meeting Mr. Siddiqui informed us of the multiple labs on campus and spanning eight buildings there is a total of eighteen labs. The building with the most being Davis, the social science, business, and art complex, with a grand total of five labs and Sparks Dormitory Hall being the smallest with only one lab. Several of the labs throughout the university are also specialty labs such as the graphic design labs or the physic labs. He also informed us of the newest innovation at USAO, the Lecture Capture system, this system allows the professor to record the entirety of a lecture and have the ability to send it to the students of the particular class. On campus, there is also a lab, for the hearing impaired. One of the more interesting features that USAO has is we have our own modest fleet of drones, however, it is reasonable to believe that this would be out of reach for students to access. At USAO, Max and I also have access to a plethora of online databases at our disposal, and on top of the databases available to us via USAO, I still have access to all the databases at Oklahoma City Community College, due to my transfer between schools. This includes some of the sites we did not have access to such as the Gale Literary Index.

A quick update on our project, we have chosen our contract and begin to brainstorm on our mission statement. We have began to reach out past our case and expand into cases across the nation. A gem, in my personal opinion, is from a small town in Washington banned Catcher in the Rye as a communist plot, rather than the typical reasons for banning the book. In addition to bringing debauchery to the youth of America, there are alleged links to Catcher in the Rye to killers both the murderer of John Lennon and would-be assassin of former President Ronald Reagan. Both individuals were infatuated with the book, however, I have not researched into the credibility of either of these allegations, but it would be interesting if one or both of these allegations would be true. Going forward we are continuing to expand our reach and I have suggested to Max that we should investigate the banning from a sociological lens, such as how would the bannings fit into Conflict theory, Symbol-Interaction theory, or Functionalist theory. However, we might not be able to take this avenue due to time constraints.



Progress Report: 002

Continuing our research into the 1960’s Tulsa banning of the Catcher in the Rye. We did learn from the American Library Association website, that this case was the first known case of banning of the Catcher in the Rye. Oddly enough, there were not many local articles covering this historical event. However, we have located several articles throughout Oklahoma, specifically the towns of Miami and Lawton. This has been a decent leap in progress as all articles I and Max have found prior is did not give a name of the teacher or the high school. Fortunately, when we peered into the newspaper articles from the 1960’s, we uncovered the names of both the school and teacher in question.

Beatrice Levin was the teacher, who assigned the Catcher in the Rye to her eleventh-grade class, due to her love of the book. However, there was an outcry and one parent when as far as to call the piece smut. The high school principal Dr. Hiram Alexander of Edison preparatory school did leave Mrs. Levin on the faculty, however, there were persistent parents who wanted to oust Mrs. Levin. The superintedent and Tulsa board of education, did not take action against the challenge, instead they put Mrs. Levin’s career and the book in the hands of the local magistrate to decide, i she was to continue teaching, and if the book was to be banned. Mrs. Levin did make a comment, that found it’s way to the Lawon times asking the reporter if the students could not read the Catcher in the Rye, what would they read?

I also found a two-hundred thirteen-page paper from Harvard, covering censorship and one of the cases in the paper covers the Catcher in the Rye, at time of writing, I am still reading through the paper, and I am hoping to uncover more information in the later sections of the piece.

After reading through several of these articles, Max and I have begun to reach out to the Beatrice Levin, the principal Dr. Hriam Alexander, and Dr. Charles C. Manson, or any next of kin to the individuals for the hopes of an interview. In addition, we also have contacted Edison high school as well as the Tulsa board of education to begin the dialouge of recieveing records of from the 1960s, in the hopes of recieveing any kind of information regarding the case.

With the information we uncover, I plan to make a story map of  the events of what happened in the case and the surrounding area, but also we could also potentially make an story map of the events that happen as Max and I make the head way in the defense of our case, and lead to the eventual outcome.

Meet an Archivist/Librarian/Expert

I do apologize this week’s post is going to be short, I have contracted influenza. This last week, Max and I visited the Nash library at our university, USAO, and visited with the library director and archivist Kelly Brown.  During our discussion, Director Brown informed us that the only challenge she knew of was in an Edmund school district that had banned Romeo and Juliet, for the double suicide committed, by Romeo and Juliet towards the end of the play. She did not know of any other challenges within Oklahoma, however, she did direct us toward the American Library Association’s website, for the ALA keeps tabs on all book challenges across America.

In addition to being the Library Director, Ms. Brown is also USAO’s archivist, and she offered us interesting insight, as an archivist there is a biased in the work they do. It is their digression to determine what is included in the archive and what is not included.

Director Brown also had compelling viewpoint concerning censorship, Director Brown believes that there should not be any form of literary censorship and the banning of books. She believes that the individual should be able to read any book and come to their own conclusions and form their own ideas. After the interview, Director Brown directed us toward the library’s collections of books covering censorship and banned books. Several of the books Max did check out.

After scouring some sources Max and I did determine to cover a 1960s challenge of Catcher in the Rye, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The video below is the audio recording of our interview with Kelly Brown at Nash Library.