Kudos for compromise
From: Kevin Kilby
Havre de Grace
I have been following the procession of controversy surrounding the play "Jabberwock" that was performed by North Harford Middle School.
The main issue of this topic seems to be perceived as morality. Since morals are the opinions of individuals, there is no absolute right or wrong, regardless of what some intolerant individuals might argue.
Although morality and censorship loom large as issues, let's not ignore the positive outcome of another aspect of this dilemma.
This matter was resolved by an uncommon and surprising means called compromise. This is perhaps the most important lesson the students could learn, and I sincerely hope the teachers will help the students recognize this facet of the situation.
Also, those who orchestrated the outcome should be commended for their maturity and use of compromise as a means to an end. Can you imagine what might be accomplished if politicians would use the same method?
Don't censor 'Jabberwock'
From: Darlene J. Papier
I would like to congratulate Mark Guidera for an excellent job on his column "Deletion of play's few curse words is a profane act," The Harford County Sun, April 26.
This removal of questionable words from "Jabberwock" is the saddest case of censorship I have ever seen.
Literature is a form of preserving history, in that one may read many authors during one time period to understand what was going on at that time. Textbooks do not give children all the facts or all the truths of history.
Literature makes up for the void that school textbooks leave. But when certain literary works are taken away, certain truths and cultures are lost, and history is not fully understood.
The parents that complained about various aspects of "Jabberwock" are naive. If those parents think that this play will change the lives of their children forever, making them "un-American" or exposing them to curse words, those parents are sadly mistaken. People dodging drafts are a part of history.
Other people and things influence children's lives besides the play "Jabberwock." Can the parents that objected tell me that their children do not watch television, do not go to movies, do not listen to the radio, do not have older brothers and sisters, and do not have friends?
Chances are, middle school students know quite a few curse words, and they know what they mean.
You must be naive to actually believe that your children are perfect. Surprise! They aren't!
Children should be taught to learn from their mistakes and their friends' mistakes and society's mistakes. That way, they could read about a time when blacks and women were thought of as "inferior" and know it is wrong and be better people for knowing that.
If you want to hide your children from all the "bad" in the world, move to Utopia.
Just because you came to the harsh realization that the world is not perfect, do not censor. Censoring hides the problems, it does not fix them.
Parents, teach your children morals at home. That way your children can conquer all the evils that lurk in today's society.
'Free speech' hypocrisy
From: Charles A. Clough
Mark Guidera's column, "Deletion of play's few curse words is a profane act," The Harford County Sun, April 26, about the Harford public schools administration's decision to censor curse words from a middle school play stimulated me to ask the writer a question:
If censorship destroys literature's purpose "to help us reflect on the deeper meanings" of life, and to "move us at a deep intellectual and spiritual level," would you also oppose censorship of a far more profound degree than mere excision of profanity?
I have in mind here the systematic exclusion of serious literature in the Judeo-Christian tradition under the spurious "separation of Church and State" dogma.
My own educational experience and that of my children in public schools has shown me that often the loudest proponents of "freedom of expression" hypocritically turn to censorship themselves as soon as a classroom discourse drifts ever so slightly toward those dangerous ideas of creation, man's dominion over nature, human responsibility for sin, final judgment at the end of history, etc.
Do these ideas, perhaps, move us to a too deep intellectual and spiritual level to be tolerated?
With that Puritan minister of education, John Milton, who wrote one of the most definitive essays in the English language against censorship (Areopagitica) I would be delighted to see the end of all censorship in classroom discussion.
Let's not fuss over censorship of a few curse words when the entire ideological core of traditional Western thought is comprehensively excluded from the same classrooms.