Jon de Vos: Objectionable material in Fraser
Winter Park, CO Colorado
Some Alabama professor is trying to rewrite history by whitewashing, not Tom Sawyer’s fence, but Mark Twain’s stories themselves. He should have picked on someone his own size because Twain, dead these hundred years, is much more than his match.
“The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never be washed clean again; I know this by my own experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again this side of the grave.” – Mark Twain
I read about some Little Rock parents who were reading all the books in their public library, looking to purge any objectionable material they uncovered. The story started me wondering. Who’s protecting Grand County children’s moral compasses?
Girded in righteousness, I strode into the Fraser library with a completely open mind, snooping around for offensive material in the children’s section. I started grabbing books right and left and I still think things might have turned out OK if that one little brat hadn’t clocked me with his Nerf bat while the rest of them tried to swarm me down like Gulliver. The mothers all got way out of line, too.
Anyway, I hid in the history section until the police restored calm, then I returned to my mission in the children’s section, waiting for something detestable to leap out at me. I opened the first book at random and out it jumped. Offensive, offensive! I read for an hour, appalled. Every book on their little shelves, offensive!
The Little Rock parents were correct. The children’s section of our own Fraser library is filled with disturbing material. Let me tell you a thing or two you may not want to know.
The size of the font in Children’s literature is much larger than comparable type found in adult fiction. Pause and think about this. Children’s font is larger, not merely by a few degrees, but by a factor of two to three times. I even found instances of type several times larger than that, along with many, many instances of pictures taking up 90 percent of the page. See Dick and Jane. Green eggs, I am. All huge.
I don’t understand. The little tyke’s eyes are sharp as puppies. They can read the micro-engraving on new currency. With their stubby arms and tiny hands, they’re holding that page so close it’s like standing at the base of a drive-in movie screen.
Adults, on the other hand, have longer arms with a comfortable reading position that by age 55, is 55 inches in front of them. Older adults have to use binoculars to read newspapers, yet adult fiction comes to us with print that looks like teensy gnats swarming across a blank page. Sure, there’s some Large-Print Editions but to paraphrase Casey Stengel, “it’s only in those popular books that nobody reads.”
Kids get big print. Adults get bifocals. This arbitrary and capricious ocular discrimination itself is objectionable and cannot be condoned in a free library supported by public funds.
Join me! Lift your head from the sofa and demand equal type sizes for all. And big ones at that!
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