Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kindred Spirits, Pornography and Witches - Oh My!

I'm of lover of things. And ideas. And kindred spirits.

Kindred spirits are veritably one of my favorite things in this life. They give me warm fuzzies and fill my life with awesomeness. What makes a spirit kindred, though? 

I first heard the term "kindred spirits" in a childhood favorite: Anne of Green Gables. It's defined as "a person who shares beliefs, attitudes, feelings, or features with another." My two best friends are kindred, as are a few others in my little world. My most recent kindred find is John Green, author of an array of YA fiction and contributor to the vlogbrothers YouTube channel (much more on that later).

I first learned of John Green when I saw this video about American health care costs being passed around on Facebook a couple months ago. It resonated with me. I wanted to see more of this amusing, informed, snarky, excitable person so I started investigating these vlogbrothers which led me to 2 months of relentless YouTube video watching and an impulse purchase of John Green's Paper Towns (it's amazing!). 

  • I agree with John Green's political views.
  • I relate to his level of excitement over things. 
  • I find his affinity for wearing pajamas while writing at home inspiring because it justifies my own cozy/lazy behavior.
  • Plus a hundred or so other little like-minded things.

BOOM! Kindred.

Anyway, I found the "I Am Not A Pornographer" video (featured above) in which John Green talked about how one of his books, Looking for Alaska, was in danger of being banned from a New York high school for being pornographic in nature. I haven't read this particular book yet, but if you watch the video you'll see that the accusation is a gross exaggeration made by a small group of parents who felt that they had the right to decide what was best for all children, even when the majority of the school's parents signed permission slips to have their 11th graders study this book. *Apparently there's a sex scene which, as John Green points out, is "awkward, un-fun, disastrous and wholly un-erotic" and that the book is "arguing against vapid physical interactions."

I was immediately reminded of my senior year of high school when our theatre class was excited about putting on a play, "Dark of the Moon". There was something magical about this play (other than the fact that it was about a witch boy who wanted to be human). People from outside of theatre wanted in, and a strange collective began to brew. Auditions filled up and ran into the early evenings, day after day. This was a large production and our school was frenzied in the absolute best of ways. This play was supposed to be one of those epic high school experiences for me. I didn't want a major role, just a part in something big and exciting. 

Then our own angry parental mob hit us. Witches! How evil. Spells?? Never! A small group of small-minded people ranted and raved all the way to the district offices and put a stop to our play. Our scripts were confiscated and dozens upon dozens of us high schoolers were left devastated by the injustice that had been done to us. 

Teenagers love to have the last word, especially if it's with a symbolic flipping of the bird. We tried to rally and talk our theatre teacher into allowing us to do Macbeth. Who would deny students the opportunity to preform Shakespeare?! We tried to pass it off as a desire to preform something from one of the greatest writers known to man, but really we just wanted to shove witches in the prudish parents' faces. 

Sadly, we failed. In the end they flipped the bird on us and we were forced to put on Bye Bye Birdie in all of its 1960s innocent glory. I opted out of those auditions and ran the concession stand instead. 


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