This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.
Hey y’all. (Unlike that nose-biter Maud Newton, I embrace this phrase from my days of Southern living. It’s gender-neutral, unpretentious, and Canadians, for some reason, think it’s hilarious when I say it.)
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, so forgive the slightly stale odor of these links, but I really did have to mention these signs of impending doom and cultural decay:
First, the startling fact that foreign language works comprise only 2-3 percent of the American literature market. This thoughtful article by Laura Nall (y’all, sometimes these student newspapers have some really good stuff) goes into the reasons why and the reasons why it ought to change:
Edwards best sums up the argument for reading foreign literature with the observation that “the more we are exposed to diverse cultures through their literatures, the more tolerant we will become of physical and cultural differences.”
So you’d better do what the lady says and send in your suggestions for neglected translations. For the record, my suggestions are Ferdydurke, by Witold Gombrowicz (though not precisely neglected, one of my favorite books of all time. Like Kafka, but funny), and Kingdom’s End by Saadat Hasan Manto, a collection of stories about the horrific partition of the Indian sub-continent, originally written in Urdu.
Then, this headline pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks: “1 in 3 teens says First Amendment goes ‘too far’“. Even more startlingly:
Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.
(Anybody else hear the sound of thunderous hooves that doth nigh approacheth?)
Seems that if you actually teach students about what the first amendment is, what it protects, and then give them a chance to practice it, these attitudes change.
The study suggests that students embrace First Amendment freedoms if they are taught about them and given a chance to practice them, but schools don’t make the matter a priority.
Students who take part in school media activities, such as a student newspapers or TV production, are much more likely to support expression of unpopular views, for example.
About nine in 10 principals said it is important for all students to learn some journalism skills, but most administrators say a lack of money limits their media offerings.
I wonder if the increasing popularity of blogging might do something to change this. We can only hope.