Nation's Teens Disappointed By Banned Books

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Vol 36 Issue 07

CNN Headline News Reporter Unafraid To Face The Cold, Hard Factoids

ATLANTA–In an interview in the March issue of Brill's Content, CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell described herself as "committed to reporting the cold, hard factoids, no matter what the cost." In the candid interview, Russell is quoted as saying, "Americans eat 850 million pounds of cranberry sauce each Thanksgiving. You may not want to hear that, but it's an undeniable factoid, and I am going to report it." Russell came under fire last year for a controversial report alleging that the average pair of shoes is worn for 14 months.

Alex Trebek Deftly Prolongs Agonizing Small Talk

BURBANK, CA–Alex Trebek, host of the popular quiz show Jeopardy, deftly prolonged a mid-show chat with contestant Paula Riel into an agonizing 45 seconds Monday. "So, do you meet many interesting or famous people in your job?" Trebek asked Riel, a 33-year-old Norwalk, CT, flight attendant, during the informal "meet the contestants" portion of the broadcast. Upon hearing that Riel had once served a Diet Coke to actor Jeff Daniels, Trebek responded, "He's a very talented actor, although I understand that his latest film was not such a big hit. That's very unfortunate for him." Riel responded by nodding in a non-committal manner.

Local Welder Suffering From Welder's Block

EASTON, PA–Area welder Bruce Meacham admitted Monday that he is suffering from a severe case of welder's block. "I know what I want to do," Meacham said. "I need to get this supporting strut attached to the main body of this girder. But I keep running into a wall every time I sit down and try to actually weld." Meacham said he spent the better part of last Saturday putting on his goggles, starting up his acetylene torch, and then merely staring at the two pieces of metal for hours. "You've got to understand, welding is a creative act," Meacham said. "It's not the kind of thing where you can just punch the clock and do it from nine to five."

Hillary's Last Name Dropped From Senate Race

ONEONTA, NY–Ending weeks of speculation, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager confirmed Monday that the Democratic candidate is dropping her last name from the New York Senate race. "After much consideration, Hillary has decided that she can run a leaner, more effective campaign with just her first name," Howard Wolfson announced at a rally in Oneonta. "We thank all of Hillary's supporters, and all the citizens of the great state of New York, for standing by her on her road to becoming 'Senator Hillary.'" Hillary is married to politician Bill Clinton.
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Nation's Teens Disappointed By Banned Books

WASHINGTON, DC–Huckleberry Finn, Slaughterhouse Five, and The Catcher In The Rye are just a few of the many banned books to which U.S. teens are reacting with disappointment, the American Library Association reported Monday.

Education Watch

"I was really psyched to read Huck Finn when my English teacher told me it was banned, because I figured, you know, it would be dirty," said Joshua Appel, a sophomore at Rocky Mount (VA) High School and one of 14,000 teenagers recently surveyed by the ALA. "But it was totally lame: There was no sex or violence or anything. They say 'nigger' in it, but I can hear that on half my CDs."

Thousands of similarly underwhelming experiences have been reported. Among the banned works of literature which students have failed to find sufficiently prurient, profane, or violent: Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

"I mean, how fucking boring can you get?" said Clovis (NM) High School junior Richard Booth, who made a special trip to the mall to buy a copy of John Knowles' A Separate Peace upon discovering that his school had banned the novel for "inappropriate language, graphic violence, and representation of non-traditional values." "The swears weren't that great, and the violence was just a guy breaking his leg. I thought maybe the non-traditional-values thing meant that maybe the guys in the dorm were, like, doing each other up the ass, but all they did was talk, talk, talk."

Outraged teenagers in St. Paul, MN, burn copies of <I>The Grapes Of Wrath</I> and other lame banned books.

"The only reason to ban this book is because it's full of preppy crap," Booth added.

In a letter sent to the ALA, the American Association Of High-School Students cited its members' other complaints with banned books, including: the monster in John Garner's Grendel isn't scary at all and doesn't even act like a monster; William Golding's Lord Of The Flies is not actually about a mutant insect man who can control the world's flies with his mental powers; and there is no reason to read Stephen King's Cujo when you can see it on cable 24 hours a day; plus, it's not that good, anyway.

"Desensitized to sex and violence from an early age, today's teens simply expect more out of their banned books than previous generations," said Naomi Gould, director of the D.C.-based National Education Consortium. "For the teens of yesteryear, access to novels like Tropic Of Cancer, Portnoy's Complaint, and Lady Chatterley's Lover was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime thrill. But for teens raised on Cinemax and Def Comedy Jam, it just doesn't cut it."

Matt Kornreich, a sophomore at Hialeah (FL) High School, agreed. "It's just a big tease," he said. "If I want porn, I'll go get some porn. And if I want to, like, be intellectually stimulated... Yeah, right."

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