Serenity ... What's That?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Down with Censorship!

Would you believe my son's school is censoring him? Ridiculous. Every year they put together a book where every kid in the school gets to write something that is published. Very good for getting those inventive, open-ended, unbounded juices flowing, for helping them to develop imagination, insight and the discipline it takes to be creative ('cause no matter your talent, it's damn hard work). Oh, but did I mention you have to be creative within their ideals? You have to stay within the box they want you to, but don't bother to tell you about before you start writing? Before you work very hard to produce something that you're proud of?
Yeah, they didn't tell him either.
So when he submitted the following story, they promptly returned it with "We refuse to print this because it's too violent."
Whatever. Like kindergarteners and above don't see dozens of acts of violence every day in their cartoons? Read it in their books? Hear it on the news?
I promised Connor that his short story would be published, so I'm posting it here. A little bit of background first. Connor grew up listening to stories I'd make up for him. Most of the time they were either Dodo the Dumptruck or The 6-pack vs. some alien/creature/oppressor. Hey, he liked them, what can I say?
For this year's book, he decided to write his own 6-pack story. I'm very proud of it, since I helped not one iota. These are his words, his thoughts and his sentence structure. Scary as it is, the kid has better grammar than I do.
And I'm very, very proud of you, Connor.

The 6-Pack vs. The Evil Robot Ninjas
by Connor McLean
Once upon a time there was a famous superhero group called the 6-pack. There was a mom, a dad, a grandpa, a grandma, an uncle and a kid named Connor. They were relaxing in their Hawaiian headquarters in Florida. All of a sudden, the videophone rang and Connor answered.
It was a girl from Japan. She said that evil robot ninjas were invading Japan. Connor hung up and hit the emergency button. Everybody lined up as Connor gave the briefing. After that, they got their weapons and went to the hangar and took off in their flying aircraft carrier.
When they got to Japan, they took the fighters down to land. When they got down, they encountered a group of robot ninjas. Mom quickly did them in with her boomerang spear. Connor spied archers and quickly destroyed them with his bow. Uncle saved Grandpa and chopped the head off one that was about to hit him.
When Connor checked a commander, he found a scroll that he deciphered and kept. When they reached the village, they split up. Connor stumbled upon the enemies HQ and snuck in. When he found the main computer, he hacked in and stopped the factory from producing any more robot ninjas, then set explosives and ran.
He got out just as the explosives went off, but he found himself surrounded by 10,000 robot ninjas. But Connor used the scroll he had found called Word of Power. As he said the inscription, energy built up around him and when he finished, the energy dispersed in one giant shockwave. Not only did it destroy the evil robot ninja army, but it sent them flying back thirty yards!
After the rest were destroyed, the 6-pack stumbled upon and infiltrated a giant robot ninja where they found the mastermind behind the robots. It was Catamus Maximus! After they captured him, animal control took him away.
The world was safe and Connor had a new weapon.
The end.


  • At 8:36 PM, Anonymous connor mclean said…

    thank you mom for puplishing this and i agree. what are are troops fiting for in iqari? our freedom. and we have the freedom of writing or something like that.

  • At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Susan G. said…

    Yeah, DOWN WITH CENSORSHIP! Especially when they don't tell the kids the "rules" in advance.

    Connor, it's a great story. You go, kid! Sounds like many a Power Ranger episode (guess the teachers never saw that) or the Spy Kids movies (guess the teachers/school people missed those) or a host of any other shows readily available on TV or in the movies - very sad to see how sheltered those school folks are.

    But it irritates the heck out of me. Like writing about something is the same as doing it. Last I checked Stephen King has never chopped someone to bits or started fires with his mind. Robin Cook never actually put someone into a coma and harvested their organs. And Tom Clancy never helped bring in a Russian sub or tried stealing a nuke.

    It's scary, actually, that the people entrusted to educating our children do not understand this.

    Meanwhile, Connor, you just keep writing stories that speak to your imagination!

  • At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a great story! Way to go, Connor. It's no more violent than any cartoons being shown on TV these days. Connor didn't write in gory details, no blood was spent, and on top of it all, they are only robots, for crying out loud! Seems to me we’re dealing with over-zealous school censors. Let up, people, publish the kiddo's story, he’s proud of it, with good reasons. Don’t undermine his confidence..

  • At 8:59 PM, Anonymous steve payton said…

    Connor it is a great story and whoever
    decreed that it was too violent has little or no contact with the real world. Children have always reveled in make believe violence, ergo Superman, Popeye The Katzenjammer Kids. All long before TV or even radio in some cases.
    This sort of thing is what totalarian government espouse not the USA.

  • At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Chris Greene said…

    Great story Connor! Always stand up to THE MAN no matter what shape he takes...
    We definitely have to stand up for our basic freedoms such as freedom of speech, after all it's part of what this country was founded on.

  • At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Christopher Payton said…

    Hey Connor,

    Good job on the story. Glad to see I'm still an action hero.

    It's too bad that you are being told one thing and then find out about rules you knew nothing about. Life works like that a lot unfortunately. Don't let anyone restrain you and your ideas. You are a very smart person and I'm glad to see you stick to your guns (so to speak).

  • At 9:03 AM, Blogger Diana Peterfreund said…

    I'm so glad I found this blog! Great story, Connor! Really exciting and descriptive. I expecially liked the part where you harnessed the energies in the Word of Power!

    Keep writing!

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Rugrat! I think it's a great story! I can't believe they won't put it in the school book! Tell your mom to talk to Ms. Henderson about it and to mention the book that she read, I think it was called "Walk Two Moons in My Mocasins" or something like that. Jen, I'm not sure I like the idea that they are censoring his story but are ok with reading books to their kids that including a mother dying while pregnant and having a stillborn baby. Ms. Henderson explained that she can't pre-read all the books she reads with her students, so everyone in the class got to experience the book, but they are going to leave out a story he wrote that is no worse than the cartoons the kids watch? I will have to talk to you about this later. I think it is a great story Connor and don't let anyone tell you different! I love you buddy! Bye for now! Daddy

  • At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Carol Cross said…

    The most violent part was the chopping off of the head and that is in every animal based cartoon we have. Look at Tom & Jerry, I agree with whoever was talking about the violence they were reading in books. They can't read something that has more potential harm to a student and them tell them their fictional work is too violent. The strangest thing to me is that they would sensor a student showing a faith in the greater good. "But Connor used the scroll he had found called Word of Power. As he said the inscription, energy built up around him and when he finished, the energy dispersed in one giant shockwave." Connor may not have meant this to be a show a faith in the greater good, but that is what I got out of it.

    Jen, you are wonderful mother and I am proud that you are "publishing" this for Connor. Connor keep writing and one of these days you will have publishers eating out of your hand. I think the school was wrong for censorship and for not fully disclosing the rules. I am proud to know such a bright and intelligent young gentleman. I know Avery is too.

  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger Meg said…

    Connor has the makings of a first class Bestseller writer...but then again, who wants to write a best seller. He'll write a new manifesto for censorship-free states and that's even better! :) Way to go Connor. I particularly love "their Hawaiian headquarters in Florida." *giggle*

    Oh, and BTW, hi Jen. I'm Meg and got here via patrick's blog.

  • At 9:57 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    Thanks Meg, I'm very proud of him, too. And welcome :) I've "seen" you around via Patrick, too!

  • At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Connor's story was violent? Right now my daughter's won't allow the seniors to wear their senior t-shirts because they have the word "cocky" on them. So sad. By the way I have a son name Connor McLean Bright!


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