Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Wednesday, September 26, 2007  
Life of Crime and Addiction

I started a life of rebellion and civil disobedience when I was very young. Maybe I was just born that way. Or maybe there were strong influences in the home.

It’s usually that way. Bad seeds usually sprout from somewhere, there’s usually some influence, nature or nurture, which every now and then causes a leaf or twig on the family tree to bend a little differently.

Or sometimes the whole family is such a mess, so far gone that everyone just rolls their eyes in a “well, what did you expect” kind of way. There are no big mysteries in my case. I didn’t stand a fighting chance.

I was born to be bad. My parents actually were the ones who launched me into a life of rebellion. My law abiding, university educated, Scout troop leading, Rotary committee chair, churchonsunday pillars of the community parents were trouble, too. And they didn’t even have the decency to hide their wayward ways.

Funny thing is, scandalous as it seems, no one cared. No one was even concerned about the children. My parents’ friends and neighbors just let them drag us kids down into a life of debauchery. They even lauded both of my parents for their evil ways and what they were doing to their children.

So it’s not my fault, not really. This addiction, this need, this carefree attitude about rebellion, this lack of regard for social mores and a yearning to defy was bred into me at conception and then nurtured and developed by my conniving parents who thumbed their noses at the rules and society and encouraged me to do the same. I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know there was another way of life.

I didn’t know it was wrong.

My name is Trillian and I’m and addict. My addiction causes me to do all sorts of things I now know I shouldn’t do, things society doesn’t approve, things no self-respecting single woman should do on a Saturday night.

It started innocently enough. I guess.

Though looking back I’m not so sure. You have to understand it’s difficult to discern innocent from guilty because of the brainwashing I endured all those formative years. My sense of right and wrong, good and bad, innocent and guilty is skewed by the deeply ingrained way of life I learned from my parents.

I place my earliest memory at about age 2. It’s one of those fuzzy, weird, dreamlike memories which you know, deep down, is a memory, you feel it, you know it happened to you because you remember it, you were there, yet it kind of seems like something you saw in a movie. Except you know the actors and the surroundings are familiar, even recognizable. I’m in my little girl bedroom and my brother tries to take something away from me. I throw my bottle at him. My mother appears and scolds my brother for bothering and teasing me and taking away my treasure. She then scolds me for throwing my bottle and threatens to take it away from me because I’m too big for a bottle anyway.

“We don’t throw things at people, young lady. One more time and the bottle’s gone. You’re getting too big for a bottle anyway. And you’re supposed to be taking a nap. Now. See? Everything’s fine, no harm done, he didn’t ruin it. Let’s have a look, why don’t we find out what’s going on in Wonderland today.” And then I cuddle up to my mother’s bosom, lose myself in the folds of her blouse and smell of her Breck shampoo and the safety of her embrace while she tenderly lulls me to sleep with melodic poetry about “Wonderland.”

Wonderland. Wonderland! I mean, the nerve of that woman! Making it all sound so fun, enticing a child, a baby, really, to play with fire. There should be laws about this sort of thing. Some people should not be allowed to breed. Wonderland! Of all the euphemisms, of all the evil, sinister deceptions…

There are other memories, riding my tricycle, jumping into the deep end of the pool into my father’s arms, swinging higher and higher on the swingset, duck-duck-goose. Normal kid stuff. Stuff that made it all seem so normal. Now I know that was part of the sinister plan. Add it to the list of regular childhood activities and it won't seem incongruous. Just incorpate it into everyday life as if it’s perfectly normal, perfectly harmless, and no one will suspect a thing. Especially the children. They simply have no idea that this isn’t normal, that this is bad, wrong.

My first true cognitive, conscious continuing vivid memory starts around age four. By that time I was deeply entrenched in the daily rituals my parents performed. If you’d taken me away from them at that age I still would have been too far gone to save. I was already doing it three or four times a day. It was the first thing I wanted when I woke up in the morning and was lulled to sleep with it at night.

Frequently after dinner my dad would take me into the den and he’d indulge me, teach me. Sometimes my brother would join us. First my dad would show us how it was done and then my brother would do it and then my father would make my brother go do his homework and focus his attention on me, patiently “helping” me. My dad was, and still is, one of the all time undisputed masters. He, too, seems to have been born to do it.

My mother’s role is different. Perhaps more powerful than my father’s. Quieter, more sinister, more behind the scenes. Whereas my father is more of an eager participant, she was in on all of it, she even did it professionally before she met my dad, had three kids and moved to the suburbs to spin her web of corruption under the guise of happy normal life in the unsuspecting suburbs. Is there anything more sinister than the evil to be found masquerading as normal? She looked and seemed like the perfect loving mother doting on her husband and children, entrenching herself in the community, she was a Cub Scout Den Mother, a Den Mother for crying out loud! The woman’s malicious intent knew no boundaries. A Den Mother! Evil, pure evil.

I didn’t stand a chance. None of us did. I was four-years-old and addicted so badly Betty Ford herself couldn’t have broken my habit.

Looking back on it there is one redemptive characteristic shared by my parents. They never assumed we couldn’t understand. They never talked down to us. Never hid anything from us and never made us hide anything from anyone else. The minister, a teacher, police…anyone who visited our house was welcomed to join in, in fact my parents often sent parcels of evil off with visitors. They kept a bag in the pantry where “donations” were accumulated. They encouraged us kids to help. Often we didn’t want to part with our treasures, but they disguised this as a lesson in charity.

“Someone less fortunate than you would really love that and cherish it. You have others, you can spare a few. Don’t you want other people to share the joy you’ve experienced? Mustn’t be selfish. Must think of others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Bitch. Now that I know what was going on all her virtuous lessons seem so sinister. My parents: Resident evil. Who knew?

Once the bag was full they’d take it to a couple of drop off points: The library, the church or the school rummage sale. It sickens me to think about this now. Now that I know better, now that I know how vile and disgusting their behavior was. It was all an elaborate grand scheme to, I don’t know, I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but there was obviously a grand scheme and it was clearly very elaborate. A lot of people were in on it. Someone made the pick-up, someone helped carry out their evil plan. But, to their credit, my parents never assumed we were too young to understand. Oh sure, there was some monitoring for age appropriateness. There were some boundaries. But for the most part they just went ahead and gave us what they deemed “good” for us, regardless of the level prescribed. If there was something we didn’t understand they’d just explain it to us. Consequently, by the time I started school I was exploring and experimenting beyond the levels of a lot of my classmates. Though many of them, too, had parents who were in on it, so it didn’t seem too weird and I wasn’t isolated.

At least not at first.

I was suckling it in at my mother’s bosom and learning at my dad’s knee, taking it all in, asking questions and accepting their answers, learning by example.

But, like most addicts, I soon desired to seek the answers to my questions on my own. Thirst for knowledge and lust for adventure, a desire to take it further, experiment unsupervised.

I had no idea it could, you know, kill me, or at alter me, change me, make me bad.

All I knew was that I craved it, needed it, wanted it, begged for it.

By the time I was seven-years-old I’d learned enough to be dangerous on my own and I was a slave to it. I was openly practicing on my own. My parents were proud of my accomplishments and encouraged me to press on, go further, try more serious stuff. The more I learned, the less I knew, the more I wanted to learn.

It’s a vicious cycle, this evil. I developed a bit of a snobbery about how far I’d gone, what I’d already done and what I was attempting to do. That’s when some of the kids at school started teasing me. They didn’t understand. But there were others, other junkies, other kids in the cult whose parents encouraged them. Now I realize some of our teachers were in on it, too. Some of our teachers. Not all of them. I’d find that out later. But at that time most of our teachers were supportive and encouraging and even organized groups based on levels of accomplishment. So I still had friends, things still seemed normal to me. I didn’t think I was special or different. I mean, I did normal kid stuff. I looked and behaved like a normal, albeit slightly over-imaginative, kid. If anyone suspected I had a serious problem, or that my parents were as horrible as they were, no one said or did anything. No one stepped in to help me. No one seemed to think there was a problem. Many people knew what my parents were doing and just let them go about their evil business.

When I hit pre-adolescence it began to interfere with my social life. Kids were evenly split: Those who did and those who didn’t. Those of us who did were frequently mocked, ridiculed and outcast. And, sadly, our addiction tends to lead to solitary use and subsequent isolation. The deeper we fall, the more isolated we become and the more refuge we take in that world. It becomes an escape, especially when the ravages of pre-adolescence start rearing their ugly heads. It gives us users the confidence and defiant courage to bravely continue with our habit. “I don’t even want to be popular! I have better things to do with my time! There are worlds to discover, I can push this farther and farther, there’s a never ending supply, who needs those stupid popular kids?”

And all the while my parents supported me.

Encouraged me.

Enabled me.

Indulged me.

I know it’s wrong, now, but in my defense I never would have survived those troubled, turbulent pre-adolescent and adolescent years were it not for my habitual escape. It may be wrong, it may be bad, it may be illegal in some states and countries, it may be sacrilegious and blasphemous, but it kept me from becoming a teen suicide statistic.

And it helped me learn about myself and the world around me. It unlocked doors and opened my eyes. It gives you, like, this really wild perspective, you know? The experience, the trips, can be phenomenal. The buzz, the head rush…it’s amazing. Sometimes euphoric. Often mind blowing. There’s always a little tingle of fear of the unknown, but that’s all part of the experience. Sure, you know it can be dangerous, and sometimes unpleasant, but the more you do it the more you want to test the limits. You become a thrill seeking junkie, you want more and you want bigger, stronger stuff.

My habit only intensified at university. I met other addicts. We shared our stuff. We talked about our experiences. “Whoa, this is amazing, you’ve got to try this, it’ll rock your world.” None of us ever questioned the legality or ramifications of our actions. Most of my friends had parents like mine, parents and teachers who got them hooked and encouraged their dependency. We didn’t see anything wrong with it. We thought it was a good thing.

Oh sure, we knew there were people who didn’t approve. People who didn’t understand. People who like to mock and control that which they fear or don’t understand. We weren’t oblivious or naïve. We knew there were people trying to stop us. But we just boldly and blindly continued on partaking and indulging in our habit, hoping they would one day find enlightenment and change their perspective, rules and laws.

Then one day I had to face the facts of my evil way. I was cornered and confronted.

I was volunteering with a group of young girls. I was helping them with art projects when the subject came up among a few of the older girls. One of them, like me, had parents who encouraged her use of the contraband and she was raving about a recent experience. The other girl, whose parents were obviously virtuous, God fearing carriers of the cross and burden of reformation, was piously, sincerely, without fire, brimstone or elevated heart rate, calmly stating all the errors of our ways, the truth behind the popular lies, busting the myths and patiently showing us the clear path to redemption.

What we were doing was wrong.


She told us The Truth.

God doesn’t like it and He doesn’t like anyone who does it. Neither does the president. That’s why it’s not allowed in churches or schools. Because God and the president say it’s wrong.

A child shall lead the way.

I could feel my blood pressure rising. How dare this sweet child’s parents fill her with such ridiculousness? Her parents are perpetuating the narrow-minded, “it’s for their own good” party line. This little girl could grow up unwavering in her parents’ beliefs and continue the tradition, carry the cross, and also perpetuate the hatred and condemnation of that which they do not understand.

But she was not my child, her mind was not mine to persuade, cajole or confuse. How could I set her straight, explain another point of view, without sending her into a state of confusion and mistrust? I could hear the dinner table conversation, “Miss Trillian says it’s okay. She does it and she and Jenny had fun talking about it. Miss Trillian says there’s nothing wrong with it, she does it all the time.”

Her outraged parents could then not only get me fired from a volunteer gig I really enjoyed, they could cause a lot of problems for the school sponsoring the after school program. I didn’t want to jeopardize the program or my role in it. Especially not over something already deeply rooted in public controversy. My place was to share, mentor and educate these young girls. Not corrupt them.

I’d never seen it that way. Before that day I saw myself as a beacon of truth and understanding.

That young girl made me see the real, deeper Truth.

The Truth that there is a lot more to it than unenlightened and ignorant naysayers.

Religion and politics.

Oh sure, I’d known that all along. Religion. Politics. Money. Sex. The roots of all controversy. But I didn’t personally know anyone who went to those churches or voted for those law makers. I thought it was just a few people stirring up a lot of trouble and brouhaha for the rest of us.

But they are strong in numbers. And their religion and politics define them. And they will stop at nothing to uphold their values and way of life. Regardless of the hypocrisy of their intolerance. Some issues are beyond reason, beyond hypocrisy. God and the president. You have to stand up and defend your beliefs and your values.

Which is why today I am coming out, standing up and publicly admitting to years of habitual use and addiction.

My name is Trillian and I read banned books.

My parents read banned books. My friends read banned books. Even some of my teachers read banned books and encouraged their students to read banned books.

My drug of choice, my crack, my demon lover, is books. Even, especially, banned books.

Random Sampling

A recent random spot check of a book shelf at my parents' house revealed five banned or controversial books on one small shelf alone. I didn't stand a chance.

I can’t speak for God and I don’t want to speak for the president (because he certainly doesn’t speak for me), but, if they don’t like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Tintin, Deenie, Harry Potter or James and his giant peach I have to question their rationale.

But then, I would, wouldn’t I? I’ve spent a lifetime reading and enjoying banned books. I’m one of them. The independent heathens who run around willy nilly reading books and question everything, especially God and the president.

Worse, in the eyes of the morality police, is that in many cases I didn’t even know the books were controversial, much less banned. My parents gave me the books to read and I eagerly devoured every word. I didn’t know they were bad books, I just knew I loved reading them. Ignorance is bliss.

My mother was an editor and manusript reader. Consequently she accumulated a lot of books. The publishing company she worked for prior to the birth of my brother gave her a steady supply of books, both new titles and reprints of classics. Banned? Huh? My mother's company printed and published these books for crying out loud. My mother. We're not talking Playboy® Enterprises, we're talking an established, prestige publishing company with a solid reputation. It never even crossed my mind that any of these books were bad for me. The only thing which embarrassed me about them was that they were dated editions - old and sometimes frayed with use - as opposed to the new "cool" paper back editions the other kids at school had. "Tom Sawyer? Oh yes dear, we have that, look on the living room shelf." Sure enough, much to my dismay, I'd find an old fashioned copy of the book. The only shameful thought I had was of disappointment. "Darn. I don't get to buy a fancy new edition. I'm going to look like a dork with this old copy."

That's not to say I didn't have plenty of new books. Other kids got candy or small dolls or toy cars as little treats. I got books. My mum would regularly come home from a day of shopping with a couple of books for me. Every couple of weeks my dad would come home from work with a) records and b) books. I'd gulp down my dinner and coax my dad to hurry up and finish his dinner, too, so we could dive into the new book. He'd pull me onto his lap and read the new book to me and teach me to read along with him. If my brother or I misbehaved, eventually, usually sooner rather than later, my dad would gather us after dinner and read us a passage from an appropriate book. Usually some Dickensian hardscrabble urchin surviving on his cunning and learning lessons in life and ethics along the way. You know, to make a point about our misbehavior or to help us understand there were kids who had things a lot worse than we did and we should be grateful for all we had. (My parents, being the evil influencers they are, also subscribed to the mother of all corruption, National Geographic which often served as not only a monthly world studies lesson, but lessons in humility, compassion and gratitude were also discussed. But in spite of all which can be learned on a monthly basis, National Geographic is not allowed in some school libraries because of "questionable content." You know, erupting volcanos are just a little too salacious for young minds and heavens, we can't have any of this evolution propaganda clouding their judgment.)

Reading and books were just a way of life, but, we never took books for granted. Every new book was special and exciting. And I was thrilled with each new tome. Even if there was a disciplinary lesson to be learned.

Little did I know my parents were weaving a web of evil and corrupting my young mind.

For instance, the first book I remember, the one I was so upset about my brother trying to pry from me, was a baby-fied version of Alice in Wonderland. I was no more than a baby but that controversial-to-some book was my cherished possession.

And in spite of her best efforts, Laura Ingalls Wilder did not turn me into a racist.

Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s lauded biofic long adored by 8-year-old girls and a much truer historic representation than any inane American Girl dumbed down marketing pabulum, were banned and are held in contempt in some circles. I spent an entire Summer captivated and held spellbound as the story of Laura and her family played out for me on the pages of those books. Since my father and his family were Nordic immigrants to Minnesota I felt a strong connection to Laura and her family. Her people were my people. Their land was our land. Those long family road trips to Minnesota were forever after much less tedious because I imagined Laura and her family pioneering the same land we were traveling. I learned a lot of things from those books but racism, hatred and derogatory stereotypes of First Nations people aren’t among them. Hard to believe beloved Michael Landon would have anything to do with anything sordid, but his highway to heaven was tainted with the stain of offensive literature.

Yes, I do recall references to "Injuns" and even Indians, and yes, there were some fearful passages wherein the Ingalls clan were facing the then rumored to be violent tribes of "red skins" as they pioneered across the prarie. But thanks to my parents, schools and community, I already knew times had changed and it was wrong to use those words. That was then, this is now. Further, I knew why it was wrong and I fully understood those stories happened a long time ago when things were very, very different. What I learned from those books was how different life was back then - for all skin colors. I learned about racial tolerance. It was my first lessons in how the West was really "won" and the injustices against the First Nations people living on the plains. I didn't put down those books and start my own little Children United Against Injuns club. Just the opposite. It prompted me to learn about the different tribes of First Nations people living in the area. So inspired was I that I started wearing my hair in braids and took up Chippewa beading for a few weeks. (And I also learned that Choctaws were often vegetarian which was terrific fuel to the fire already smoldering against my parents for making me eat animals. Now, for that my parents might have a valid argument against Ms. Ingalls Wilder.) Basically: The only thing Laura Ingalls Wilder did regarding racism was inspire me (and a lot of other young girls) to learn more about First Nations culture. If some kids misunderstand the books and skew the stories and twist them into some awful hate manifesto, the problem lies in the behaviors and examples their parents are giving the kids and what is taught, tolerated and accepted at their schools, not in the Little House books.

Roald Dahl and Judy Blume changed my life.

Mr. Dahl took me on my earliest and most exciting, life changing adventures. His way, his style, his humor, his words spoke (and still speak) to me, touched me, inspired my imagination to go places I dreamed into being after reading his words. His stories, yes, but more to the point, his words, the actual words and the way he put them together, were catalysts to dizzying heights of imagination. To this day traces of his humor and the visages his words conjure end up in most of my creative work. I owe so much to him that words fail me when I try to express my love and regard for his words. Some people sing a favorite song or think about puppies and kittens when life gets difficult. Me? I go to my happy place: Deep in the pages of The Witches or James and the Giant Peach or Charlie and Chocolate Factory or Matilda et al.

Had it not been for Judy Blume my difficult adolescence would probably have ended more like Go Ask Alice than in an AP lit class reading Slaughterhouse Five and Lord of the Flies. And I can say that with authority because I read my sister’s hand-me-down copy of Go Ask Alice and I knew I didn’t want to end up like that. After reading that banned book I was scared straight. That slim edition did more to keep me on the straight and narrow than years of Sunday school or the local cop addressing us kids about the dangers of drugs ever did. Yet parents, educators and religious leaders habitually declare it to be an evil tome of corruption.

I'm not a parent so I'm not fully qualified to make this statement, but, I was once a pre-adolescent and teenaged girl and I have volunteered and spent time with many other peoples' young adult daughters. Here's what I suspect regarding the Judy Blume Situation. Judy Blume is not to blame. She writes books which speak to young readers without condescending to, preaching at or accusing them. She addresses issues many (most) kids face. They identify or are at least sympathetic to her characters. The blame lies in parents not accepting that their children, especially their daughters, are young adults facing problems and issues far beyond a lost My Little Pony. The blame also lies in parents who have not developed strong communication with their children. Maybe they're afraid, embarrassed or just apathetic, but whatever the reason they haven't or don't talk, really talk, to their children and their children consequently feel alienated from them. A Judy Blume book appears and forces parent to confront their denial, fear, embarrassment or apathy. They could take the opportunity to open a meaningful dialog with their child, or, they could raise a stink with their local school or library for giving their child access to the book and form parents' coalition against the outragious corruption between the covers of Judy Blume's books. Apparently it's easier to go through all that than just sit down and talk to their child. Ban the books. Why not burn them? Heck, why not burn Judy Blume at a stake? "Are you there, God, it's me Judy. I heard you and the president don't like my books."

Flowers for Algernon. Catcher in the Rye. The Outsiders. Of Mice and Men. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A Doll's House. Lord of the Flies. Brave New World. To Kill a Mockingbird. Ulysses. And yes, even Carrie. If we weren’t “allowed” to read them as class assignments my parents and teachers made sure they were available to me for extracurricular education and enjoyment. Some of the teachers at my schools towed the safe party line and didn't assign any controversial books as reading assignments. One term I landed in one of those classes. Was it misery? No. Did my education suffer? No. But. My parents augmented my class assignments with books not on the "safe list." Instead of book reports there were conversations between my parents and I about the characters, plot and opinions of the books which came as easily and normally as discussions after seeing a movie.

I cannot imagine who I would be today had I not read these books in my formative years. Maybe my life would have been better, more successful, easier, if I hadn’t been corrupted by the words in those books.

It’s impossible to say. The damage is done.

But it will be interesting to see how that young God and president fearing girl’s life turns out free of the influence of banned books to enlighten and present new ideas and points of view to her. It will be interesting to see if obediently following the rules and staying away from what They say is bad will lead to success and happiness for her. You don’t know what you don’t know. Ignorance can be bliss.

I know this … a man got to do what he got to do.

A few years ago I was on a "date" with a man I met online. He seemed intelligent and normal enough. Educated. Professional. Conversation turned to the topic of bank profiteering. (As it naturally does...) I referenced Grapes of Wrath. He a) didn't understand the reference, b) said he'd never read the book, and c) said his school didn't allow it.

Okay. Sure. I understand that. But what I don't understand is why, in all the years since he became an adult and left that school, he never bothered to read one of the greatest books of all time. And worse—because, you know, maybe he was just really busy and hadn't got around to it—worse, though, was that he felt that the ban at his school was justification enough to never read the book. I wasn't crazy about this guy anyway, and he showed little interest in me, but the fact that he was okay with going through life avoiding books simply because they were on his high school's banned list made me scream, "Check please!" and high tail it out of there. If he were simply not interested in the book or didn't like Steinbeck's style or had valid personal reasons for not reading the book I would have been okay with that. Not everyone has to or needs to read every great literary work. But, to diligently avoid books simply because they were on your school's banned book list is something I can't tolerate in a potential suitor.

Maybe my parents and teachers were wrong. Maybe my friends and I are wrong. Maybe we’re all too brainwashed, too corrupted at too early of an age. Maybe we know too much.

Maybe we read too much.

If God and the president don’t like it, well, we should change our ways while we still can. Maybe we might have a shot at redemption and salvation. Maybe censorship isn’t bad. Maybe freedom of choice is bad. Maybe we should just stick to what They tell us to read and ignore the rest. Maybe it’s for our own good. You know, like communism. And Catholicism.

It could be nice to have a break from all that thinking. And it sure would be a lot easier and faster at book stores and on if our reading lists were given to us. No more browsing and perusing endless aisles and possible reading adventures. No more having to open your mind to new ideas and opinions. No more scary topics beyond the approved comfort level. No more corruption. No more having to think for yourself. No more reading about difficult situations and complicated concepts. No more gray area. No more horizons broadened. No more coming to uncomfortable realizations. No more stretching imaginations. No more wasted time, just stick to the approved list and away you go. What They say goes, the rest is bad and worthless.

Brainwashing 101.

Seems like I read something about that somewhere…was it back in 1984? Is it hot in here? Feels like it’s about 451° F.

Banned Book Week begins September 29. My advice, while I still have a few synapses firing independent of church and state, is to read or re-read a book on a banned list. Even if just to see what all the fuss is about or to feel naughty or rebellious, it’s a good time to ingest some words put together in sentences you may not have read for a while, or ever. There’s something on the lists to interest everyone. I’m certain you can find at least one "controversial" book which will appeal to you. Remember, unlike Mein Kampf which in a twist of laughable irony is not banned in the US, Canada and England (among others), even the Holy Bible regularly appears on banned book lists.


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