Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Thoughts on the Banned Sherlock Holmes Book

I saw this over at Gallycat yesterday and just laughed. I laugh because it's absurd that one Sherlock Holmes book would be challenged over another when both would have questionable material.  I can understand challenging a book and I can understand when a book is removed (though I don't always agree it was the right decision). I don't understand why they would only challenge one book for one character's thought and not all Sir A.C. Doyle's books for the main characters continual use of drugs.

Sherlock Holmes is a drug addict. If you've read the books, you know this fact. I can understand not wanting sixth graders to read about a man who uses cocaine when he's bored. If the book was challenged and banned from the reading list for this reason I'd accept it, it's understandable. The book wasn't.

I've done some digging and found that A.C. Doyle apologized for his portrayals of Mormons in this book and admitted that he had been misled by the writings of the times that were very Anti-Mormon. I see this as a missed teaching opportunity. We can't say times have changed because we still live in a world where there is misinformation about religions and cultures that aren't true, but are believed because the "anti" voice is louder than the voice of reason.  This could have been a chance to teach these sixth graders about searching for the truth and not believing everything you hear.

How To Download a Free Copy of Banned Sherlock Holmes Book: "
A Sherlock Holmes book has been banned from a school district in Virginia for allegedly expressing anti-Mormon sentiments. The school board removed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s A Study in Scarlet from sixth-grade reading lists after a parent complained that it was anti-Mormon.

If you’d like to read the controversial work, Project Gutenberg has the free download. Jacket Copy has a first-hand account about attending school in this district.

New York Magazine has more: “The book, which includes a character who thinks marrying a Mormon is ‘a shame and a disgrace,’ will still be available to older students who wish to pollute their minds. Sixth graders will be left to read other Holmes books that include such wholesome topics as injecting cocaine with a special syringe that has its own leather case.”

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