Thursday, September 04, 2008

AQA In GCSE Censorship

Top exam board asks schools to destroy book containing knife poem | Education | The Guardian
Today I am going to kill something. Anything.

I have had enough of being ignored and today

I am going to play God. It is an ordinary day,

a sort of grey with boredom stirring in the streets

I squash a fly against the window with my thumb.

We did that at school. Shakespeare. It was in

another language and now the fly is in another language.

I breathe out talent on the glass to write my name.

I am a genius. I could be anything at all, with half

the chance. But today I am going to change the world.

Something's world. The cat avoids me. The cat

knows I am a genius, and has hidden itself.

I pour the goldfish down the bog. I pull the chain.

I see that it is good. The budgie is panicking.

Once a fortnight, I walk the two miles into town

For signing on. They don't appreciate my autograph.

There is nothing left to kill. I dial the radio

and tell the man he's talking to a superstar.

He cuts me off. I get our bread-knife and go out.

The pavements glitter suddenly. I touch your arm.

By Carol Ann Duffy

Wow, that's a pretty incredible poem. I especially like the bit about Shakespeare and the fly, "and now the fly is in another language". It's amazing how well the poem capture typical teenage boredom, and explores the link between boredom and violence. This poem was meant to be a text for GCSE English students this year, but unfortunately due to the AQA and some BASTARD CALLED PAT SCHOFIELD, it has been banned. Presumably because it's about knives and stuff and they're scary, and if a teenager reads this he's probably going to out and knife someone? FUCK! This is exactly why censorship is so wrong, issues like knife crime should be talked about, we should try and understand why people feel the need to stab someone else. But according to PAT FUCKING SCHOFIELD, we should stop writing (and presumably making tv programs, films, radio plays) about knife crime and pretend it doesn't happen, because that'll all make it go away! It seems from the article that this ludicrous censorship has come about only because of one complaint 4 years ago, and another this year from Pat Schofield which was taken up by his MP and then acted on.

My first thought was "so ban Shakespeare aswell then?" and this was also put well by Michael Rosen:
"By this same logic we would be banning Romeo and Juliet. That's about a group of sexually attractive males strutting round the streets, getting off with girls and stabbing each other.

"Carol Ann is an easy target because she's a modern poet." He added: "Of course we want children to be talking about knife crime and poems like these are a terrific way of helping that happen. Blanket condemnation and censorship of something never works."
Indeed, indeed. I remember reading Carol Ann Duffy poems when I did GCSE English about five years ago, and although I wasn't that fascinated in the subject I do have fond memories of her poems, and it saddens me that children this year won't get the same experience.

Unfortunately it looks like Nick Seaton, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education is a fucking idiot too. Here's his quote from this BBC article:
"I'm not in favour of censorship but I think Education for Leisure is a cruel poem and doesn't deserve to be included in the AQA's anthology. When we've got so much magnificent poetry in the English language it seems wrong that this poem should be included. The poem is about irresponsible power over things and I can well imagine it will appeal to the baser instincts of some people. Education should be about lifting spirits. I don't think this poem has anything to recommend it."
I just can't begin to imagine what kind of fucked up little fantasy world this people live in. According to Nick Seaton's logic, nobody should be exposed to fiction where people do bad things, because it will make them do bad things. So what about in Eastenders when someone beats someone else up, is that a "cruel tv drama that doesn't deserve to be on the BBC"? I'm speechless.

Oh, one more thing, FUCK YOU PAT SCHOFIELD.

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