Norwegian Wood Too Hot for School

I’m mainly linking to this because when will you ever again get to hear a Fox News blowhard rail against Haruki Murakami? Plus, it’s strange how outraged parents will tolerate all kinds of sex, drugs, violence, etc in television, movies, and the culture at large but will go to long lengths to stop their children from reading books. I suppose it’s some kind of sublimation of the urge to protect their kids from the dangerous world out there, books being easier to ban than the TV.

It was put on the required summer reading list for the 15- and 16-year-old pupils entering the 10th grade at Williamstown High School in New Jersey, with Nic Sheff’s memoir of addiction and recovery, Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines, recommended for senior-year students, aged 17 to 18. After “multiple” complaints from parents to the school board, the books have now been removed from the lists.

Objections were raised in particular to a scene in Norwegian Wood that sees Naoko’s confidante, Reiko, relating the time when she was seduced by a 13-year-old girl, and to a “drug-fuelled, homosexual orgy” in Tweak.

“I don’t think that’s relevant for any teenager,” mother Robin Myers said to local paper the Gloucester County Times about Murakami’s novel. “I was just kind of in shock.”

Fox News interviewed Peter Sprigg of Christian organisation the Family Research Council, and author of Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage, about the controversy. “Here we see the intersection of parental values being offended, the hypersexualisation of our youth and the homosexual agenda being pushed. This just illustrates why a lot of American parents are not willing to entrust their children to the public schools any more,” he said.

I’m not going to link to the actual Fox News piece, but you can get it from the Guardian article and it’s fun to read how they try to frame Norwegian Wood as some kind of hyper-explicit sex romp.

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