The Instigator
alto2osu
Con (against)
Winning
62 Points
The Contender
tkubok
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Book of Bunny Suicides should be banned from public schools.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,777 times Debate No: 8954
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (72)
Votes (12)

 

alto2osu

Con

Good day to you all!

Though I have a pending engagement in a tournament of sorts, the inspiration to debate has struck at this odd time, and at the encouragement of a fellow debater, have decided to put this topic up on the market:

The Book of Bunny Suicides (Andy Riley) should be banned from public schools.

This topic is near and dear to my heart, as I work for the school district in Oregon who became internationally famous for about 15 minutes when a parent spearheaded a movement to ban this book from our library shelves. In fact, I was on the review committee who made the recommendation to keep the book to our school board.

So, I'd like to know if someone can prove me and my committee wrong!

Since I am taking Con, I'll allow my opponent to make initial arguments, and we'll go from there. I'll lay out the following framework, though:

This topic is meant to be treated as if the deciding body is a nebulous school board weighing the pro's and con's of keeping a book in its high school library. Though the resolution is worded a bit funny for this, there's not much of a choice. However, keep in mind that I don't intend to argue about strange, unconstitutional federal bans on specific books, nor do I want to argue about categorical banning. That would be lame, since it eliminates a pro advocacy.

Here are some links that describe the book:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://www.independent.co.uk...

http://www.amazon.com...

Here are some links that describe the controversy in the given school district:

http://www.dhonline.com...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com...
tkubok

Pro

First off, i would like to thank my opponent for an interesting debate.

now, here are my arguments.

First off, censorship is a necessary procedure. There is a reason why we do not have Child Pornography, anywhere, despite the fact that this is censorship nonetheless. Things that are obscene, graphic or harmful, especially to children, are censored. ERSB ratings exist for the very same purpose. No one is advocating taking every copy of the book and burning it. However, we are advocating the removal of this book from public schools, where children from as young as 12 years old, study at.

Secondly, what possible educational purpose could this book provide? The only thing i could possibly think of, is to teach children how to kill themselves comically, or to teach children what black humour is. I would never let my child watch Lewis Black, especially if he or she was only 12 years old. And for this very same reason, most if not all black humour comedy shows have either parent advisory warnings, and time slots that are late in the night. This is why we call it BLACK humour, or Dark humour. There is no reason why children should have access to such a book at their public school libraries.

I look forward to hearing from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
alto2osu

Con

Thank you to my opponent for accepting my debate. I look forward to the next several rounds.

I will begin by presenting my advocacy, & then I will refute my opponent's.
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The negative advocacy makes a single claim: The Book of Bunny Suicides allows students access to a myriad of important ideas without violating any state or U.S. statutes. This advocacy is one centered upon a cost-benefit analysis. Essentially, this means that, if I establish that including The Book of Bunny Suicides in any given high school library will cause more good than harm, I should receive your vote.

My advocacy is broken up into four benefits of including this book in a public high school library's collection:

1. The book gives students access to important cultural & historical symbols, as well as controversial & difficult-to-handle topics. Funnily enough, this book isn't just strange images of self-aware rabbits in the process of taking their own lives. It is full of images which directly encourage higher order thinking & requires students not only to identify key cultural & historical events, but to analyze the cartoons from that perspective. For example, one of the rabbits is giving the English "bird" to a Nazi soldier in what is probably my second favorite image in the book. This cartoon requires specific historical knowledge to interpret, and can easily generate a discussion regarding World War II. Other images, such as NASA space shuttles, the Normandy Beach landing, & cigarette smoking are also given attention. Even the use of suicide itself can help individual readers cope with and even come to positively express their own struggles with the topic of suicide.

2. The book accesses cross-curricular content, which also encourages discussion. The rabbits in this book employ some especially confusing tactics by which to attempt suicide. One such image, involving a bowling ball, piece of plywood, and a spaghetti strainer can be used to present concepts in physics. Clearly, social studies concepts are represented by multiple historical military references. Health is also represented (via the cartoon referencing smoking as "suicide" I mentioned earlier).

3. The book is a wonderful, progressive example of demonstrative creativity. By this, I essentially mean that students can learn expression from books like this. The author of this book gives us numerous examples of incredibly creative ideas. From the bunny who attempts to kill him/herself via bowling ball, strainer, & plywood to the bunny who plants himself in between a kitchen knife & soon-to-open electromagnet store, these ideas show high levels of critical thinking & creativity. What's more, our students enjoy using some level of violence when it comes to their creative writing, because violence is a part of society. This book is, without a doubt, a portrayal of violence to come, but rarely shows a deceased bunny, and contains no gore whatsoever. We can actually show kids what it means to be artistically violent & appropriately violent in their writing without stopping creative writing all together.

4. At-risk readers are many, and are often forgotten when it comes to finding a point of interest in a given subject. This book, if we keep it for no other reason, we may keep for the students who are underserved. This is a new & different way of keeping their interest in subject areas where little else has worked, and current teaching theory advocates the use of such materials in education. We are teaching life-long reading in a world in which that is harder to do than ever before. While this book isn't the end-all-be-all of reading education, or general education, it is a doorway that we should exploit. The American Library Association has not only recommended this book as an excellent choice for young, reluctant readers, but its sequel, to school libraries across the nation.
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On to my opponent's advocacy:

Pro Contention 1. I have four responses:

1. This argument does nothing to further his claim that The Book of Bunny Suicides should be banned. Of course some censorship of speech is a must. This is well-established in the American constitutional judicial tradition. However, censorship being necessary does not inherently make it necessary in this case.

2. Child pornography, or pornography in general, is a false comparison. Access to this material is limited by federal statute. Last time I checked, bunny cartoons are not. My opponent fails to link the images in the book at hand to materials which have been ruled, either by the Supreme Court or other legal statute, as "obscene, graphic, or harmful."

3. Having read the book and having reviewed it on a committee of parents, teachers, a librarian, & a member of a school board, we did not find any content that was deemed legally or ethically questionable for students in our middle or high school. I encourage my opponent to bring specific image examples to warrant his claim that this book is inappropriate for this age level.

4. Fun side note: according to one of my sources below and one of my sources listed in RD 1, Taffey Anderson (the complaintant) threatened on multiple occasions to burn this book. :)

Pro Contention 2. I have two responses:

1. Please cross-apply my entire advocacy to this argument. I use logical warrants, empirical warrants, & the book itself to prove both educational and personal merit to students.

2. A parent still has the paramount right to individually censor a student's education, and that includes all reading material that crosses that child's path. To censor material that does not explicitly violate public policy is essentially a slap in the face to all parents, as the school district usurps their right in this case and hijacks their ability to parent as they see fit. All school districts in the nation allow parents to control the books that their students check out. This generally consists of a library database notification: if a parent has decided that a certain type of book or certain book should not be accessible to his or her student, that student may not check out said book. To ban the book is to take its access away from many more students whose parents would prefer that their children be reading as much diverse material as possible. Even in a school containing approximately 325 students, only 1 Central Linn HS student (in the case of my sources) is disallowed from accessing this book. Extrapolate this to the Portland school libraries that have it (which have never received a single complaint about the book), whose students number in the thousands.

Again, I thank my opponent for his RD 1 posting, and look forward to the next!
tkubok

Pro

I thank my opponent for a good response. Although i wish he had written his side of the argument at the start of round 1, i suppose its too late.

I shall first address my opponents arguments, before i defend my own.

1. This is comparable to another book that is subsequently banned from High Schools: The Protocols of the learned elders of Zion. Both contain historical symbols, as well as controversial difficult to handle topics. Furthermore, the Protocols of the learned elders of Zion is considered a forgery, so in many ways, it is a parody of the original context, which was a transcript written by a french satirist entitled "Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquie"(1). However, the reason why this book is banned, is the same reason why my opponents book should be banned. An argument can be made that any inappropriate content is a controversial and difficult to handle topic. Racism. Slavery. Pornography. Yet, these topics are banned from High schools for a reason. The first being, controversial topics, although important, are not a requirement by educational standards for Students to learn about. This is why we dont have Pornography is art class. Remember, this is a High school ,were children grades 8 through 12, or sometimes 7 through 12, attend. And we are not talking about an elective class availeable only to grades 11 and 12. The second reason, is that without being placed in a proper guidance and perspective, a child will misunderstand the reason why the book is controversial, or the context of the black humour. In truth, Suicide is no joke, and by establishing that it is, there is a high degree of possibility that the child who doesnt understand Suicide, may take the subject too lightly.

2/3. This is true of Any book. Any book, regardless of Content, can encourage discussion and debate or include creativity. My opponet has failed miserably in bringing this point up, especially the fact about social studies, as this would be true of any book with even the shred of military reference. By educational purpose, perhaps my opponent has misunderstood what I meant. The educational purpose of any book is in direct regards to its content. Neither discussion nor creativity are the benchmarks of an acceptable book in high school standards, as any book can easily be regarded as Creative, and they can also induce discussion and debate. Take the kama sutra as an example. The graphic depiction of sex positions is extremely creative, as any scholar would agree. Yet, regardless, the content is the reason why the book is rejected.

4. I completely disagree. The topic of suicide has become something of a cultural icon. Things like Star Trek, where the Klingon race has a ritual suicide system,(2) to websites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica and 4chan.org, which have sprung several memes regarding the topic(3), to Goth literature and movies such as Twilight. I am not against teaching suicide, the consequences, and encourage discussion. However, my opponent has failed to understand how the system works. The way we teach our children, the way we peak their interest, is not "okay, we have to teach our students about Sex. So lets flood our library with Erotic literature and Kama Sutra for children". The proper method of teaching children is to do it in a classroom setting, under the guidance of a teacher and with a proper curriculum in place. Especially if the subject is taboo or controversial. The main point here, is that we teach children in Sex Ed class, at a certain grade. We dont let all kids from grades 1 through 12 access to porn, and let them figure it out for themselves. I am all up for allowing certain subjects to be taught at certain grades.

Now, onto my rebuttle arguments concerning my opponents attacks against my own.

1. I would like my opponent to explain why the censorship of Bunnies suicides book is not necessarily the case, when we censor other things that are controversial and potentially harmful to children.

2. My opponent fails to understand the fact that he has just made a synonym. Limitation by federal statute, is by its very definition, censorship. My initial response towards censhorship, was after reading my opponents sources.(4) Pat McConnel states that the MOST convincing argument that he received, was that, and i quote:
"she said she was convinced by arguments from review committee members, who recommended keeping the book, that any other action would be censorship."
I would like to ask my opponent to explain why animated depictions of suicide are not harmful, obscene or graphic.

3. First, there is no legal ramifications, just as there is no legal ramification to keep Erotic literature in school libraries. Yet, the reason we remove such literature, is because of the content. The ethical question here, is whether or not the children will be reading the book within the correct context. Should a child read about a graphic depiction of Rape in a novel, or should he learn what Rape is, and why it is wrong, beforehand by a teacher or gaurdian?

4. What does this point have to do with anything?

Now, onto the pro contentions, although i have no idea what this serves to do, except to selfishly pander and promote himself.

1. Logical arguments are simple. That doesnt make them right. I can make a logical argument that supports slavery, but the real question isnt whether the argument is constructed via Logical syllogisms that are both valid and sound, but whether the stance supported by the syllogism is correct. I fail to see any empirical warrants. 2 out of your 4 arguments to support the book, using the book itself, have failed miserably as they can be applied to almost any book regardless of content. Its almost as if you want us to forget the content and concentrate on the irrelevant aspect of the book, which is interesting, since anyone can make the same argument for, say, any book.

2. This is a laughable argument to make. I shall make a point by point refutation.
- Any public library offers this book, and most public libraries are free. The argument that banning the book from SCHOOL LIBRARIES is completely nullified due to the fact that any parent is still free to go to the nearest public library and sign out this book. No school is trying to ban this book from every single library in the world, nor am I advocating that. parents are still free to do so as they feel by signing this book from their nearest public library.
-Even in a school containing 300 students, 280 of them have looked at pornographic material by the age of 16. This does nothing to support an argument to push erotic literature and pornographic material and content in our public schools. Therefore, id like to ask why you are making the same argument for this.

I also thank my opponent for posting the RD2. Let us continue to have an interesting debate.

1). http://www.adl.org...
2). http://memory-alpha.org...
3). http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com...
4). http://democratherald.com...
Debate Round No. 2
alto2osu

Con

I appreciate my opponent's response. I will attempt to follow the organization as laid out by my opponent.

Pro's Responses To My Case

My Contention 1:
A. These topics are not all categorically banned from high schools. My opponent is attempting to treat every book the same, which is inherently untrue of the book selection process, as well as illogical. If all controversial topics were banned from high school libraries & classrooms, the list of books allowed in libraries would be short and undistinguished. Note that such seminal works as Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice & Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Giver, Kaffir Boy, & Brave New World would all be banned, and each is a current staple in most high school classrooms because of its controversial nature. [1]
B. These topics are not inherently bad. The way in which they are handled is what is called into question. Extend my argument regarding the review of this book by myriad community representatives, all who concluded that the handling of the content was appropriate for high school readers.
C. Controversial topics, for the prior knowledge that they tap into & the higher order thinking that they encourage, are an intricate part of the educational standards in any given state. Not only that, but persuasive writing skills are based upon them.
D. We are talking about high school libraries. Students understand suicide at that point. Furthermore, extend my analysis which says censorship is a parent's job & right, not the school's in cases such as that of The Bunny Suicides.
E. Pornography is legally prohibited by federal statute. It in no way compares to the book in question.

My Contentions 2/3:
A. I'm a licensed teacher in a state which has one of the most rigorous licensure processes in the nation. Of course I know what you mean by educational standards. I have to align every unit I teach directly to them. That's not an appeal to my authority, but rather a note to my opponent that he need to worry about a misunderstanding on my part.
B. My opponent has not a clue what the state standards for education in any state are if he does not equate the skills mastered by open discourse & creative or unique expression to standards of education. Intelligent, higher order discourse & expression are key components of education. Because I'm in Oregon, let's sample the content standards alone for Language Arts [2]:

*EL.HS.RE.23: Make reasoned assertions about an author's arguments by using elements of the text to defend and clarify interpretations.
*EL.HS.RE.26: Draw conclusions about the author's purpose based on evidence in the text.
*EL.HS.RE.33: Generate relevant questions about readings on issues.
*EL.HS.LI.08: Identify and analyze unstated reasons for actions or beliefs based on explicitly stated information.
*EL.HS.LI.10: Interpret and evaluate the impact of subtleties, contradictions, and ironies in a text.
*EL.HS.LI.15: Analyze the impact the choice of literary form has on the author's message or purpose.

And that's only one section of one subject for the state of Oregon. All of these standards not only require discourse & intellectual creativity, but also apply to books like The Bunny Suicides.

C. The Kama Sutra is in no way related to the book in question. I ask my opponent to quit comparing this to pornographic materials or materials depicting graphic sex.

My Contention 4:
A. Again with the porn. Cross-apply my other arguments, please, cuz I'm tired of retyping them.
B. I actually do know how "the system works," if we are talking about the educational system. Degrees in education tend to help out with this.
C. My opponent mishandles this argument. My 4th argument is not about the benefits of this book in teaching suicide to students. It's about encouraging at-risk readers or reluctant readers to pick up books. Empirically, this is precisely the sort of material that will draw students to other books, thus creating a process by which students find their way to loving reading. My opponent glosses over my American Library Association evidence, so extend my arguments about this book encouraging at-risk readers to become life-long readers.

My Responses To Pro's Case

Pro's Contention 1:

My Response 1:
Simply put, your first argument just says there are times when we need to ban stuff. I agree. There are. However, just because we find it acceptable to ban some things doesn't automatically link you to Bunny Suicides. You did nothing in this argument to establish Bunny Suicides as containing ban-able content, and still haven't provided explicit text examples to prove its inappropriateness.

My Response 2:
A. I'm a girl.
B. Not a clue what you mean by "making a synonym." I think I need to clarify: pornography is illegal to possess if you are under the age of 18, yes? Hence, it is against the law to have pornography in a building full of minors. However, it is not against the law to have a book of cognizant cartoon bunnies on the verge of ending their lives in a high school library. Pat McConnell voted to keep the book for this very reason. She was referring to banning the book as unwarranted censorship.
C. The committee report detailed why we recommended keeping the book. The images are not graphic in any way. As I noted in RD 2, the depictions are pre-death. Bunnies have set up completely unrealistic situations. The surreal quality of the images, paired with the fact that an animated animal is doing them, mitigates the content, much like Art Spiegelman's portrayal of the horrors of WWII is mitigated by his use of cats, dogs, mice, & pigs in Maus I & Maus II. Never does a bunny simply shoot itself in the head, or hang itself, and never do we see a single bit of gore in the book.

My Response 3:
A. Yes, yes there is. If it is pornographic in nature, whether in print or in picture, federal statute limits its distribution to those over the age of 18. Bunny Suicides is not pornographic. We never put erotic literature in high school libraries in the first place because of said laws.
B. Rape is still pornographic if discussed graphically. However, books dealing with rape in non-pornographic ways are included in school libraries all the time. Rape is in the encyclopedia. Should we ban those because controversial topics exist within their covers?

My Response 4:
It doesn't. Hence the designation of "fun fact" and the smiley.

"Now, onto the pro contentions, although i have no idea what this serves to do, except to selfishly pander and promote himself."
A. Still a girl.
B. Ad hominems will get you nowhere, esp. if they don't make sense.

Pro's Contention 2:

My Response 1:
A. I use specific examples from this book to prove myself true (which is to say I reference specific images included in the book, like the Nazi image, the physics image, the knife & magnet store image, the smoking image, the NASA space shuttle image, etc.). My empirical warrants are also listed in my case. I am drawing on knowledge gained during 8 collective years of education training & experience.
B. Actually, I highlight the content of the book specifically. Thus far, my opponent is the only debater in this round who has yet to make a specific argument regarding the content of the book.

My Response 2:
A. Cross-apply my arguments on the whole porn thing. Again.
B. Public vs. High School Libraries:
1. The argument is irrelevant to the debate. It does nothing to establish why we should ban a book that has no illegal, obscene, graphic, or traumatizing content, which I have already proven is true.
2. There is no public library in the towns that I teach in. Hence, access to this book is only available through a rural school's high school library. His "counterplan" won't work for students that don't have ready access to any other source of books.

[1] http://www.ala.org...
[2] http://www.ode.state.or...
tkubok

Pro

I thank my opponetns response, and will now state mine.

My first argument against Con 1:
A. Most of them are. First, let me comment on the Site that my opponent has brought up. The ALA site that my opponent has brought up, is specifically regarding public libraries, and not public school libaries. We all agree that both libraries, though public, are different in both the content and nature of what should be allowed. I agree that general public libraries should not ban any sort of book. But we are not talking about a simple public library, we are talking about a public school library.
B. I never said these topics are bad. There are genuinely good books that contain abusive, abstructive, obscene material, yet are still great books. However, as stated in my previous argument, according to the representative who voted against his better judgement, stated that the argument that won him over was the fact that this was a violation of free speech and thus censorship. I have already provided arguments as to why this is not censorship, or why censorship is not wrong either.
C. Again, this does not mean that every controversial topic should be included in public school libraries. As said before, anything from the Learned Elders of Zion to the Kama Sutra, can be controversial.
D. In the Virginia Health Smart program, there is a specific lesson plan from grade 7-12 that is aimed at educating children about suicide.(1) And this is the problem. Children are not in any sense, knowledgeable about sex, before their first Sex ed class. They know a few things, but their knowledge is limited to "Insert penis into vagina". And some dont even know that. We have curriculums designed to teach children from grades 7-12 about Suicide, so clearly they dont know as much as you thought they did.
Furthermore, your argument of censorship and the rights of parents, does nothing in regards to the fact that no one is proposing a ban on every public library to remove this book. Parents are still free to rent this book from their nearest public library.
E. Apparently, pornographic literature, has been in our public schools for a while.(2) Care to comment?

My opponents 2/3:
A. Apparently there are books which contain explicit sexual material to which the school board is currently discussing on. In your previous statement in the comments section, you have claimed that no pornographic or explicitly sexual material should, or would be allowed in schools. I question as to how credible your teachers license is.
B. I have never claimed to have said that creativity and discussions are not a cornerstone of a good book, or a qualifications of a book that is accepted into a high school public library. My opponent has completely missed the point.

The point being, ANY book can be creative, and encourage discussion. I am hard pressed to find any book which is longer than a hundred pages, or even some of the really short ones, that do not. This is the EXACT reason why i have omitted these two criterion from this debate, since the creativity or discussion is not what is at issue here. No parent is complaining to the school board that the book isnt creative or doesnt encourage enough discussion, and therefore should be banned. None.
C. I shall leave this blank as i have already addressed it with my second source(2).

My opponetns 4:
A. Yes, again with the porn. Cross-apply my other arguments, please, cuz im tired of retyping them.
B. Thats splendid, because my opponent has done nothing but advocate what i have written in my original counter-argument. My opponent has continuously stated that this book for no other good reason, should be kept in schools because of its ability to teach kids about the controversy over Suicide. Again, how is this different than flooding the schools with Erotic literature, in order to teach them about sex?
C. I suppose that this sort of ties in with the original argument my opponent makes in his first point, where he claims that this book, "can help individual readers cope with and even come to positively express their own struggles with the topic of suicide."(Direct quotation from my opponent). However, i shall address the point about teaching children to read as well.

This is exactly why books such as Harry Potter exist. Infact, if anything, we already have, and we currently have even better books that have turned thousands, if not millions of children into fans of reading. Please explain to me why we require this book when we already have a hundred or so different books that have done better and continually keep doing better.

My responses to Cons counter of my case.

Cons Contention 1:
1st response: You still havent addressed my question.
I would like my opponent to explain why the censorship of Bunnies suicides book is not necessarily the case, when we censor other things that are controversial and potentially harmful to children. Perhaps you wrote this because you didnt get to my third response, but regardless, the point about censorship was that McConnel found this to be the most convincing argument which changed his mind. I have addressed both why there is nothing wrong with censorship, AND the reason why this is NOT censorship.

2nd response:
A. Okay, i shall try to type She instead of He. Although i dont really know why this is especially important to this debate.
B. Although pornography to minors is a mixed subject, as we currently do have many books that contain pornography, if you are in agreeance that Pornography should be ommited from schools, then i have one simple question:
Are you against cartoon people on the verge of having sex in a high school library? As for McConnel, again, i have already addressed both the reasons regarding Censorship. I am still awaiting your response as to why this is cenorship, when a parent still retains the right to go to the nearest public library and pick up this book.
C. My opponent has completely ignored the reason why dark Comedy is still deemed to be suitable only to mature adults. The fact that this book makes a mockery of a specific subject, does nothing to remove the content of the subject at hand. It is like reading a book of poorly drawn, cartoon people trying to do the Kama Sutra poses but getting them all wrong, in unrealistic situations. The content is still deemed unsuitable precisely because it contains sex.

Response 3:
A. No law enforcement or penalties have been placed on said school.(2) So clearly you are wrong.
B. So, Suicides are discussed in non graphic ways akin to a definition in a dictionary, in the Book of Bunny Suicides? Then i agree with you, we shouldnt ban this book at all.

Response 4:
Okay.

Extra Responses:
A. Okay. Still asking why this is relevant to the discussion, as i cannot see you and therefore cannot confirm you are a girl either way.
B. It is only an Ad Hominem if my argument is solely made up of the single comment. It is a shame that i come back and address your argument point by point.

Extra Response 1:
A. Although i have no way of verifying your experience and training, so far youve shown yourself to be atleast ignorant of what is in a normal public school library.
B. I have made countless arguments regarding the content of this book by reffering to other books with similar contents which are banned. We simply havent finished discussing whether those contents are similar or not.

Extra Response 2:
A. And again with my Sources as well.
B. 1. Public and High school libraries are different, as my opponent has already agreed that Pornographic novels in a high school library should not be, yet clearly they should in a public library. I would like to ask my opponent whether she believes Suicide is a light matter that should be jokingly addressed.
2. I am guessing your school library does not contain erotic literature. Therefore, would you allow erotic literature in your school library for the adults in your region to check them out
Debate Round No. 3
alto2osu

Con

First of all, I thank my opponent for this debate. As it is appropriate and equitable, I ask that my opponent bring up no new arguments in this last posting. I have not, out of respect for him & the debate, in the posting below.

I will begin with some overview arguments that I have made many times in the first 3 RDs. I won't address these arguments individually after this, but will refer readers to them by title & #.

1. Pornography: The Bunny Suicides is not pornography. My opponent has done nothing to prove that *this* book is obscene, graphic, or sexual in any way. He has listed examples of erotic literature & Zionism, & then tries to equate these things with Bunny Suicides, which is nothing like them. Any arguments made about pornography, as I have argued in all 3 previous rounds, is non-applicable to the topic at hand. Cartoons of cognizant bunnies setting up surrealistic situations in which they will *probably* die in the next, unshown frame is not illegal.

2. Porn Source: My opponent's crux source on pornography being allowable in schools (http://www.khou.com...), which he applies to all of my arguments stating that pornography is both illegal and non-topical, is highly flawed. This Texas school is currently deciding if the material in the article is pornographic or not. Right now, all we have is the parents' word that it is. Check out my 100 Most Challenged Books list. Parents managed to get Where's Waldo on that list. Individual parents can be and often are wrong. Besides, one article from one school district in highly conservative Texas does not prove that pornographic material is legal in public school libraries.

3. Pat McConnel: The issue of Pat McConnell's vote: I don't know why this is mentioned so often, but this source really does flow to my side of the debate. My opponent misquotes her, stating that she voted against "her better judgment." She says, and check the source, that she voted "against her personal beliefs." That is exactly what the first amendment asks us to do, as citizens of the US: we protect freedom of speech unless it conflicts with other people's liberties. Since Pat McConnell saw no reason to censor this book other than her own, isolated objections (rather than harm to students, etc.), she voted *with* her better judgment.

4. Public Libraries: The ability to check out a book somewhere else does not justify unnecessary censorship. That's like telling people to move to another country if they object to their government violating their rights. The point is that all rights must be protected properly. This goes cold dropped as of RD 4.

Now, onto responses as needed. Keep in mind: I have introduced no new arguments here.

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MY CASE

Contention 1:

A.
1. Topics that my opponent listed, such as suicide, racism, and slavery, are not categorically banned from high schools or their libraries. That's a blatant falsehood, and I list watershed books on these subjects within high school curriculum to prove this true. I teach these topics regularly, and I am not breaking any US laws. The other topic listed in RD 2, pornography, is governed by federal statute in its accessibility.

2. The source is the American Library Association. It does not limit itself to only public, non-school libraries. Unless, of course, my opponent contends that public school libraries are not American libraries. The assertion made by my opponent is unwarranted. The study conducted and reported on that page is an amalgam of libraries, and was only used to show that the literature that schools teach as classics are challenged all the time for relating to controversial topics. Hence those topics are not banned from high schools.

B. See OV: Pat McConnel (#3)

C. See OV: Pornography (#1)

D.
1. See OV: Public Libraries (#4)

2. The Virginia argument holds absolutely no water. School, despite my opponent's assertions, is not where we gain most of our knowledge about topics like sex & suicide. He is drawing a completely unwarranted correlation between the presence of a class on a subject & a total lack of comprehension of the students prior to entering that class. The reason for the class is not because kids don't know about the topics. It is to guide their higher order understanding of the topics, so that their knowledge is not from a singular source: their peers. If my opponent seriously contends that kids have no knowledge of sex prior to their first health class, then he lives in an enviable fantasy world.

E. See OV: Porn Source (#2)

Contention 2/3:

A.
1. The ad hominem attacks are unwarranted and reportable. Avoid them, or I will report you.

2. I stand by my statement that pornographic and erotic literature is governed by strict federal statutes. See OV: Porn Source (#2)

3. See OV: Pornography (#1)

B. Actually, as noted in my Seattle Times source, as well as the parent's report that I held in my hands, that is one of the main reasons Taffey Anderson chose to challenge the book. She stated that it had no educational value whatsoever. Hence, my argument is particularly applicable. We aren't arguing about every book. Just this one. And my burden of proof is to show that this book *has* educational value. I have.

C. No, your source did nothing to prove that Bunny Suicides is pornographic. That's what I've been asking you to prove since RD 2. (See OV: Pornography [#1])

Contention 4:

A. See OV: Pornography (#1)

B. Short of re-writing my RD 2 case, I can do little else to convince my opponent that I have stated this book's educational nature in many ways, not just its ability to introduce the topic of suicide. My word count is precious, so I encourage readers to keep my original case in mind.

C. I didn't ever say that this book teaches kids to read, either. I said that it encourages reluctant readers to pick up books, which empirically leads them to pick up more and more difficult books, and encourages a life-long love of reading.

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MY OPPONENT'S CASE

Contention 1:

Response 1: See OV: Pornography (#1)

Response 2:

A. He vs. she was merely a request, and a matter of respect.

B. See OV: public libraries (#4).

C. I wasn't aware of a federal statute governing the distribution of "dark humor." Perhaps my opponent could give me the code so I can reference it? The argument that I made in RD 3 was to point out that Bunny Suicides, in its treatment of suicide and its general form, shares many qualities in common with other perfectly acceptable graphic novels and the like.

Response 3:

A. See OV: Porn Source (#3). I'm not wrong. I would be wrong if two things occurred:
1. Some legal body (like a court) were to deem the material as pornographic;
2. Despite this *legal* ruling, the school kept the book in its classrooms.

B. I don't understand my opponent's argument here. As I've stated before, Bunny Suicides is a book of cognizant rabbits who have set up visual scenarios that will (if all goes to the rabbit's plan) lead to their deaths. Graphic and illustrated are not the same thing in this case. Graphic, in your usage, means overtly inappropriate.

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"Extra Responses" (?)

A. See OV: Porn Source (#2)

B.
1. See OV: Public Libraries (#4)

2. See OV: Pornography (#1)
tkubok

Pro

I thank my opponent for the closing statements. As i have had little room to type my previous arguments, i will try and make this post brief. But to be fair, i shall also bring up no new arguments.

1. My opponent has still yet to discuss as to how Suicide is a laughing matter, that Suicide is not a serious subject. The only criterions as to whether or not a book should be allowed in school, isnt just Obscenity, graphic or Sexual content. Those are not the only content that are harmful to children. After all, as my opponent has pointed out, what is graphic, sexual or obscene in The meetings of the learned elders of Zion? What is illegal in the The meetings of the learned elders of Zion? Nothing. Yet, regardless, we keep it away from our school libraries, not because of the controversy, but because of the content. This is hate speech, and we cannot possibly have our children understand why this is wrong, without placing it in the proper context.

2. The Teacher in question has had the book as a study material for over a decade. As seen here(1), there are many books which have contained much vulgarity, sexuality, and have been challenged many times. Clearly my other source stands up, if "Whale Talk" has also been challenged many times but has been failed to be taken off.
Furthermore, my opponent STILL fails to understand the difference between a PUBLIC library, and a public SCHOOL library. The reason the 100 most challenged books, were challenged but FAILED, was because they were trying to ban such books from the PUBLIC libraries. However, as i have said before, public libraries are different than that of public school libraries.

3. People can utilize a bad reason in order to make a decision. Pat McConnell has stated that what changed her mind, was the censorship argument. And i have clearly stated my reasons why her decision was made with bad reasoning and logic.

4. I am glad you made this argument, because now were through. What youve basically advocated here, is to allow ANY book to be inside a public school library, as the ban and removal of ANY book, no matter how graphic or sexual, is a direct cenroship in its own right. Im sorry, but no. A removal of a certain book from a certain location, such as Sexually explicit book from Public School libraries, is not censorship, and is not the same as "If you dont like our laws, move to a different country". Those specific books are removed FOR A REASON. My opponent has clearly advocated to ignore that, and has compared a superfluous analogy, or more aptly, a straw man, in order to prove his point.

A.
1. My opponent has placed words in my mouth. Never have i said that topics such as Suicide, racism and slavery are banned. Infact, it is for that very reason, that i brought up a specific course outline for the Virginia School district that teaches Suicide.
2. My opponent has completely missed the point. The point about the ALA website, is that it is not EXCLUSIVE to High school libraries. There is a difference between PUBLIC libraries and high school libraries. My opponent has still yet to comment on this.

B. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

C. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

D.
1. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

2. My opponent has placed words in my mouth again. I have clearly stated, and i quote:
"Children are not in any sense, knowledgeable about sex, before their first Sex ed class. They know a few things, but their knowledge is limited to "Insert penis into vagina"."
First off, the very first Sex Ed class for me was Grade 5. I barely knew anything about sex. (If you think we dont teach Sex Ed at grade 5, you are wrong(2)) Kids barely know anything about the topic, therefore the discussion exists to INFORM them. That is what Teaching is. Second, i never said children no NOTHING about sex. They are hardly knowledgable, and they barely know the basics, as I, along with my entire class, did. I didnt even know what Masturbation was, let alone how to do it, and our teacher actually had to tell us what it was.

E. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

A.
1. Please explain where the Ad Hominem is, instead of just saying that i made an ad hominem attack. Claiming someone is making an ad hominem, and actually showing where and why it is, are two different things.

2. And i stand by my statement that there are clearly many instances of schools which introduce literature that have sexually suggestive content, to which many parents have tried to ban, and some successfully, but most unsucessfully. If my opponent believe these books to be wrongfully included in public school libraries, I would like to point towards my opponents comments about how both children apparently already know everything they need to about Suicide, therefore allowing the Bunny book of suicides in, and compare how children are fairly knowledge about sex by the time they are grade 10, and ask why the sexually suggestive books should be banned as well.

3. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

B. Yet my opponent still refuses to comment on how claiming that educational value is produced via discussion and creativity, as those can be found in any book no matter how lame, as well as erotic and sexually suggestive novels, and how my opponent is unable to find any other aspect of the book that could possibly be educational.

C. I have never claimed that the Bunny suicides is pornographic. My opponent still has not addressed why Suicide is not a graphic, serious topic of discussion, as is pornography.

A. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

B. Again, there is this refusal from my opponent to address the main point of my argument, that is, that discussion and creativity can be found in any book and thus is not an argument to support the educational value, as the same can be said of any book. I would still like to hear what makes this book educationally superior to the Kama Sutra.

C. By "teach children to read", i meant it as a euphemism, as in "Teach children to understand why reading is important and enjoyable". Anyways, again, my opponent has failed to address my question.

Contention 1:

Rs1: Refusal to address the argument at hand.

Rs2:

A. Although respect is earned, i am interested more about the argument, and less about the gender. I wouldnt care an inch if my opponent referred to me as "She", as that has no bearing on the argument whatsoever.

B. Refusal to address the argument at hand.

C. The Television rating of every standup or television comedy series which includes Dark humour has been rated M or R. Although there is no direct federal statute that enforces that parents must ban, or that children are not allowed to watch such televition shows, the ratings exist for a reason. As for Suicides in graphic novels, although id be a stickler if i mentioned that my opponent has used the word "Graphic", which was one of my opponents criteria, my opponet STILL has not addressed why Suicide is not a serious, dangerous matter that must be dealt with within the proper context.

A.1. Literature will never be deemed pornographic unless the main theme of the book is sex. Books like "The pillars of the earth" are not categorized as erotic or pornographic at all.

B. Apart from the fact that i find it ironic that you used the world "Graphic novel", yet now claim that there is nothing graphic, my opponent still has not addressed my point about the topic of suicide.

The rest, my opponent has simply refused to address the argument at hand.

Sources:
1. http://www.newszapforums.com...
2. http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 4
72 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wmpeebles 4 years ago
wmpeebles
I think Pro does underestimate the knowledge of children as suggested by a previous comment. I am 15, pictures of bunnies killing themselves is totally going to make me try suicide. I know what suicide is, it's on the news all the time. This world is not a utopia, violence happens. Restricting us from learning about violence is detrimental to our health.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
Well, since I'm generally against banning books, I would not ban sexually suggestive curriculum. Just pornography, and mostly because it is a statutory issue. Milton's Paradise Lost is possibly my favorite epic poem of all time.

Also, as per comments prior, I taught Gilgamesh to my 9th graders. I'm not scared of dealing with the topic of sex :) However, pornographic material is clearly out of the question. Paradise Lost is hardly pornographic...assuming we are referring to the same piece of literature...(legit clarification-- many things are called Paradise Lost).
Posted by tkubok 5 years ago
tkubok
As for the result, im not really surprised. I was pressed for time numerous times, and i dont really care whether or not the book is banned. As i said before, i argue for the challenge and to have a good debate. :D
Posted by tkubok 5 years ago
tkubok
Alto2osu, Just as a side note, questioning an opponents background when the opponent specifically brings it up, is not an ad hominem at all. And id also like to ask you if youd ban such books as Paradise Lost by Miller, cause thats one of the books our teacher assigned to me at my school in grade 11. Cause some of the best literature have had some reference or sexually suggestive parts.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
Thanks for the feedback. I don't agree on conduct, but that's par for the course. :)
Posted by MTGandP 5 years ago
MTGandP
My RFD is pretty much the same as Lex's.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
Okay, done. RFD time.

RFD: CON
(1) Agreed with Con in the beginning. I want the bunnies to die. >:}
(2) Disagreed with Pro by the end. So I agreed with Con. One book does not a suicide make, anymore than one sex ed class makes an interest in sex (personally the rather graphic manner in which the 11th grade later sex ed class that I was exposed to made sex rather undesirable).
(3) Conduct was a tie. It was tense, and there were personal attacks, but they were met by sarcasm and direct threats, so I call it a wash.
(4) Spelling and grammar is tied, interestingly enough. tkubok made many spelling mistakes, but alto made many grammatical errors/typos in this debate. ex: "a note to my opponent that he need to worry about a misunderstanding on my part." I think it had to do with the personal investment of each of the debaters.
(5) Con. Con had a much more convincing argument, in so far as that Pro's argument regarding pornography was practically irrelevant. The best point that Pro made was that the Kama Sutra was banned because of its content despite its value, but that was addressed by Con's non-specificity argument (the bunnies are going to kill themselves, but they don't do it on screen, so to speak).
(6) Tied. The sources are equal. Some of alto's are establishing sources, which I rarely credit, and some of tkubok's are less distinguished than alto's so that, ultimately, it is a wash.

Judgment entered. ;)
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
". Children are not in any sense, knowledgeable about sex, before their first Sex ed class. They know a few things, but their knowledge is limited to "Insert penis into vagina"."

-- I knew about sex before I was in fifth grade. I actually taught myself using the dictionary and an encyclopedia (no internet in those days). I didn't have 'sex ed' until I was in seventh grade, and all that consisted of was an overly vague pamphlet that provided little illumination (Catholic elementary school). I think Pro underestimates the knowledge of children.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
Readin' ... :)
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
Roy: that is awesome. :D I had no idea that the human race was that lame with their holidays, but rest assured that, now that I am aware such a holiday exists, we shall exploit it!
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