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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Author of ‘smut’ tells lawmakers to read up

    Rick Moody
    Rick Moody

    PHOENIX – The author of the novel that state senators called “”pornographic”” and “”smut”” last week has some simple advice for legislators: read a book.

    Rick Moody, author of “”The Ice Storm,”” slammed several top legislators, saying that allowing students to pick and choose which books they want to read will dilute the educational experience.

    “”It’s against the spirit of education,”” he said. “”If (a controversial book) is avoided entirely, then how can we ensure that our students are really learning?””

    The book graphically depicts the lives of two fictional struggling families in the 1970s, detailing the decisions made by adults and children alike as they experiment with sex and drugs. It includes a vivid description of a “”key party,”” where adults at a party choose their sexual partners by pulling a key out of a bowl.

    The award-winning author defended the sexual underpinnings of the novel, saying they are a crucial aspect of the book and accurately depict the harsh realities he saw firsthand as a child growing up in the ’70s.

    “”The theory of the book is this: that the so-called sexual revolution, as it transpiredÿin the ’60s and ’70s, was both a reasonable notion, and a very costly one. It helped some people feel liberated, but at the expense of others.”” Moody said. “”Since it was the goal of the book to deal forthrightly with what the sexual revolution wrought, I felt it needed to depict certain aspects thereof. To do otherwise would amount to being inaccurate as to my own experience.””

    The bill was written in reaction to an unidentified Chandler-Gilbert Community College student’s objection to having to read the novel for an English class. The student claimed he found the “”The Ice Storm”” to be pornographic and refused to read it for the class.

    Under SB 1331, UA students would be allowed to demand alternatives to any assigned course material when they find it objectionable.

    Sen. Thayer Verschoor (R-Mesa), said books like Moody’s had no place in college classes.

    “”There is no defense of this book, I can’t believe that anyone would defend this base material,”” said Verschoor.

    Moody said the labeling of his novel was misleading, saying the book’s commentary on the sexual revolution was educational, not pornographic.

    “”Pornography is literature that has no purpose but a prurient one. Pornography is single-mindedly devoted to arousal. The mere depiction of sexuality, self-evidently,ÿdoes not constitute prurience,”” Moody said.

    “”According to the argument advanced by the principals in this controversy, anatomy class would be prurient. ‘Madame Bovary’ would be prurient, ‘The Scarlet Letter’ would be prurient. Not to mention the Song of Solomon, from the Old Testament, with its salacious invitations to ravishment. Each of these texts may and should invite discussion, disputation, and that is a fine barometer of their value over the years,”” Moody said.

    Moody said he believed they had more pressing concerns than condemning a book they had admitted to never reading.

    “”I do imagine you have more pressing issues in (Arizona),”” Moody said.

    The author, who said he is “”very politically active,”” suggested legislators should be more concerned with affordable medication, universal medical coverage and water issues rather than which books are suitable reading material for college students.

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