Someone is out of touch with reality…

Someone is out of touch with reality…
…and it isn’t Palmetto Family Council.


Ten South Carolina colleges assigned books for their freshmen to read. As we reported, a number of them selected sufficiently edgy, thought-provoking books. Then there is the College of Charleston’s Fun Home. Were it a movie, it would be NC-17, and not because of its ‘LGBT’ theme. Nine other colleges in South Carolina (and most in America) chose broad, healthy debate…and common sense. The College of Charleston chose to spend $50,000 in state funds and/or student tuition dollars on a narrowly-focused, cartoon (graphical), borderline pornographic book rarely used for this purpose. What a waste.
–Statement from Palmetto Family Council

Recently, Palmetto Family compared the Freshmen Summer Reading requirements of ten (10) South Carolina colleges and universities. We provided dispassionate reviews of each work from neutral sources like Amazon.com and Publisher’s Weekly and let you decide how the books compared with an eye toward suitability as reading material for students entering their freshman year of college.

In the media’s response to our report (see links below), at least three important facts have been overlooked or diliberately ignored:

1. The total campus absorption of “Big Read” books. Here is the College of Charleston’s page describing their $50,000 plan celebrating their book choice, Fun Home. Last year’s book had 26 separate events. Here is the Reading Guide the College has prepared.

2. The content of this book. Based on what has been written about our analysis, perhaps the online commenters are not fully aware of the content of Fun Home. It is hard for a family group to explain. We’re not sure you would believe it. Here it is: Fun Home features pen and ink sketches so explicit that if the book were classified as a movie it would be rated NC-17. In fact, were it not a literary work, it could come close to violating state law (see below). Even the libertarian blog FITSNEWS has described the book this way: “The book includes several NSFW [Not Safe for Work] drawings including one of a woman performing oral sex on her partner.” CampusReform cut right to the chase by titling its article: “Public College Assigns Comic Book on Lesbian Sex, Child Molestation as Mandatory Freshman Reading.” There you have it.

3. The host of good books out there. Just a few years ago, Ashley Thorne of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) did a systematic analysis of college summer reading programs and made some excellent recommendations. Her nearly 100-page report. “Beach Books,” can be found here, and here is a review of the NAS study with even more ideas.

The media has tried to turn our opposition to Fun Home into a dog bites man story: “right wing conservative group opposes book with references to Lesbianism; neo-Victorians seek to keep minds of young adults tightly closed.”

That’s not the story. But then learning the truth takes time…and a desire to discover it.

As for the book selection process, the task seems as easy as applying common sense, basic values, and a good grasp of reality to a wide variety of options. Nine of our ten colleges that assigned Freshman reading found a way to do that. Why was it so hard for CofC?

Thanks for your support of Palmetto Family that makes this work possible.

Please read the Comment sections that accompany these stories and provide your own thoughts:

The Charleston Post & Courier (story) (editorial)
The [Charleston] City Paper
Charleston Patch (interview with author)
FITSNEWS (story) (PFC statement)
Campus Reform (story)

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