November 1, 2007

Can We At Least Agree on Banning the Hyperbole?

Carroll Andrew Morse

Over on his blog, America's Report Card (named after a novel he published, not the scope of topics he addresses) Professor John McNally has put up a post claiming that PINHEADS (all caps in the original) have succeeded in getting When I Was a Loser, the now-controversial collection of essays he edited, banned from…well, he doesn't really say where it's been banned from.

When I Was a Loser has been removed from the Cumberland school-system curriculum. There's no doubt there. But does removal from the curriculum constitute banning in any meaningful sense of the word?

A couple of years ago, a local Michigan school board refused to allow the teaching of a Bible-based course that treated the Bible as a work of literature and history. Would it be fair to say that the Frankenmuth, MI School board voted to ban the Bible, or would that description confuse the issues more than clarifying them?

The claim that When I Was a Loser has been banned obviously depends on some form of fallacy, but you'll have to ask Justin to find out exactly which one is involved.


Justin provides the type of fallacy committed by Professor McNally. It is...

The fallacy of persuasive definition.

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The fallacy of persuasive definition.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 1, 2007 12:12 PM

Interesting point about the bible based course in MI, Andrew.

Assuming that there are standards for reading material in public schools, what is the word for the exclusion of that material that falls outside of those standards? Is it the dramatic word "banned"?

- One of the Pinheads

Posted by: Monique at November 1, 2007 2:23 PM
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