#35: Sax and Violins


The title stolen from the Talking Heads tune; the subject stolen from real life. Censorship, or the urge to censor, is still alive and well.

Sax and Violins

The parent of the high school junior
objects to all the sax and violins
in the literature studied in English classes.
She objects, in the case of the sax,
not to scenes overtly pornographic
or steamy, because there aren’t any,
but instead, to the ones
that depict (no, not even depict),
that identify saxuality.
Here’s a character with an organ, for example,
or here’s a character with two,
and that’s just not right.
Or, here is a character who expresses
interest in the activity of sax
or an attraction that is, essentially, saxual.
Or, here’s a person who is saxually abusive,
and there’s no glamorization or
glorification or promotion of that hideousness,
but rather quite the opposite,
where the reader is supposed to be
appalled and disgusted.
Somehow, the fact that this particular
parent is appalled and disgusted
fails to register with said parent
as the thing that is supposed to happen,
and instead, registers as an attempt
to titillate or excite by the writers
and the English teachers who are
peddling their wares.

And this same parent objects
to the violins in a novel about
The Vietnam War, doesn’t want
her son or anybody else’s sons
or daughters, especially the daughters,
to be disturbed by images, images which
all of them are almost old enough
to experience in real life
in the next American war.
We just can’t have our young people
aware that people do sax
or that violins are everywhere
and that sometimes we find
sax and violins in the same place
at the same time.
Reality is just too terrible
and we must shelter even
our 17 year olds from the horror,
and while we’re at it,
we will do our level best
to shelter everyone else’s
17 olds into the bargain
from the sax,
from the violins.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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