Saturday, May 5, 2007

Two Articles for a Saturday Morning

This morning, as soon as I woke up, I had two really good articles in my inbox. I didn't know which one to blog about, so I'll do both.

Sassy Magazine

The first is about a beloved and short lived magazine that helped formed by identity. I'm not kidding. It was called Sassy magazine.

Do you remember Sassy? It was like a love letter to all girls who didn't fit into the YM/Seventeen demographic. It was for girls who listened to punk music (or wanted to listen to punk music), girls who thought about politics, and girls who were creative and wanted to do something. Sassy helped give publicity to the 'zine craze of the mid-90's (a precursor to blogs if there ever was one) and helped create a social identity for anyone who was different. In college, I knew who I could be friends with by virtue of their knowledge of Sassy.

My dad, who sent me this article, introduced me to Sassy in the very first issue, because he had a job interview with the creator before they launched. I read almost every issue since then. This article is about a new book about the rise and fall of this magazine, because apparently it never made money.

"Go home and write
a page tonight
and let that page come out of you --
Then, it will be true."

Theme for English B by Langston Hughes

The next article is not as joyful -- it's actually quite scary. When I think about it, I don't know where I fall. According to the LA Times, there is a student in a suburb of Illinois who has been arrested for a creative writing assignment that includes fantasies of a killing spree in his high school. In the killing spree, he obviously kills students, but then also has sex with their dead bodies.

The things that disturb me about this article...
1) The article implies that this scene was written in response to the English teacher's instructions to "not censor yourself, keep writing, write whatever comes to your mind." This is pretty typical creative writing guidelines, especially in high school when students don't enjoy writing.

2) The student, who was referred to the police, apparently didn't fit the profile of a teen killer and so is now being lionized in the article. He may lose his ability to join the Marines.

3)I find myself alternatively feeling bad for this student and getting mad at this student. On one hand, students should be able to write whatever they want without fear of censure or censorship. On the other hand, this paper is tantamount to a bomb threat, which doesn't fall under any free speech protections. How careless could he be? I find myself swinging between these two extremes, one of which agrees with article, the other of which loathes it.

Happy reading!


Marie said...

I loved this poem, as I admire Langston Hughes...but I also love it because I can relate. I grew up in a school where African American was the culture and I was the white minority...I learned to love their rhythms and rhymes and music and ways of being..Motown, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye..wish more of it would have rubbed off on me because I'd be a much better poet and dancer.

Jessica said...

This is my favorite Lanston Hughes poem ever. I taught this poem on Thursday, and when I read the article, those lines popped into my head.