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May 01, 2012

Should schoolteachers be allowed to have private lives?

There have been a slew of stories in the past few years of teachers being fired because parents didn't like what they did when they were off duty. In this case a women who had taught for 25 years wrote racy romance novels. Before that, a woman in Florida was in porn films. Before that, a woman was an Occupy protester. Does writing erotic fiction somehow make a woman unable to teach? Of course not. Quiet English teacher turns out to be racy erotica author | The Passive Voice
A group of high school parents have complained to their local education board after discovering a quiet English teacher writes racy, erotic novels when she’s not working with their children. They are asking that the board investigates the matter and presents Judy Buranich with a choice: either quit teaching or quit writing the books. Mrs Buranich has taught at the Midd West High School in Middleburg, Pennsylvania, for nearly 25 years. . . . . But for the parents, the racy novels are just a little too racy. Wendy Apple, who has a son in 10th grade at the school, said she discovered Mrs Buranich’s double life on the internet. She said: ‘Now my son knows, so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side.’

The Harry Dresden books are awful and this is why

I tried to read the first one and found the prose just gut-wrenchingly bad. Just like Laurel K Hamilton. I found the TV show no better. Mr. Destructo here goes into some nice depth about exactly why the books are bad, which can be very helpful if you are trying to write something and want to avoid these pitfalls. Et tu, Mr. Destructo?: Gandalf the Urban: Jim Butcher's Terrible 'Dresden Files'
It's rare to discover that a novel was spawned by the the same mentality that one might devise for a dismissive straw man argument, but Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files manage to be so comprehensively conventional that even their conception seems born of the worst kind of stereotype. From the author himself: The first several books I wrote were nothing but swords and horses. I had been discussing things with my writing teacher every semester and I had written several very mediocre books. At some point she had told me "You know, Jim, you're always going on about how much you enjoy these Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton and how much you like Buffy, why aren’t you writing something similar to that because that would seem to be a much better use of your interests to serve your writing?" I said "No, I'm a fantasy writer" and I'd done that for a long time. Finally, one semester, I had been arguing with her on several different points on writing craft and so on, and I finally decided that this semester I'm going to do just exactly everything she tells me to and I'm going to show her how wrong she is about all these different things because I had my English Literature degree so I knew better than she did. Just because she had 30 or 40 novels under her belt, that didn't mean she knew anything. So kind of to prove her wrong, I set out to fill out all the little worksheets she had in her class, and proceed according to things she had suggested for new writers to do and I was going to show her what terrible unimaginative pablum was the result... and I wrote the first book of The Dresden Files. I wrote it to prove how much my writing teacher didn't know and learned a valuable lesson about humility as a result. She read the first three chapters of the very first book and she looked up at me and said "You did it. This will sell." I said "What?" The average reader of his first novel, Storm Front, probably has the same reaction. He's an orcs-and-hobbits fantasy writer repurposed to riff off another fantasy writer who's repurposing crime procedurals for the fantasy genre. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Butcher has an excess of praise for other authors and genres. He's taken Laurell K. Hamilton's crime thrillers away from the Marshal Service and toward private detectives; in the process, he's crafted a retread of every detective motif, glossed it with some Tolkein and filled it with the sort of flourishes that belong in a writers' workshop. He succeeds in every way but competent writing. . . .

April 26, 2012

Game of Thrones Characters Compared to U.S. Political Figures

The Escapist : News : Game of Thrones Characters Compared to U.S. Political Figures

Canada town bans Dr. Seuss quotes in schools after teachers ask for fair pay, better treatment

Yertle the Turtle banned from Canadian classroom for being too political
Yertle the Turtle quotes were banned from the classroom in a small British Columbia town, after the Seussian character's words were used in protest by the teachers union. The National Post reports that a first-grade teacher at British Columbia's Prince Rupert elementary school could face disciplinary action for displaying the following Dr. Seuss quote from Yertle the Turtle on school grounds — "I know, up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights."