Reader takes issue with ban of ‘Black Hawk Down’

James "Jim" Taylor Folse
October 21, 2008
October 23
October 23, 2008

Dear Editor:

“Foolish” without sense or judgment; unwise; silly; stupid; ridiculous; absurd; humble; paltry and insignificant.” This is a definition used in World Book to identify what Mark Bowden, author of “Black Hawk Down,” used to describe Central Lafourche’s decision to exclude his book because of his use of profanity.

Bowden believes Lafourche Parish educators should grow up to the real world. Wow, that’s interesting.

The real world? Kids running around showing off their underwear. Girls getting a tattoo near their sitting down place and letting the world see it. Teens referring to humans as animals, like “Hey dog” or uttering a four-letter word after every other thing they say.

Or better still, saying they do the nasty to someone’s mother as in, “Hey, mother …”

Yes, that’s the “real” world and surely something we should be proud of being a part of. Or should we?

The writers of war movies, true and fiction, such as those played by John Wayne, never used a foul word to describe what was happening in their “real” world.

I can tell you firsthand that I cussed like a sailor – I still do – and I once wore the uniform of a sailor.

However, if I cussed in school and a teacher heard me, well, let’s just say no cop on earth would interfere with my mother after she found out when I got home.

And that’s not to mention what would have happened over the teacher’s desk if any of my instructors had caught me.

Bowden did not need to apply the languages of stress and frustration that is war to describe war in his novel. The story has been told time and again, without the use of those words, and the point always came across.

(Central Lafourche English teacher Jared) Foreman could and should have used better judgement knowing full well that our schools are plagued with gutter language used by kids who have not a clue what life is about.

Those same students, however use the language of soldiers and sailors who have seen the hell of war.

“We use the words, so what’s the big deal? It’s reality,” cry our teens.

Reality is doing what is right because it’s the right thing to do, not because you simply do it without regard for your neighbor who may not want to hear or see it.

If cussing is your normal oration, I support you 100 percent. I just don’t want to hear you. So look in the mirror and cuss to yourself or read your book filled with ill-chosen words, which could not be written otherwise because the writer has not the imagination to do otherwise.

Frankly, (school principal) Jimmy Ledet and I have disagreed in many areas, however his decision to pull the book from class reading was on target. I would support him to the end.

Censorship cannot be found in this act – only sound judgement.

Mr. Ledet was called foolish because he dared to do what is right. It’s an “absurd” standard to many because so few do these days.

Forrest A. Travirca III,