In Part One of today’s posting I address the sensitive issue of what subject matter crosses the appropriate and uncomfortable line in fiction. A student suggested that I read the Chuck Palahniuk book, Haunted.
I am aware of who Palahniuk is and have seen the movie “Fight Club” at least five or six times. It’s not something I would classify as a favorite, or even one I feel comfortable watching, but I have yet to actually read any of his books. I promised this student that I would read his book and get back to him. After reading the first chapter, I immediately decided that this would not be a book that I would continue to read nor discuss with the student who offered it, or any student for that matter. Without going into graphic detail, let’s just say that if a movie were to be made based on Haunted, it would be given a NC-17 rating at the very least. It contains strong sexual content, extreme and graphic violence, and subject matters that made me feel like taking a scalding shower after reading it. I made it 40 pages into the book before I knew that it was not for me.
Not only did I find this upsetting on a personal level, I was concerned about the student who shared it with me. I’m not worried that his is a cry for help or an alert that he himself would participate in this sort of behavior, but that the content was so graphic and inappropriate, I do not want my students and I to have the connection of knowing or being aware of this material. It’s the whole, “You know, that I know, that you know” that I want to avoid.
The next day before school, I brought the student the book and said, “Thank you for thinking of me. I read the first story and would prefer not to continue to read because it’s not my style.” The student was not offended nor embarrassed.
Part II: October Fitness Goals
So far so good. I can tell that I’ve increased my number of squats because my legs and tush are a bit sore. I am still low enough on the burpees score that I haven’t started to hate them…yet.