A school district in Michigan has voted to ban a US Marine’s memoir from their libraries after parents raised concerns that it showed the military in a bad light because of its use of sex and violence.
The Hudsonville Public Schools (HPS) board narrowly decided to remove “Jarhead” from its libraries last Monday after a 4-3 vote.
‘Jarhead’ by Anthony Swofford, chronicles his experience fighting for Marines in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.
The decision to withdraw the veteran’s book came after a heated two-hour debate and discussion of the issue.
The book is not required reading in the school district and is not an option at a book club and since 2010 it has only been checked out 21 times.
Jarhead chronicles Swofford’s enlistment and service in the Marines, and was published in 2003
Pictured: Author and ex-Marine Anthony Swofford at the premiere of ‘Jarhead’ in New York
The book first came to the attention of the board due to complaints from parents who said it disrespected the military and depicted graphic scenes of violence and sex.
A community member told the meeting, “We are here to fight against the darkness.
“Jarhead has an extremely violent, vulgar pornographic rant, and tonight we will hear whether HPS intends to take any action to protect our students from blatantly obscene content.”
Opposing the ban, another said, “We allow recruiters in schools where kids can sign on the dotted line, but they can’t read the real experiences of military and soldiers.”
Excerpts from the book include passages such as: “As a young man raised on Vietnam War movies, I want ammunition, booze and drugs, I want to fuck w**** * and kill m*** Iraqis *********.’
Another reads: “I don’t care about human rights abuses in Kuwait City. Amnesty International, my ass.
“Rape them all, kill them all, sell their oil, loot their gold, sell their children into prostitution. I don’t care about flag, god, country or body.
On social media, the banning of the book has also been debated, with opinions divided on the issue.
A woman urged other concerned citizens to come to the meeting in the name of common decency
Others said the decision to ban the book was “absurd” and that the memoir would allow children to see the reality of war.
Pictured: Hudsonville High School where the meeting took place last week
One woman urged others to attend last week’s meeting and support the motion to ban memoirs.
Their post shared the time and location of the meeting, saying, “This is not a battle against people.”
‘It’s a battle against DARKNESS! GET UP ON MONDAY. WE NEED HUNDREDS TO PARTICIPATE!!’
Meanwhile, another person said, “That’s nonsense! War by definition is too violent. thus, your children joined the army will have the illusion that it will be child’s play. Let them see the reality.
‘Talk about people being snowflakes. Keep shielding them from reality and you and they will be in trouble.
Board members Nick Bolhuis, Greg Chanski, Mark Davis and Barb Hooper voted to withdraw the book; Andrew DeWitt, Ken Hall and Dawn Sneden voted to let it go.
In 2005, the memoir was made into a movie and starred Jake Gyllenhaal alongside Jamie Foxx, with Sam Mendes directing.
Pictured: Gyllenhaal as Swofford in the 2005 adaptation of the memoirs
For his role, Gyllenhaal was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor.
Pictured: Gyllenhaal (left) and co-star Peter Sarsgaard as Corporal Alan Troy (right)
For his role as Swofford, Gyllenhaal was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor and William Broyles Jr. was also nominated for Best Screenplay.
In a 2005 New York Times article, it was noted that war veteran and writer Joel Turnipseed believed that his work in his 2002 book Baghdad Express had been plagiarized.
Broyles Jr. responded by saying that similarities arise from recounting common wartime experiences.
The film spawned three direct-to-video sequels which are all works of fiction and have no connection to the original.