Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DAMage Report: Is the crime writing an erotic romance or trying to promote the book to other teachers?

It's like a freaking soap opera. The news started with Teachers' Union demanding that school principal Beth Gannon be fired for "peddling her porn" romance novel at the school. The outrage seems to be more about the type of book than the fact that she was trying to sell her book to other teachers. But it gets better. Apparently the teacher that filed the formal complaint against Ms. Gannon was reassigned from her classroom to detention hall and her daughter received a threatening note. Meanwhile the author has been put on indefinite medical leave for being "fragile." (insert eyeroll for the diva.) The community is up in arms and breaking out the pitchforks and torches. Even the head (literally) of the school superintendent is being tossed up for suspension over the controversy.

Give me a pen, this stuff is just too good to make up.

Several questions arise:
1. Was it inappropriate for Ms. Gannon to hawk her novel (self published before she became an principal) to other teachers? And with that same question - what consitutes promoting her novel? Did she bring them in and encourage teachers to browse the book for possible sales? Or did she mention in passing, to another teacher, the book she had published two years ago and offer to let someone buy a copy? Hmmmm....

2. Would there be as great an uproar if Ms. Gannon had written a mystery novel or scifi novel.... or would the community be celebrating that their school principal was an author? (Whether the book is good, bad, or nausea inducing being beside the point.)

3. And finally did Ms. Gannon, in spiteful retaliation, use her position to reassign a teacher to a crappy position and then threaten another teacher with an anonymous note? Because if she did, then her character is called into question and it is more than likely that she DID use her position for self promotion and deserves to be ousted as a bully.

The interesting thing to me is that the catalyst for ALL the outrage was someone writing a "porn/romance" book, as evidenced by the repeated mention of passages in news stories. And if she mentioned her book and offered to let someone buy it, is that REALLY grounds for dismissal? Even if she brought several copies to a teachers meeting (no kids there, right?) - it might be inappropriate, but is it really deserving a big scarlet letter on her forehead? Why is the topic of sex and relationships so offensive to so many?
Today live at 5:30pm EST on DAMage Report.
ALSO - Book Pimping: Megan Hart's Strangers and Lauren Dane's Relentless


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Only sorta off-topic here, my friend, but when I spring more Melody on the world, you're gonna be first in line to cheer her on.

Paul said...

Let me guess, this would be in America, no doubt.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I think anything to do with children and anyone working with them generally desires a massive Grand Canyon divider between the use of porn and access to children. A teacher with a lick of sense would know that.

It doesn't matter that erotica is enjoyed by the parents of these same kids. A teacher should not be seen to be peddling sexual content - it will just be misconstrued.

Jason Gusmann said...

this kind of thing always freaks me out, and yes, paul is right, its always in america which is what me fear for myself. i work with emotionally disturbed teenagers for a living, but a lot of my work (although not erotic by a long shot) is filled with cursing, violent imagery, and some of it directly involves teenage characters. i am hugely careful of who i supply my links to at work due to the possibility of bullshit like this.