Neighborhoods

Fahrenheit 212

by

Michael Nicholas

Age 27

Resides Bronx

Occupation Occupation Sales associate

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? Yes. As a Jehovah’s Witness, I wasn’t allowed to read certain things.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? Yes, because it’s rougher now than it was in the late ’70s. I have 13 nieces and nephews and I’m aware of what they read.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? An issue of Penthouse that I snuck. More than the pictures, it was the stories that got me, a big orgy scene in particular. It made me think, “Can I do this at home?”


Helen Russo

Age 50

Resides New Jersey

Occupation Secretary

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? My parents never edited what we read. I wrote my first novel at the age of 11.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? No, but I always knew what my kids were reading. When he was little, I read to my son from Iron Man and Superman. Those were obviously his choices.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? A romance novel. My older brother found it and threatened to tell my parents. My father kept his Playboy collection in a dresser drawer, so I learned how to hide things well.


Dee Brinkly

Age Over 21

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Meeting planner

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? With Southern parents, you’d better believe that we weren’t allowed to read anything that had to do with sex.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? I don’t censor, but I am always trying to encourage a better understanding of black history. There are great books about the African American experience, and that’s what all the kids in my family get as gifts.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? I can’t remember anything specific, but I know I thought it was bad enough to hide.


Matthew Sklar

Age 24

Resides Queens

Occupation Graphic artist

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? I read whatever I wanted.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? If the subject matter was too old for them, if there was too much sex or violence, maybe, but not if the subject matter was simply complex, like gay characters or complicated situations.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? I can’t remember-it wouldn’t have been a Playboy magazine because my parents bought me a subscription.


Aneela Dairkee

Age Over 21

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Programmer

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? For the most part, my parents knew what I was reading.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? Unless I knew my kid was reading pornography, I’d stay out of it.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? I never hid a book from my mother, but because she wasn’t from this country, she probably looked at my Judy Blume books and thought they were just like the rest.


Ty McConnell

Age 59

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Editor

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? I was brought up on Uncle Wiggly, which you can imagine wasn’t very violent. All this censorship is pretty recent. I call it the Anal Age.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? Not unless they were reading pornography. I’d tell them to save that for later.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? My father subscribed to Playboy. I never had the feeling that if I got hold of something dirty I should hide it.


Mila Bronfeld

Age 38

Resides Brooklyn

Occupation Bookkeeper

Did your parents censor what you read as a kid? I read a lot and because I was a good kid, my parents never paid attention to the books I chose.

Do you or would you censor your children’s books? Even though I think television is the greatest influence on kids, books can have the same power. I’m very aware of what they’re reading.

What’s the first dirty book you hid from your parents? I grew up in Russia so I didn’t have access to the same things, but in the fourth grade I got hold of a novel by a French writer, the title was something like Angelique.It was bad and exciting. They later made the book into a movie.

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