A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yet Another Reason I'm Not Becoming a Republican

There, are you happy now, Troy? I had this post earlier (after a heads up from Gym Jim) regarding meddlesome laws at the state level. Well, here's another one, this time from Alabama. Gerald Allen (R) was attempting to ban gay books. What a dufus. Of course, for Jerry, it's not censorship, it's "protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children." How thoughtful of him. We wouldn't want to leave the protecting of the hearts and souls and minds of our children up to the parents, now would we-- lawmakers are ever so much more able to determine what is and what isn't appropriate for the kiddies.

Look, I'm a librarian, so I am automatically predisposed to think book banning is a really stupid idea (there's my bias), but IF it ever occurs, it should be because a parent objects to a book, a library responds to that objection, and there is a discussion of what to do, with banning the book usually being the last available option. Instead, Mr. Allen would arbitrarily institute a blanket law stating:
No public funds or public facilities shall be used by any state agency, public school, public library, or public college or university for the purchase, production, or promotion of printed or electronic materials or activities that, directly or indirectly, sanction, recognize, foster or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state of Alabama.
Which covers-- just about anything and everything. Now, I know this Alabama, the same state that made the sale of sex toys illegal, and on the plus side the measure died without a vote, but wow! Talk about your nanny state and the loss of individual liberties.

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Comments:
Much better on the title. (I notice that you threw out all bias. Ha!)
But I notice that you have not offered up the absolute worse abuse by any legislative group: the Texas Cheerleader law. How does a law bany 'sexy' cheerleader outfits and moves make its way onto the floor, much less get passed by the Texas House of Representatives.
(I know this bill was written by a Democrat, but I think the Republicans need to accept blame for not shooting this moron on the spot.)
Aren't these people actually from Texas? How can they be against sexy cheerleaders? Didn't the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders really start this? Help!!! Even Texas is going PC insane!!!!
 
WOW this guy should be poked in the eye by someone...now

if the quote is accurate he would ban the Recognition of gays????? Even if you were a huge hateful bigot would you refuse to acknowledge their existence?????? Words fail me..

I Rock
 
Look, I'm a librarian, so I am automatically predisposed to think book banning is a really stupid idea (there's my bias), but IF it ever occurs, it should be because a parent objects to a book, a library responds to that objection, and there is a discussion of what to do, with banning the book usually being the last available option. Instead, Mr. Allen would arbitrarily institute a blanket law stating:

Dammit, Nick, I'm not a Librarian, but I played one in college and I've got lots of respect for the people who do it.

But, dude, "if it happens?" even as a 'last available option', this is pretty, um, distasteful.

Look, I'm a First Amendment absolutist. If we are to continue to be Americans, we - ALL of us, and ALL of the libraries- have got to be able to access and read from the unbelievable richness and vast wealth of the entire range of literature, and books, no holds barred. There's a reason that the burning of the Library of Alexandria was such a tragedy.

I mean, there is always some parent somewhere willing to object to Tom Sawyer or 1984. At what point do they become sacrificed? Hunter Thompson. Maya Angelou. John Steinbeck. JD Salinger. Madeleine L'Engle(!), Shel Silverstein, Kurt Vonnegut.

Currently there are a healthy crop of parents who object to the Harry Potter books. HARRY POTTER, for crum's sake! These books have encouraged untold numbers of kids to read, and the among the lessons they teach are the value of friendship, bravery, and love of whimsy as well as appreciation for flights of fantasy and that you are only limited by your imagination. My son and I have both tore through these books, and he has brought up some of the most amazing and insightful questions about them; he is on his second reading of the full series and we are going to be in line, I'm sure, for the next volume's release this summer.

Where does this get banned, man? I've got to say, that when it comes to the books in a Library, it has got to fall to personal responsibility to discern what is good and bad FOR YOU ONLY; and of course as a parent, it is your responsibility to help make those decisions with your child.

But to take books OUT of a Library, permanently; Oh my Friend, That is, indeed, Obscenity.

And, of course, mad propz to Jack Montag on the choice of his psuedonym, in light of this subject.
 
Just gotta chime in this time. My gut was churning after I read your essay, and I was formulating a groovy response. Then I read TC's comments, and everything I had to say was there already said. And very eloquently, I might add.

We just had a censorship tussle up here in the great, white, republican, myopic county of Ozaukee, and in the end they played it like you described. The book was Snow Falling on Cedars, and they pulled it. Much to do over nothing, according to my wife, who actually read it. The scared, feeble minded zealots won the day over the scared, feeble minded keepers of the keys.

This is one area where the slippery slope seems all too possible. Teach them how to think, not what to think.

"It was a pleasure to burn."
 
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