Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BOOK BURNING IN WISCONSIN

There is a book on the shelf at the West Bend Community Memorial Library that a so-called group of advocates doesn't just want banned, but want it publicly burned. Nothing says freedom of the press and freedom of speech more [sarcasm here] than a good ol' Nazi book burning. Isn't that just the prefect way to teach our children about the freedoms certain groups [read here christo-fascists] want to take away from them.

The book is about a young man coming of age and discovering that he is gay. This was written as a children's book. At first the group wanted it moved to the adult section, which takes away from teaching children acceptance of others, and from there to the burning of the book because they say it "promotes homosexuality."

From Mustang Bobby at Shakesville:

"It's one thing to want a book that might be considered inappropriate for children put on a shelf in a library that clearly states that it is meant for adults, but this book doesn't sound anything like that; contrary to the feverish obsession of these ignoramuses, there's more to being gay than just having sex. (True to form, the folks who carry on about morality and the Radical Homosexual Agenda are a lot more preoccupied with sex than any normal person -- gay or straight -- should be.) To advocate for publicly burning a book brings it to a level of psychosis that reaches way beyond looking out for what's appropriate and what's not. These people have a deep-seated phobia about anything connected with homosexuality, and it's pretty scary that they're disturbed enough to come out, so to speak, with their rage and their hatred. These folks have a lot to learn about civil liberties, not to mention a lot about Christianity, too."

This from Salon:

A teen book burns at the stake

A Christian group hopes to set fire to library copies of Francesca Lia Block's novel about a gay boy coming of age.

By Laura Miller

June 16, 2009 | Francesca Lia Block, an award-winning author of young-adult books (the "Weetzie Bat" series among them), has known for a while now that one of her novels, "Baby Be-Bop" is at the center of a controversy in West Bend, Wis.

A few days ago, she found out that it might be burned at the stake. "Baby Be-Bop" is on a list of titles that a local group calling itself the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries objects to seeing in the public library. In February, the group asked the library's board to remove a page of recommended titles about gay and lesbian issues for young people (including "Baby Be-Bop") from the library's Web site. Then they demanded that the books be moved from the youth section of the library and placed with the adult collection, "to protect children from accessing them without their parents' knowledge and supervision."

"My publisher brushed it off at first," Block said, "but now it's starting to look really serious." When the board refused to immediately comply with the requests of West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, the town's common council voted not to renew the contracts of four recalcitrant board members. A second group, West Bend Parents for Free Speech, formed to oppose the plan to segregate the books.

At a June 3 public hearing, the library board received two petitions (700 signatures supporting the restriction, 1,000 opposed) on the issue and listened to dozens of statements (you can see video of some of the statements here.) Then it voted unanimously to leave the books where they are.

But the controversy isn't over. Now an outfit called the Christian Civil Liberties Union has gotten in on the act, suing the library for, according to the West Bend Daily News, "damaging" the "mental and emotional well-being" of several individuals by displaying "Baby Be-Bop" in the library. Since attempts to label the novel as "pornographic" have failed, the (somewhat shadowy) CCLU hopes to brand it as hate speech, in part because it contains the word "nigger." The complainants, described as "elderly" by the newspaper, claim that Block's novel is "explicitly vulgar, racial [sic] and anti-Christian." They want the library's copy not only removed but publicly burned.

"Baby Be-Bop," a title from the Weetzie Bat series that describes the youth of Weetzie's best friend, Dirk, is, in Block's words, "a very sweet, simple, coming-of-age story about a young man's discovery that he's gay." Dirk is beaten by gay bashers but steadfastly clings to the possibility of finding love. Block finds the disingenuous charges of racism particularly distressing. "Obviously I use those words, including 'faggot,' which is also in the book, to expose racism and homophobia, not promote it," she said. "It's a tiny little book," she added, "but they want to burn it like a witch."

"I'd like to show my support for the librarians with any statement I can make," she said "They're the unsung heroes in our society. My brother works on a hotline for gay youth and every night he's talking people down from suicide because they're gay and they're not accepted by the communities they're in."

11 comments:

True Blue Texan said...

Holy Crap! Burning books? Seriously? When's the last time that happened in America?

This is like the people who want to police the airwaves because they don't know how to change the channel.

Idiots!

Riot Kitty said...

That's just scary and ridiculous. Like a fucking witch hunt! So books about serial killers and war are OK, but no gay coming-of-age stories!


And now I am going to make sure I go out and buy that book.

Aliceson said...

Unbelievable... but of course I believe it. The religious nuts are coming out the woodwork here in WI.

I looked on my Library's websiate and it showed that both Grafton and Mequon libraries have the book. And just because it's sounds intruiging, I requested a copy.

One Fly said...

Will good win out here or will they cave like the pussys in congress and let the dark side win another round.

Nancy said...

Did we just get transported back to the dark ages of the 50's?

Nancy said...

Murdering doctors and security guards at the Holocaust Museum is
A-OK, but having a book about a young man discovering his sexuality is evil. Infreakingcredible!

Grandpa Eddie said...

True Blue - Yup, right here in good ol' progressive Wisconsin. It's been a loooooong time since this happened anywhere in the USofA.

They don't want their kids to read it, therefore NOBODY can read it.

Riot Kitty - It is a witch hunt! Books about serial killers and war and hatred & racism are just fine. They totally approve of that shit, just look at their bible, it's full of war, death, murder, hatred, and racism...and they demand that everyone read that. But don't even try pitting a book on the shelf about a kid discovering his inner self.

Aliceson - Those christo-fascists are all over the place here in 'Sconsin....of course, you've already dealt with some of them, just not the book burning kind...I hope.

Grafton and Mequon are probably next on the list if they succeed in West Bend.

One Fly - So far it seems as if the Library board, with a lot of citizen backing, is standing up to them. The majority of the trouble-makers seem to be from Milwaukee.

Nancy - Almost seems like they want to take us back to the '50's, or even farther.

These people are the antithesis of a "Star Trek" Vulcan, absolutely no logic whatsoever!

To all of you - I remember when I was a Freshman in High School (yes, I actually remember that far back) I read a book that wasn't on the school's "approved list" that was titled "CANDY". The book was pretty much filled with drinking, pot smoking, and wild sex. If I would have been caught with that in my possession at school (which is where it was everyday til I was finished reading it) it would have been taken away and the bible thumpers on the school board would have wanted me expelled.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

How Fucking Stupid is this? Let me count the ways.

First of all, Any parent who applies for a Library card for their minor child, has the right to limit that child's access to books. Period.

There is no excuse for this kind of bullshit. If you don't like that sort of book, then contact your local librarian and put it on the list of books your kid cannot check out.

Considering all the acts of Murder, Rape, Bestiality, and bigotry, the Bible is top on my list.

How about you?

Grandpa Eddie said...

Seeing Eye Chick - The bible is on the top of my list, too.

A World Quite Mad said...

This wouldn't be the first time, nor does it surprise me in the least. A few churches burned Harry Potter along with other books they didn't like. That's happened a few times.

Here's some other examples, some more current than others:

http://www.dailycommercial.com/localnews/story/060909book

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,619433,00.html

http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/book-burnings-potter-tech-media_cz_ds_books06_1201burn.html

"When books burn, people soon follow."

Grandpa Eddie said...

AWQM - Thank you so much for those links. I remember hearing about the Harry Potter burnings, but couldn't remember where.

I wonder what the christo-fascists would think if a large group of atheists got together and burned a large amount of bibles because they thought the bible is offensive.

Maybe a bunch of us should get together and do that, because I, for one, find the bible very offensive to my Constitutional rights and those of many others.