Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book burning is such an odd request

Unless you can burn every copy of a book, why bother? Yeah, okay, it is a spectacle and draws attention to you and your "cause." But if you're only going to burn a couple copies of a widely available book, all you're really doing is promoting that book and getting more copies of it sold. We all know the fastest way to promote something is by censoring it; funny how the people requesting the censoring never seem to notice that.

There's a case that's been going on in the Wisconsin town of West Bend where a group of people requested that some young adult books be reclassified, reshelved, labeled with warning stickers, banned and burned.

Targeted books include:

The books were called "sexually explicit" and were said to be pushing a "gay agenda" by those complaining about them. The case got to the point where four members of the library board in West Bend were dismissed from their jobs for refusing to remove the books. Then the Christian Civil Liberties Union filed a legal claim against West Bend, the mayor and the library and said that the books "have damaged its plaintiffs mentally and emotionally." The lawsuit is where the book burning came into play; the suit demanded said books be burned. It also demanded $30,000 for each plaintiff.

So some "elderly" people, as the articles describe them, got mad about a couple books in the young adult section because they feature gay characters and/or sex. (I hope they've never heard of Judy Blume!) So mad that they ultimately wanted the books banned from the library and taken out and burned, and some money for their emotional stress over it. Never mind the stress that young adults in the town might feel, especially those who are gay, or the stress of the fired library board members, or of the library staff. I can't find anything indicating how these people knew about the content of the books, if they ever read the books, etc. But I sure know that I want to read them now! So thanks angry folks in West Bend, Wis., for making me aware of said books.

In the end, the library did not get rid of the books, and they remained on the shelves as they were, unlabeled and unrestricted. I assume the lawsuit never went anywhere. Congrats to the people of the town who stood up for the library with an organized read-in and who attended meetings and spoke out about the case. You can read more at the site West Bend Parents for Free Speech. Great example of getting involved in your community.

But I still don't understand what burning the books would have accomplished. Other than, you know, putting on a full display of these people's bigotry and ignorance.

1 comment:

Razor said...

I want $30 bajillion due to how much emotional and mental damage the Bible has caused over the last 2000 years.

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