Friday, May 11, 2007

Banning Books--Bad!

Now comes a brouhaha over Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle which was banned by the Bartlesville Oklahoma Mid-High Library. (The linked article, from a local paper, claims the ban is not yet a done deal, but correspondence between Maureen and local high school officials indicate otherwise.)

For what sin did this banning occur? Cannibalism, paraphilia, coroophilia, defenestration, blasphemy, incest, homophobia, sexism, or just plain bad writing?

The vices listed in the paragraph above are completely absent from Maureen's charming book, which contains something much more subversive and sinful: two girls holding hands and kissing. No heavy petting, no third base, no badda-bing. Just two girls in love.

Get a match, folks. It's Farhenheit 451 time.

Now this would just be flat silly if it weren't so pernicious, particularly in light of this incident in Washington State (Two girls caught kissing on a school survellence camera--parents told--kids in deep trouble.) The complete story of the banning seems to be the same old sad song: one parents complains, the book is ejected, most of the people voting to ban it haven't read it, etc. The song remains the same. Can't we change the station?

To the parent who is worried about her kid reading about two girls in love, I promise you that your daughter already knows everything you are trying to protect her from. In this day and age the only way to keep kids ignorant is to keep them locked in a cellar somewhere. Homophobia, in any day and age, even in Oklahoma, isn't cool.

That's the moral of this story for the adults. The moral of this story for the kids is: Big Brother is watching you.

The moral for us all, kids and grownups alike, is Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom. (A quote by the founder of one of the greatest libraries of all, the Library of Congress.)

Sign a petition asking the Bartlesville officials to reconsider here.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Madama, I have signed the petition. I've also added this book to my to-buy list.

Paul Witcover said...

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom -- in a creepy way, that actually means that being spied upon is the price one must pay to live in a "free" country . . .

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Well, I don't think that is what Tom Jefferson or I meant by it--we meant--you gotta pay attention or you'll wake up one day and find your freedoms gone. Unfortunately in this day and age, your reading of the quote is probably more accurate. There's another Tom Jefferson quote that addresses that issue, but since it's a bit more inflammatory, I'll just let everyone guess it...

Cake said...

I like to think of local libraries like the proverbial Shakespeare-typing monkeys: given any marginally controversial book, there are so many local libraries in the US that one will get around to banning it eventually.