New Jersey libraries are banning books, thanks to Beck supporters. What's next, bonfires in the public square?
- April Daniels Hussar, BettyConfidential.com
Just when I think there might be some hope for the human race after all, something like this comes along and makes me crazy angry. Thanks to some Glenn Beck minions, New Jersey libraries are now banning a book written to help teenagers cope with struggles they may be having about their sexuality.
TPM reports The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) describes Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie, as "the first creative resource by and for queer and questioning youth of every color, class, religion, gender and ability." It features first-hand coming-out accounts from gay students, and "reflections on identity," according to the School Library Journal. It was also named as one of the best adult books for high school students by the Journal in 2001.
Wow - sounds like it could be a great resource for a young person grappling with some pretty confusing issues, no?
Uh, no -- apparently it's actually "child porn", according to the members of Glen Beck's "9/12" group who lodged the complaints.
Yes by all means, make those copies disappear! Because then none of our kids will get their grubby little hands on material that might make them think a little more broadly, or feel a little less abnormal or confused or lonely. Phew! Crisis averted!
So ridiculous - what do they think - roving bands of tweens are haunting the library aisles looking for racy gay sex scenes? They should be glad their kids even know what a library is.
Except of course, the book is readily available on Amazon.com (curse that confounded Internet!). A glance through Amazon's "look inside" feature reveals the Table of Contents - a few of the included essays: "Speaking for Ourselves"; "I was only 13 when"; "Don't ask because I won't tell" and "Coming out in middle school."
Uh, cue the porn music?
Not to mention - have any of these censorship-happy people taken a gander at their local bookstore's "young adult" section? From Gossip Girl to Twilight to books like Kiss and Blog (no, I am not making that up) - sex is EVERYWHERE. But something tells me these people aren't as worried about that kind of sex.
I'm a mom. I understand that there is material some parents are not comfortable sharing with their children. But that's why we, as parents, get to keep an eye on our kids, develop relationships with them, and theoretically exert some influence over them. And trust that one day, when they are too big for us to cover their eyes during kissing scenes, they ARE going to come across some reading material that we might find objectionable or uncomfortable. And they WILL read it - and hopefully, if we're lucky and have done a good job (my constant prayer), they will be able to come to us with questions.
Because ideas in books are not dangerous. How we deal with those ideas - that's another story all together. So shame on you, librarians! Shame on you for bowing to the ugly pressure of small-minded censors, and letting down the people you are supposed to serve, the ideals you are supposed to uphold.
And more than that -- shame on you, parents, for the lesson you're teaching your children: If you don't like an idea - burn it. If you don't agree with something, make it disappear. If something makes you uncomfortable, bury it deep inside, and pretend it doesn't exist.
And if your children are feeling any of the feelings that might have been helped or expressed in that book … well, God help them.
April Daniels Hussar is BettyConfidential's Executive Editor.