Wisconsin-ites Want To Burn A Book About A Gay Teen
Author Francesca Lia Block, we hope you’ve got Judy Blume on speed dial! Some wackos in Wisconsin are calling for one of your books to be censored in a good ol’ fashioned book-burning. Block’s young adult novel, Baby Be-Bop, is the story of how a teenage boy comes out of the closet to his grandmother. And it upset a group called the “West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries,” who tried to remove it from the public library, along with a bunch of other books with gay and lesbian themes. The group says they were trying to “protect children from accessing [the books] without their parents’ knowledge and supervision.” Of course! Because teens don’t ever go to the adult stacks. Ever. The Citizens For Safe Libraries collected 700 signatures calling for the books’ removal; thankfully another group, the West Bend Parents For Free Speech, collected 1,000 signatures requesting that the books stay put. In the end, the library board sided with the free speechers. But now a group called the Christian Civil Liberties Union (clever play on the American Civil Liberties Union you’ve got there!) is suing the library for violating Wisconsin’s sexual morality law. They’ve singled out Baby Be-Bop for censorship because it is “explicitly vulgar, racial and anti-Christian.”
The Christian Civil Liberties Union says that by keeping Baby Be-Bop, which contains not only gay stuff but also the N-word, in the stacks, the library is displaying content which is obscene, racial in content, and promoting violence. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit—all of whom the local newspaper describes as elderly men—even allege Block’s book has harmed their emotional and mental well-being. I love how one group of people says the book could be hurting children, and then another insists the book is hurting adults.
But really, can they really suggest going all Fahrenheit 451 and burning Baby Be-Bop in a flaming pyre? Because that doesn’t remind us of any other group that promotes violence. Not in the slightest. [Salon.com, West Bend Daily News]