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Preview: Twisted Librarian

Twisted Librarian

A blog devoted to Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom of Speech.

Updated: 2015-09-16T21:57:59.632-07:00


He's baaaaaack! (Buster the Bunny)


So, are we going to hear from any top Bush administrators if Sugartime hits library shelves?

"Despite controversy over a recent episode of the popular children's TV show Postcards from Buster, which featured lesbian mothers, Little, Brown
Books for Young Readers still plans to publish a book based on the contentious episode as part of a Postcards series planned for release this spring."

No Wonder We're in Deep Shit


"Who cares if the government censors articles before they're published? Prior restraint, schmior restraint. The Principal did it all the time when I was in High School. No biggie."

ARKANSAS – Fordyce High School officials announced at a school board meeting on March 14 that they plan to fire the teacher who advises the student newspaper, Jennifer Baker, who claims a recently instituted policy–requiring principal Bobby Brown to review articles before publication–violates the Arkansas Student Publications Act.

Baker opposes the policy and said it needs to be repealed or rewritten.

The Arkansas Student Publications Act requires school districts to adopt policies allowing students the right to express themselves, including the right of expression in school-sponsored publications. Student expression is permitted whether the publication is created on school grounds, financially supported by the school or operates as part of a course.

Brown introduced his policy on Jan. 27 after objecting to content in two issues of the newspaper, including an article that was critical of the school’s test schedule and a student’s quote regarding her Valentine’s Day plans to, "Cook for [my boyfriend] and watch a few love videos. Maybe a little later on something special will go down." The administration perceived the quote as sexual and inappropriate.

Brown said Baker had failed to "properly supervise," which had resulted in "inaccuracies" and "distasteful content" being published in the newspaper."

Student Press Law Center

Nudity in Art. HIDE THE KIDS!


Martha, get the kiddies indoors, theres some nudie art in town. Oh, hand me them there paper towels, I'm a-fixin to go check on it myself.

EVERYONE knows, of course, that the reason for the fall of Greek and Roman civilizations were their tolerance for public nudity in art. No, change that, they just didn't tolerate it, they seemed to roll in it like dogs on road-kill.

"The Venus de Milo had better wear a top and Michelangelo's David should put on some pants if they're going to be seen at a yard art business.

Bartholomew County officials told the business near Interstate 65 that it must move cement copies of the classical statues — and about 10 others — out of public view because they are obscene under Indiana law.

"It's not fair to point out our business, and personally, I don't find them offensive," Ginger Streeval, a co-owner of White River Truck Repair and Yard Art, told the Daily Journal of Franklin for a story Wednesday.

Frank Butler, the county's zoning inspector, disagreed.

"They have nudity ... and that should not be in the view of a minor," he said.


Television Censorship by the Numbers


The good news: In every single category, a majority of the people polled were against censorship.

The bad news: People in this country are still more willing to ban sexual content and nudity than violence. Only in America.

"Angus Reid Consultants - CPOD Global Scan) - Some adults in the United States want to enact tougher guidelines for the broadcasting industry,
according to a poll by Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs published in Time. 41 per cent of respondents believe the federal administration should ban cursing, sexual language and nudity from television."

Angus Reid Consultants

Newberry Award winner stays in the classroom.


Jenne over at LisNews posted this article.

"Despite parent concerns, Blue Springs eighth graders will continue to read "The Giver" as part of their curriculum.

The Blue Springs Board of Education unanimously voted to keep "The Giver" on the district's approved reading list Monday. Board member Dale Walkup was absent because of elective surgery earlier in the day.

"After taking time to reread the book and discuss it with patrons of the district, I feel this is a good book for our students to read," he said. "The last chapter of the book shows Jonas fighting to break the cycle, and showing that it is wrong. The message is not about suicide or euthanasia, but about demonstrating to students that the government can't control us."

Rest of the article: The Examiner (Jackson County, Missouri)

Note, parents could have their children opt-out of reading this. But, of course, that isn't good enough for some.

School Board Urged Not To Censor Students


Now, if it had just been the One Parent, asking to remove a book from the library, the School Board would have bent over backwards. Oooops, nope, bend over backwards might imply something that would upset some people.

"Mar 10, 2005 -- The majority among a dozen speakers at Tuesday night’s Loudoun County School Board meeting said they supported greater tolerance of homosexuality and opposed censorship of school plays. However, the majority of the school board members voiced opinions indicating they favored greater control over content.

Loudoun School Board Chairman John A. Andrews (Potomac) thanked all of the speakers for the civility they displayed in debating a subject that emerged in the wake of last month’s mini play Offsides performed last month as part of a montage called Postcards From Paradise at Stone Bridge High involving the topic of homosexuality and an implied kiss between two boys."

Leesburg Today

Conservatives and Social Change


I ran across this article, and was intrigued. I appreciate the calmness of tone, and the apparent willingness to debate and explore ideas. I know that for many groups on the Left, this may seem like an end run around cherished and strongly held beliefs. I disagree. I think this sort of group actually shows the effectiveness of what we have believed and articulated for so long. That a woman's group could form and traces it's roots to both Conservatism AND Feminism is a testimony to the struggle that so many women engaged in.

That got me thinking about SRRT. It seems to me that SRRT is too inbred. That so many of them have the same viewpoint and aim is actually harmful to them in the long run. An infusion of new blood is good, however unappreciated. This is not to excuse the actions of some that I have seen on there whose intent, as far as I can tell, is NOT to find a Conservative path for Social Responsibilities and libraries, but simply to destroy it using a "heckler's veto". New viewpoints that combine Social Responsibility with Conservatism, however, can only be a good thing. And perhaps, if any of the "old guard" pay attention, they might find themselves intellectually engaged and learn something along the way.

I've been toying with the idea of finally joining ALA and SRRT. Perhaps now is the time. I am not a Conservative, by any means. But, hopefully, I could add a voice that is willing to listen. I also have some ideas on how we can improve conditions and mobility for our un-degreed colleagues.

"N.E.W." does not stand for "No Education for Women," the "Network of Eventual Wives" or "Nuts for the Elimination of Women."

N.E.W. stands for the Network of Enlightened Women.

N.E.W. is a group of young women who quietly gather in the basement of one of Mr. Jefferson's pavilions on Wednesday nights. We sit around a table, eat chocolate chip cookies and carry pink binders with our agendas. We discuss our position as women in society. We acknowledge and appreciate that we have more opportunities than any other generation of American women.

So why all the fear of us?"

The Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia)

Biting the Creative Hand that Feeds You


Between the Comics Code Authority (see the original code here) and the business practices of the publishers, it is a miracle that comics have survived at all.

"A federal judge has ruled that Marvel Comics owes millions of dollars to its longtime writer, Stan Lee, in unpaid profits from movies based on the characters he created: Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk.

Lee's lawsuit had sent a modest shock wave through the comics community -- not because a comic-book publisher scammed one of its creators -- that's what those publishers have always done. Lee, of all the creators in the business, seemed to be the one immune to scammery."

The Oregonian

A Decent Speech Against an Indecent Piece of Legislation


Bernie Sanders made a very decent speech in opposition to the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act 2005. It is a shame that it passed.

"Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree that we do not want our children exposed to obscenity on the public airwaves. That goes without saying.

As someone who last year voted in favor of similar legislation, I am increasingly alarmed by the culture of censorship that seems to be developing in this country, and I will not be voting for this bill today. This censorship is being conducted by the corporate owners of our increasingly consolidated, less diverse media. And it is being done by the government. This result is an insidious chill on free expression on our airwaves.

There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about freedom, freedom and freedom but, apparently, they do not really believe that the American people should have the "freedom" to make the choice about what they listen to on radio or watch on TV. There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about the intrusive role of "government regulators," but today they want government regulators to tell radio and TV stations what they can air. I disagree with that. A vote for this bill today will make America a less free society."

Follow the link for the rest of the speech

Common Dreams

Ignore the man behind the curtain


I think this is an excellent editorial in the Denver Post. While we are concentrating on the rantings of Ward Churchill, and getting ourselves all in a fuss, everyday people find their First Amendment rights under fire.

While the uproar over Ward Churchill may be stealing the media show, Colorado has had several other worrisome free-speech dust-ups. Take the Norwood superintendent of schools' misguided censorship or the foolish cops in Westminster and Denver who harassed motorists with anti-Bush messages on their cars.

Churchill's idiotic rants touch a painful scar in our country. Nevertheless, we're reminded repeatedly of Churchill's right to free speech. Like the words of mindless skinheads, I'll defend his right to say what he wants, no matter how disgusting. But the other incidents reflect a deeper threat to our liberties and are getting far less attention in the press."

Denver Post

The upside of Censorship?


If there is an upside to censorship, it would be that it seems to create a demand for the book being censored: "Author Chris Crutcher is banned temporarily from Grand Rapids Public Schools, but at local libraries, his book "Athletic Shorts" is flying off shelves." (Grand Rapids Press)

Meanwhile, here in Oregon, the challenge to Robin Cody's book, Ricochet River, has generated 36 holds for 23 copies. See, 'Ricochet River' in the crosshairs (Clackamas Review).

Obviously, we could increase our circulation of books by encouraging groups to make very public challenges. I'm waiting to see an article in Library Journal on how to do that.

The problem of Community Standards


As librarians, in a public library, we are frequently expected to be conscious of community standards. There is an expectation that our collections will compliment and support our communities, and will not excessively offend (some would say not offend at all) the sensibilities of the community. That is easier said than done. The issue revolving around the Vagina Monologues in a New Jersey town is a good example of how difficult it can be in assessing Community Standards:

"WEST MILFORD - The rumor mill has been churning in recent weeks as volunteers prepare for a benefit performance of "The Vagina Monologues."

Mayor Joseph DiDonato on Thursday ordered an investigation into whether a township community center had asked the play to stop rehearsing there, after residents expressed concerns over possible censorship during a council meeting.

At issue: The play's frank language might be overheard by children who use the complex for sports and other after-school activities.

"We have no policy of censorship," DiDonato said at the meeting. "This is the first I'm hearing of it. ... Nobody has the authority to set that kind of policy."

The rumors aren't true, according to interviews Friday with the parties involved. But the play has attracted some criticism, organizers said.

The West Milford Players, who are helping guide the production, have received anonymous telephone calls lambasting them for "bringing filth into a family-oriented town," said group leader John Richards."

I think Stephen Abram, in a Library Journal article has, at the very least,made a good start at identifying what we mean by community, and how hard of a term it can be to come to grasps with, by identifying at least five different types of community:

Community Exploded (Library Journal 1/15/2005)

ALA's Most Challenged list


The ALA's most challenged list is out, and Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War is at the top. What is interesting is that of the top ten titles, four are Young Adult; three are Juvenile; two are Adult Non-fiction; and one is Adult Fiction (Of Mice and Men).

American Libraries Online

Getting the Hebe-jeebies in Douglas County


"Wanting to avoid the controversy that has ensnared the city of Roseburg over a proposed statue of the Greek goddess Hebe, Douglas County commissioners have nixed an exhibit at the Douglas County Museum."

My favorite line:

"Kittelman said the action wasn't meant as an act of censorship. She said it was simply to avoid embroiling the county in the controversy."

Have you ever noticed that acts of censorship are rarely intended as such? Or, it's even denied that they are acts of censorship?

News Review (Douglas County, Oregon)

Please note... the title was borrowd, in part, from a 2/12/05 Oregonian editorial entitled: "Roseburg's Hebe-jeebies."

GoDaddy update


A very nice editorial about the yanking of the 2nd showing of the GoDaddy commercial. This is why we don't want censorship boards. These are precisely the people that would be on them.

Desert Dispatch

Free Markets vs. Free Speech; case study #1


I've mentioned before, and I'll mention again, that I have heard from various quarters that Capitalism (or Free Markets) is synonomous with Free Speech. That Free Speech, and freedom in general, thrive and would have a hard time existing without Capitalism. I don't think that is necessarily true, and there are often indications that Free Speech can be stifled by the Capitalist impulse. So, I'm going to post, sporadically, examples that contradict that premise. It is totally one-sided, unfair, and is most certainly not a comprehensive study. But, it should be entertaining.

"Censor parody was cut in 2nd airing

NEW YORK - A racy ad for a vendor of Web site names was pulled at the last minute from a second showing during the Super Bowl telecast on Sunday after NFL executives objected that the spot made light of Janet Jackson's ``wardrobe malfunction'' incident in last year's halftime show."

Boston Herald

NO! They MOCKED the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction"? God knows, we don't need THAT.

Burn baby burn


So, lets see, giving the books to a parent to burn isn't censorship, it is "sponsorship". Oh, of course, he didn't read the book either. You wouldn't want to make an informed decision before your burn the book. Right. And those poor German SA Brownshirts were just cold in 1933, and there wasn't any wood handy to burn.

"It's less a matter of censorship than a matter of sponsorship. That's not the kind of garbage I want to sponsor at this high school," Conder said yesterday.

Conder — who hasn't read the entire book — gave more than two dozen copies of Bless Me, Ultima to a parent to destroy. The teacher who ordered the book has apologized in a letter to parents and won't be disciplined, he said."

See... he's not such a bad guy, he won't discipline the teacher.



Superintendent bans novel from Colorado school (First Amendment Center)

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust: Nazi Book Burning (Florida Center for Instructional Technology

How to Deal with Telemarketers - Andy Rooney Style


I like these suggestions. A lot. Especially where you mail things back to them in their own envelopes.

1) Ask them to hold, and then walk away.

2) Hit the # sign repeatedly when you get those annoying "no one is on the other end" calls.

3) Mail back prepaid envelopes.

Libraries in Maine and Colorado donate fines for Tsunami relief.


My big question is, since it has been proclaimed that my profession is filled to the gills with liberals and leftists, are we (liberals) going to get credit for this? Or, is it only important that we are liberals when things are "wrong"?

American Libraries Online

The DC Mayor and portests.


Yeah, we wouldn't want any "unplanned demonstrations".

"WASHINGTON, D.C. – The First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004, an ordinance the City Council passed handily in December with a 12-1 vote, will go to Congress without the endorsement of D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, who declined on Wednesday to sign the bill after it was forwarded to him on Jan. 7.

The move, his spokeswoman said, was meant "to put on record the mayor's opposition to elements of the bill that he would like fixed."

The bill, authored by Councilwoman Kathy Patterson, was written in response to arrests at street demonstrations surrounding the September 2002 International Monetary Fund/World Bank meetings. The police department later admitted the arrests, which included some student journalists, were "improper." The arrests led to litigation that has cost the city approximately half a million dollars. One lawsuit was settled with the city this week for $425,000; another class-action suit involving approximately 400 protesters and bystanders is ongoing."

Click on link for rest of the story: Student Press Law Center

Return of the "Sex Closet"?


Back in the day, some libraries, if they had any, would keep their books locked up in a "sex closet" to keep the weak minded from falling prey to over stimulation. Over the years, along with the buns, we've loosened things up a bit. Not enough, in my opinion, but we've certainly been making progress. Now, in Houston, we may be seeing movement back to hiding sex. What on earth is so wrong with sex that we are afraid of it and we feel the need to hide it? We have all of Ann Rule's books on the shelves describing, in gory detail, the actions of socio- and psychopaths. But, we can't keep a book on the shelf that talks about sex. Go figure.

"Porn queen Jenna Jameson calls her autobiography a "cautionary tale," and Mayor Bill White is taking precautions about making it available to Houston library patrons.

White recently ordered that the library's dozen copies of Jameson's best-selling How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale be removed from open shelves.

In making his decision, White sidestepped the committee process that Houston's libraries typically use to evaluate complaints about items in their collections."

Houston Chronicle

Maybe campuses aren't as liberal as we thought


This little tidbit comes from the Daily Texan. My favorite part is where he accuses David Horowitz of being the ringleader of a campus Jihad. I wonder if the old insults that Conservatives are Nazis and Liberals are Communists will be replaced with a new paradigm: Jihadists. At least it will be fair if both sides accuse each other of being Jihadists, and certainly simplifies the process of insulting the other side.

"Arch-conservative activist and faux scholar David Horowitz is the ringleader of the campus jihad. For years, he has been calling attention to the modern plague of radical leftism in universities, but now, with the decline of leftist boogeymen in the halls of power, Republicans are starting to listen up."

The Daily Texan

A Good Example of How it Should Work


I think this is exactly the way it should work. I was especially gratified to see that all parties in this case were understanding and civil.

"Dane County Sheriff's Detective David Mahoney walked into the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library in Cross Plains on Dec. 30 and asked to see the library's Internet sign-in sheet for the day.

Assistant Library Director Sue Freedman said no.

There was no unpleasantness in the exchange. Freedman said Mahoney was "very understanding" and waited several hours while she called the village attorney for legal advice. When she eventually told Mahoney that she would not turn over the sheet without a warrant, he left."

The Capital Time (Madison, WI)

Texas needs a Kinky Governor


I was mildly depressed because of today's festivities. No, not because I wasn't invited. But, I got some news that suddenly made everything so much better. Kinky Friedman is going to run for governor of Texas!! It almost makes me want to move to Texas. Almost.

Kinky Friedman for Governor!

Sex God remains on shelves in Montana School


Of course an unstable person could see a young girl reading the Little Women and take it as an inivitation. Thank God calmer heads prevailed in this case.

"A materials review committee for the Bozeman (Mont.) School District voted unanimously January 12 to retain Louise Rennison’s On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson in the district’s middle-school libraries. The book had been challenged by Pius Ruby, whose 12-year-old attends the Sacajawea Middle School. Ruby feared that an unstable person seeing a girl reading the book might think from the title that the girl was promiscuous and stalk her, according to the January 11 Bozeman Daily Chronicle."

American Libaries Online