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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

July 22, 2009
They Do It Wrong

The suppressionists, the thought-controllers, the small, the mean, and the frightened--they need a little help getting themselves organized.

I know they're trying to do what they need to do in order to keep their little brains from exploding at the sheer level of maturity required to deal with the amazing variety of freedom that the world offers today. They're scared and they're bewildered and they want nothing more out of life than a return to the fictional decade of the fifties where men were white and strong and women were pearl-draped dingbats endlessly hoovering immaculate carpets and the ever-sanitized homes of the complacent middle class came without bathrooms because no one ever needed to do anything as vulgar as to take a pee.

I'm sure they attribute their failure to stem the tides of individualism and freedom to some kind of moral failing in the vast majority of human beings, but the truth is, the fault is their own. They're fighting the wrong battle.

Take the Narrow-Minded, Bigoted, Lunatic-Fringe good people fighting to keep libraries wholesome.

It isn't as though they don't have a point. Having a section of the library devoted to literature for a 12-18 population is ridiculous. Granted that 12 year-olds are more mature today than they were forty years ago, it still has to be admitted that there's a lot of material a 16-18 year-old can absorb that is not particularly appropriate for a 12 year-old.

Sadly, it doesn't appear that the NMBLF had the sense to take that stance. We'll call that poor strategic thinking, okay? ('Cause it would just be too cynical of us to assume that they were so absorbed in reading the sexy bits that they lost perspective)

The battle they've chosen to fight instead--they can't win that one. It's too big for them. They're trying to fight the entire weight of human history. I mean, they can try to take on Reality, goodness knows they wouldn't be the first, but they have less of a chance of winning than I do of raking in a big lottery pot.

Problem is, what they're mostly agin' is the modern world and you just don't get far trying wholesale rejection of the Real World (assuming you don't want to wind up with your arms wrapped around your spine). (If you doubt me, putter on over and ask Cheney how that oil well grab in Iraq is working out for him and his buddies.)

Plus which, you know, these folks are all about the Don't. They need to be more about the Do. Starting from that perspective--instead of trying to weed out everything in the world they don't approve of or that gives them tingles and funny dreams or makes them reconsider precious bigotries--instead of weeding out, it would be a lot easier for the NMBLF to weed in, not that that's an actual thing but maybe it will be by the time I'm done.

I mean, who knows why kind of seditious, life-affirming, maturity-inducing material might be published next year--or next month? One assumes these people have, you know, jobs and stuff. They probably can't devote their entire lives to reading about the girl next door getting damp panties over the head cheerleader. Besides which. You know. That funny tingly feeling.

And as for the books about children getting raped, well, we all know that never happens and if it did it's certainly not going to be Uncle Dave or Grandpappy Joe, so we don't need no books letting kids know that they're not alone, it's happened to other kids, and that it's not their fault.

Nosirree. Didn't happen. Ain't true. Not in our family.

But our NMBLF friends can't be on the watch and read every book that's published, just to keep us all ignorant pure, so basically they need to identify their acceptable weeds, toss up a little white picket fence around them, call it a flower garden, and they're done!*

That is, ask for a well-lit corner space in the local library, and put up a sign:

Books Approved By The Narrow-Minded, Bigoted, Lunatic Fringe (with gratitude to the Joseph McCarthy Foundation and the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial for providing our funding and to Ray Bradbury and Aldous Huxley for giving us inspiration but we're sorry to have to report that their so-called "classics," Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World, are rank sedition and thus didn't make the cut.)

Then they have the six or seven or however many books they can all agree are acceptable prominently displayed.* That makes it easy for people who agree with them to find those pre-approved, acceptably sanitized versions of an alternate reality that never was and never will be.

In closing, let me say that the geriatrics who want to sue the library because the kids' books gave them mental anguish? What anguishes me is the realization that you've been on the planet for 70+ years and you still need to get out more.


One caveat, though. We might need to make a rule that they can only sponsor and approve books whose authors are deceased. (It's really not fair to destroy a living author's livelihood, is it?)

Posted by AnneZook at 04:11 PM | Comments (4)