Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Be-Bop and the CCLU (etc.)

Earlier this month I reviewed Francesca Lia Block's Baby Be-Bop. I won't repeat the review here, but I do want to make an additional point about the book.

I was reminded of Baby Be-Bop a few days ago as I reviewed the public statement of Robert Braun, president of the "Christian" Civil Liberties Union, at the June 2nd public meeting in West Bend (click here to see the video on YouTube). Mr. Braun got the name of the book wrong, calling it "Bo-Bop" instead of "Be-Bop". He quoted it as containing the instruction "kill the [n-word]," a phrase that does NOT, in fact, appear anywhere in the book. The n-word is used, exactly once (p. 16), in a context that illustrates some of the kinds of prejudice the main character has experienced. Braun also complained about the use of the word faggot. This word does occur once or twice in the text, but again, as an illustration of the kinds of prejudice the main character is victimized by.

Mr. Braun railed against bigoted language as if describing the views espoused by the book. The view of the book is plainly the opposite of that. I'd like to say that Braun was lying, but I suspect that's not the case. More likely, he just hadn't read the book, and hoped nobody else had either.

And isn't that the overall pattern? While Ginny Maziarka and the WBC4SL are not the same thing as the CCLU, they all seem to be DOING the same thing: condemning books without bothering to investigate their contents. Yes, Baby Be-Bop is on the list of books Maziarka objects to.

Maziarka's February letters to the library made it clear that her initial position was motivated by homophobic intolerance. Although sociopathic, this was at least internally consistent, in the sense that most of the books she listed had some kind of gay-related theme. Of course, you don't have to read books to tell that about them. You can determine their theme from titles and library catalogue entries. However, the moment she re-branded her fight as one opposing obscenity, that little bit of internal consistency evaporated. She didn't bother to think through the changes implied by the re-branding. She just took her list of books and started calling them obscene instead of pro-gay, assuming that would be an easier sell.

It is now painfully obvious that Ginny Maziarka has not read or even carefully reviewed these books. It is obvious she has not thought out in her own mind the criteria that determine what is or is not obscene. It seems not really even to have occurred to her that it is necessary to have criteria in order to make this determination.

I guess I'm just catching up to the realization made by many West-Benders months ago: Ginny Maziarka doesn't really want to accomplish anything, she just wants to complain.

8 comments:

  1. Braun as quoted as saying he has never read the book but intends to. Ya right... I have a time line of Ginny's EXACT quotes she has made to television media on my blog. I have asked her several times for clarification... Nothing...
    justmythoghts-kristina.blogspot.com
    TAG: library

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  2. Blog post name is OOOHHH Interesting stuff about Library complaint.

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  3. Thanks! That looks useful. I'll be going through it.

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  4. Ginny has like a group of 5 friends who egg her on, everyone else knows she is full of it... right? My parents who live in WB are as Christian Conservative as they come and even THEY think Ginny is nuts.

    Ginny - it's 2009 in the USA, not 1939 in Germany.

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  5. If Kristina is listening:
    So, has Braun admitted that he hadn't read the book at the time of his public statement at the library meeting? Has he explained how or why he felt comfortable standing in front of a roomfull of people, condemning a book he didn't read.

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  6. Ya he admitted it to the paper. I'm not positive of the exact date it was right around when he was marching up and down main street in front of the PD and City Hall with his mis-spelled "mayer" sign. I think it was the same day. He got a library card and put his name on the list to read the ook and admitted he had never erad it "but intends to."

    The paper prob has is his direct quote. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow. Dave Rank may have even been the writer on that or it could havebeen Dwayne Butler. Now sure.

    But yes, he still had not read the book when he proudly displayed his command of the english language and spelling skills. (mines not perfect but I can spell M - A - Y - O - R

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  7. If I can get a PDF file of, or even a stable link to, the newspaper article in which he admits to not having read the book, I'd add it to the collection on www.bannedinwestbend.info

    I'm reviewing some of the TV clips you (Kristina) mentioned, WITI I think, for similar inclusion.

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  8. I am trying to find it.Imay have to see if I still have the original paper. Otherwise I bet Michael Tyree has it. I will keep checking.

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