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.