Friday, January 22, 2010

A Response To Ms. Maziarka

I was honored and surprised to find that Ginny Maziarka actually paid any attention at all to my blog on hers, a rare event indeed. But as usual, her thinking is a hopeless muddle. She seems to think I'm using a quote of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to support my position against her brand of censorship in public libraries. What she's doing there is creating a strawman: she claims I said something I never said, attacks what I never said, and then claims victory, hoping nobody is paying any attention at all.

My quotation of Justice Stewart was posted on my blog in isolation, without any comments of my own, offered as an indication of judicial attitudes toward censorship in general. It is quite a poignant quote that way, but I have not used it as evidence or support for anything else. As to my arguments about removing, re-shelving, or labeling books, or otherwise restricting access to books in public libraries, they are all carefully constructed from many other legal sources, all of which she ignores, and all of which are far beyond Ms. Maziarka's limited comprehension of Free Speech law.

Her complaint about my post would make at least a minimum of sense if the books she objected to in West Bend could legally by restricted by ANY law ANYWHERE. But they can't. The books she objected to, like Geography Club, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Heather Has Two Mommies, and (many) others, may annoy some, but come nowhere close to meeting any legal definition of obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors. Ms. Maziarka has every right to prevent her own children from reading those books, but her attempt to take away the rights of other parents to make a different decision about that is a flat out violation of the First Amendment, censorship as the term has been used in any number of court cases.

It doesn't bother me that she disagrees with me. But I am appalled by her resolute unwillingness to learn. Her attempts at censorship in West Bend were an abject failure. A lot of time and energy went in to analyzing and responding to her complaint, and the books are still on the same shelves, without warning stickers, and without restrictions. She failed because what she was insisting that the library do was break the law. She can complain about my quotations all she wants, and she continue to try to convince would-be censors in other towns that they have the same dictatorial authority over library contents that she tried to assert for herself. But as long as censorship opponents are organized enough to get lawyers and judges involved, she will continue to accomplish nothing.


  1. Well said!

    I almost laughed when I read her post. The part where she calls you a "fraud." Would "pot calling the kettle black" be appropriate here?

    In her newest post she seems to confuse anti-bullying programs telling students not to pick on gay kids with changing their core value system. Oi vey.

  2. I so appreciate your writing - it's thoughtful, intelligent, and non-confrontational - just the facts, sir. Maziarka, on the other hand, is thoughtless, moronic, and always looking for a fight - no facts, just what "God" tells her to write. Her "divinely inspired" works will appear in one canon - The Demise of Ginny Maziarka. She's well on her journey!