Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Very Busy Censorship Day

Is there some unusual alignment of the planets this week?  Is general IQ in the US taking a sudden nosedive?  It's certainly a bizarre week for those of us monitoring censorship issues.  The Volusia County Council in Florida overreacts to an uptight library patron by trying to revoke every adult's right to demand that internet filters be disabled, as if the council never heard of the First Amendment. Deranged school administrators in Riverside County, California, actually pulled copies of Miriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. That was only temporary, thank goodness, but is still pretty shocking (Dudes!  It's a DICTIONARY!).  And then . . . ?

The Tulsa World reported today that a children's book known as Buster's Sugartime has been challenged at the Union School District in Oklahoma.  The problem was that the book mentions (MENTIONS!) same-sex couples.  I'm not going to read the book, but I will quote here from the Tulsa World article, which contains quotes from the book:

Of the book's 31 pages of text and pictures, two short passages mention the same-sex couple: "Buster went to visit his mom's friends Karen and Gillian. They had three children ..." and "Lily's moms, Tracy and Gina, were very good cooks."
According to the article, the parents of one elementary school student formally challenged the book.  A review committee recommended 6-1 that the book be retained.  Undeterred, the parents took their complaint to the school board, arguing at least in part that the book advocates same-sex marriage, and such marriages are not allowed under Oklahoma law.  What that line of argument could possibly have to do with the book was not explained, at least not in the news article.  The school board voted 3-1 to retain the book, and that has ended the issue, at least for now.

I realize some parents will object to even so innocuous a text as this. But to challenge the book's availability, denying other parents the right to make a different choice, is harder to understand.  The review process seems to have worked in this case, but shame on the one member of the review committee and one member of the school board who voted to remove the book.


  1. Yes, I know I misspelled "Merriam" ... twice.

  2. Well you know Non-Censor, reading those two sentences might make the poor little children turn gay! We can't have that!

    And if something isn't legal, than you're not allowed to write about it. That's why there's no such thing as murder mysteries :).
    (Literal-minded: Note the sarcasm, and there is no such thing as "turning gay".)