Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still Burnin' After All These Years

I thought that, generally, people were supposed to mellow out as they got older. As death began to loom on the horizon, you learn not to sweat the small stuff, right?

Not in West Bend, Wisconsin, apparently. A group of citizens there are outraged at the presence of Francesca Lia Block's Baby Be-Bop in their local library. The book is a young-adult novel about a gay boy coming of age, dealing with his identity and associated prejudice. This doesn't sit well with the Christian Civil Liberties Union (no, really), which has gone to court, not just to get the book removed from the library, to to burn the copies once removed (via PZ and Neil Gaiman):

In a scene which appears to have been lifted straight out of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a group of Christians in Wisconsin has launched a legal claim demanding the right to publicly burn a copy of a book for teenagers which they deem to be 'explicitly vulgar, racial [sic], and anti-Christian'.

* * *

Their suit says that 'the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library,' and that it contains derogatory language that could 'put one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.'
They argue that the book itself is a hate crime, as it actually depicts one (complete with the main characters attackers calling him a "faggot" and such). By that argument, they presumably need the Bible taken out, too, as it's full of genocidal hi jinks and other atrocities committed in the name of the Lord. But I doubt they'd see it that way.

The plaintiffs are also seeking monetary damages, of course, due to the "mental anguish" caused to them by the book, presumably to buy the fuel and kindling needed for their little literary roast. I'm surprised they didn't also ask the court order those damn kids to get off their lawns. They're sure to suffer more mental anguish when their case gets benchslapped in due course.

No comments: