Friday, July 24, 2009

Now, discrimination is apparently "balanced"

Wackos calling for banning books is nothing new. However, there's a bit of an interesting twist to this particular instance. I thought I had heard all the ridiculousness that this kind of "I-heave-the-right-to-determine-what-you-read" jackassery could offer, but here's something new:

" She and her husband also asked the library to obtain books about homosexuality that affirmed heterosexuality, such as titles written by "ex-gays," Maziarka said. "All the books in the young-adult zone that deal with homosexuality are gay-affirming. That's not balance," she said. "

So, while the idea of attacking books for young adults as being "too sexual" (because, as we all know, teens never think up having sex on their own--they get it from books) is about as standard a move as there is, now they're trying to represent books about the ex-gay experience as a balance to "gay affirming" literature.

While I will not comment here on my thoughts about the ex-gay movement (and you can imagine what it means my opinion must be like for me not to unleash it in public), I will say that the opposite of gay-affirming literature is not literature that focuses on the ex-gay experience. I post this here so that you can be aware--this idea of creating "balance" is a new tactic, it seems to me--be on the lookout for it. While it makes zero sense to me to create "balance" in an issue where a group is pushing for civil rights (meaning legitimizing those who wish to deny those civil rights as somehow a valid point of view), you can see that there would be some who might not look under the surface of this type of rhetorical positioning.

And, as a by-the-way, for the way they talk about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you'd think it was a smut filled romp. I found it to be, on the contrary, probably one of the most sensitive and "realistic" portrayals of what being an adolescent is like in the late 20th century, and some really wonderfully crafted prose. You should pick up a copy. Or, better yet, gather some friends and their kids and start checking out the book on such a regular basis that the library has to create a waiting list for the book, showing how popular it is. Just a thought.

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