Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Join the Banned

Retro-trends are always coming back.
Everywhere you look - 80's sunglasses, 80's swimsuits, 80's-sounding music.

And there's this fashionable trend from, well, throughout history, really. Book banning. This time in West Bend, Wisconsin.

Ginny and Jim Maziarka believe that teens should not be exposed to sexuality at their local library. That's right, their library. This couple believes that the LIBRARY is the worst place that these kids could possibly get information about teen sexuality. Retro is SO in.

Their complaint was with topics they deemed to be pornographic, which according to Ginny Maziarka is defined as "any sexual activity that is spelled out explicitly, even crudely." 5th grade family life book?

Three of the books in question to be moved, or removed, or whatever their current position is are Deal With It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL, The Geography Club, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Basically a book about being a teenage girl, a book about being a teenage homosexual, and a book about being...well, a teenager.

The authors of Deal With It! (based on their website found that that today's teens have the same questions about sex, love, and growing up that they had as teens. "Hearing what they had to say convinced us that there was a need for a new kind of book about being a girl, one that's smart, funny, approachable, and tuned in to the things girls really want to know."

Well, they were wrong. If our parents didn't get real answers to their questions, then why should we?

From the book list review of The Geography Club: Russel is gay, and he knows he better keep it secret, or he'll be a total outcast in his small-town high school.

Guess he was right - he's still apparently an outcast in his small town library.

And from the main character in Perks of Being a Wallflower: "I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why."

Too bad, kid. You're just not meant to know.

The good news is, thanks to people like Maria Hanrahan who started West Bend Parents for Free Speech, the library board voted to keep the books. I guess they figured if books are outlawed, then only outlaws will own books.

Quick, kids! Put down your violent, over-sexualized video games, and websites and head to the library while you still can!

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