I use the word “burning” metaphorically. But it might as well be literal. If you ban a list of books in a system of libraries, the libraries have a bunch of recycling to do, and eventually … to the county incinerator go the books.
In fact, I give you no truck, no room, no wiggle-space, if you even look at a book funny, because that is how it starts. I am champion of the books, all the books, and I am not alone, not by a long shot.
Here is a recent, disturbing, but typical example. Christians in Boundary County, Idaho, mobbed the local public library board, demanding the removal of a large number of books, including Gender Queer: A Memoir* by Maria Kobabe**, a book the library did not actually have.
These thugs intimidated the administrator of the libaries, Kimber Glidden, into resignation, in which she noted:
“My experience and skill set made me a good fit to help the district move toward a more current and relevant business model and to implement updated policy and best practices. However nothing in my background could have prepared me for the political atmosphere of extremism, militant Christian fundamentalism, intimidation tactics, and threatening behavior currently being employed in the community.”
Gidden told reporters at Route Fifty that “If [this] was really about banning books, we’d have to have the books.” Food for thought. They don’t care about the books, they only care about being bullies, and intimidating people who love books, and the kids the books are there for.
In another case, MAGA-Republicans and Fundy-Christians took over the Lafayette, Louisiana library last year and this happened:
- The library board rejected a grant to fund a program about voting rights, saying it was too left wing.
- A display about Pride Month was cancelled, and today library displays are forbidden about any distinctive group — even French Cajun culture, of which Lafayette is the unofficial capital.
- And this summer, when a popular librarian, Cara Chance, ignored that order and put up a display that included queer teen romance books, the board tried to fire her.
The actual police showed up at the Granbury High library in Granbury Texas to investigate a complaint made by book-burning-fundies last May. Five books were subsequently removed from the library shelves. The removal of these books was targeted harassmement of Trans students and other non-heteronormative-binary people by the school admins. This sort of thing has caused loss of life among school children. Even in relatively liberal Minnesota suburbs, a school board member went out of his way to indicate his discomfort with non-heteronormative school children, as noted in this LTE written by Yours Truly:
Locally, where the Jay Hesby problem recently emerged, we have an open seat on the Wayzata School District board. Hesby is one of a few candidates running. Sheila Prior, an active member of the school community especially interested in reading education, is also running, and she is by a gazillion miles my choice for the upcoming special election. (Feel free to visit her web site and donate ten bucks or more to this great cause. I just did!)
I gets scarier. Recently in the Reno Nevada area, suited up members of the “Proud Boys” (I call them Cucked Children) actually entered a library to disrupt a children story time because they did not like the book that was being read. They did the same thing near San Francisco, South Bend, Indiana, and Woodland California. There was violence. Over books. At events involving children. Derek Chauvin got extra time on his murder sentence because he carried out violence in the presence of children. For christakes.
Yesterday, South Bend, IN:
Seven Proud Boys disrupted Rainbow Story Hour event at Tutt library.
They harassed the presenter, event organizer, staff, and library patrons until police were called.
Any assistance IDing them would be appreciated by SB comrades. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/VCjvJ3Z41a
— Indiana Mutual Aid Coalition (@INMutualAid) June 28, 2022
Alleged Proud Boys members attempt to get into The Mojo in Woodland, CA and are met with pepper spray. The bar had planned an all ages Drag Show tonight, which was postponed due to security concerns pic.twitter.com/7Boln64uJ6
— Luke Cleary (@LukeCleary) July 1, 2022
-* Links to books on Amazon help support this blog, see note below
-** From the publisher:
2020 ALA Alex Award Winner
2020 Stonewall — Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Then e created Gender Queer. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fan fiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: It is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
This special deluxe hardcover edition of Gender Queer features a brand-new cover, exclusive art and sketches, a foreword from ND Stevenson, Lumberjanes writer and creator of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and an afterword from Maia Kobabe.