Monday, November 9, 2009

Censorship and Children

So there's this article/news story being bounced around about these two library staffers who either "took a stand" or "violated the First Amendment." An 11 year old had put a volume of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" on hold, the staffers thought that inappropriate reading for her age group, and removed it from the hold shelf.

The bit that hadn't really been discussed until now is that before this hold thing came up, the staffer had been repeatedly checking the item out and renewing so that no one they deemed "children" could see it, lest their poor virgin eyes be scarred and burned forever.

The fact that this idiocy also eliminated access for consenting adults notwithstanding, there's a whole sub debate going down about the wrongful titling of the staffers as "Librarians" by the new media. Librarians keep posting to forums about how "No! Not us! We'd never do that! It's those bad staffers without masters accreditation, hiss booo!"

And of course we do, and of course we would.

Not that it's okay, not that I support it or plan to do it knowingly, but librarians censor their own collections and their patrons every day of the week, whether by the location of the books, the placement of the displays, or just not buying the title in the first place.

If a librarian knows that a title is going to be a pain in the butt, or it simply makes him/her uncomfortable enough in their own right, they won't purchase the book for their collection. Budgets are tight enough; spending money on a book that you know is going to walk off the shelf or generate complaint letters is something most librarians would rather avoid if they can.

Aside from that, these articles and these women constantly refer to "the children!" as if wringing their hands and shrieking their outrage ala Mrs. Lovejoy will somehow protect the little darlings from sexually implied content for the rest of their lives. It constantly surprises me how much people tend to forget about what they were like when they were 11, 12, etc.

You were a tiny, pimply, little perv, and you know it. Every 10 year old I knew was drawing boobies on the bus seats, and even if we didn't quite understand the appeal of spin the bottle yet, no one wanted to be the one to admit it, and we played it when we could anyways.

Also, Young Adults and Children are two very separate categories in literature. Recognize that, and stop using them as interchangable terms when the mood suits you, Unnamed Person I'm Criticising.

Having actually *read* the book in question (which is a great part of the article, where the woman talks about how she actually had to be forced to read it to prepare her final challenge, and had people praying over her to keep those dirty things from imprinting upon her mind) I can tell you that yes, Alan Moore is a dirty weird old homeless man who totally wants to end society as a whole and had no bones about portraying nudity, sex, violence, drug addiction, or any number of other things.

But frankly, Gossip Girl is more sexual, and the average 11 year old is just going to be more confused about what the hell is going on, and what's with all the colonialism.

Reason Number Twenty Seven I Love Librarians

Because librarians, man, they've got your back. I was an accountant for like four years, and those guys throw you so far under the bus you find tread marks in your underwear.

Not librarians/librarians-in-training.

Librarians, when their colleagues (*cough* me *cough*) are locked out of registration for their final semester because of a late fee they can only pay in person at Flushing; man, you know what librarians do? Librarians go "Oh, hey, man, one second... okay, you're all set, we've got this, don't worry."

Librarians. Have. Got. Your. Back.

The end, IFYM.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2 New Life Goals

1) I want to be put on microfilm. (Cuz dude, that's like the closest thing to format immortality ever.)

2) I want a livejournal community/"fandom" devoted to me. I haven't figured out just how/what I'm going to do that qualifies as squeeworthy or impressive, but I'll get there. Ala Mishaland.

One day. One day.