The Ten Most Challenged Books of 2007

by Isabel

Happy Banned Books Week!

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

7) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

h/t Jill @ Feministe

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More on Sarah Palin and Book-Banning

by matttbastard

The Nation has just published a very informative investigative piece by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, further exploring the connections between Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin and the Christian right.  The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight the following passage, which sheds more light on a now-infamous alleged incident from 1997 involving Palin and the Wasilla Public Library:

Much has been made of Palin’s gestures toward book-banning as mayor. To understand what happened, it’s useful to realize that the Mat-Su Valley was in the middle of a roiling controversy over a book by [Howard Bess, a local retired liberal Baptist minister], titled Pastor, I Am Gay. Bess, 80, is deeply respected by the Valley’s small progressive community. Educated at Northwestern’s Garrett Biblical Institute — now called the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary — he comes from a Baptist tradition committed to church-state separation. In 1980 he left his church in Santa Barbara, California, to become pastor of Anchorage First American Baptist. Over the years Bess developed an intense concern about gay rights, and he went out of his way to welcome gay people into his Anchorage church. After he had served seven years at First Baptist, the board of the church asked him to lower his profile on the issue. Unwilling to do so, he resigned, took early retirement and ended up moving to Palmer to pastor a tiny liberal congregation, the Church of the Covenant, which he did without pay.
Bess published Pastor, I Am Gay in 1995. It recounts his experiences ministering to gay men and lesbians, calls for the church to take a stand against discrimination and even draws parallels between the experience of gay people and that of Jesus. “They are despised and rejected,” he wrote. “They suffer and are acquainted with infirmity. They are rejected by a perversion of justice. Is it possible that the will of the Lord will prosper through them?”

Local conservatives, including at Wasilla Assembly of God, mobilized against the book. Christian bookstores as well as secular retailers refused to sell it. Bess donated two copies to the Wasilla Public Library, but they vanished from the shelves, so he donated more. The atmosphere toward Bess was toxic; a 1997 cartoon in the Frontiersman showed a slobbering, doll-clutching pedophile approaching his church, whose sign said, Wasilla Church of the Covenant. Howard Bess, Pastor. All Sinners Welcome! Bible Interpretations to Suit Your “Lifestyle.”
Most reports have said that, when asking about banning books, Palin never mentioned any specific titles, but the presence of Pastor, I Am Gay in the library was, at the time, a matter of fierce contention. “I’m as sure that that book was at issue with Sarah Palin as I am that I’m talking to you right now,” said Bess.

Providential coincidence, or small-town cheap homophobic conspiracy?  Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Fareed Zakaria dons his Captain Obvious pajamas, declaring Palin to be “utterly unqualified to be vice president”; has the bar on Palin been set so low that it’s entirely possible for her to ‘win’ Thursday’s VP debate?

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“It’s old people fncking with the Canadian film industry.”

by matttbastard

natodutch.jpg

Which is more “nanny-state”: a strong social safety net, or a government that lets fundies decide what art is and isn’t worthy of public funding?

A well-known evangelical crusader is claiming credit for the federal government’s move to deny tax credits to TV and film productions that contain graphic sex and violence or other offensive content.

Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his lobbying efforts included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and “numerous” meetings with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We’re thankful that someone’s finally listening,” he said yesterday. “It’s fitting with conservative values, and I think that’s why Canadians voted for a Conservative government.”

Mr. McVety said films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars, and backbench Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers support his campaign.

There are a number of Conservative backbench members that do a lot of this work behind the scenes,” he said.

[…]

Conservative MP Dave Batters recently urged the new president of Telefilm Canada, Michel Roy, to block federal funding for objectionable films, listing Young People Fucking as a recent example.

“In my mind, sir, and in the minds of many of my colleagues and many, many Canadians,” said Mr. Batters during a Jan. 31 meeting of the Canadian Heritage committee, “the purpose of Telefilm is to help facilitate the making of films for mainstream Canadian society – films that Canadians can sit down and watch with their families in living rooms across this great country.”

Please, take your not-so-hidden “conservative values” and *ahem* do something offensive with them (other than continually fucking with Canadian values, dig?)

Update: more from we move to canada and Dan @ More Notes From Underground, who wonders if right wing defenders of latter-day free speech crusader (snerk)  Ezra Levant will also stand up for Young People Fucking?

Bueller? Bueller?

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Say No To Homophobia – Boycott Digg!

by matttbastard

Kevin Rose and the fine young gentlemen @ Digg appear to have a problem with Lesbian-authored websites.

Paula the Surf Mom:

Well friends and readers it did not take us here at Lesbiatopia long before we have reluctantly found ourselves entering the realm of controversy as it would seem that Lesbiatopia has been banned by the internet book marking service Diggs, for displaying Adult content. But it is our option that our banning has more to do with a homophobic and misogynistic group think element by a of a small number of Digg users that tends to only wish to promote their personal views on homosexuality, lesbians and women in general.

[Digg] likes to promote itself as a non-hierarchical community-based popularity website, that uses a form of democratic editorial control were news stories and websites that are submitted by Digg users. Digg users then promote these submissions to the front page through a user-based ranking system.

[…] 

Only last week [Digg] banned another Lesbian authored site that I am sure many of the readers here are familiar with called Just A Girl in Short Shorts, for exactly the same reason as it banned Lesbiatopia… but if one reads this authors page you can see the banning of this site was probably motivated more by the fact the author is a lesbian with a brain, who presents content that is targeted primarily to a lesbian readership and that talks frankly about lesbian issues.

[…]

Hmmm me thinks that possibly there may just be a double standard at [Digg] and I think it just might be time to let [Digg’s] advertisers know that if they are looking for a demographic that has a proven track record for spending their money on line they just might want to look at the Gay and Lesbian demographic and remember that we tend to support firms that support us.

Shiver me timbers, the dirty so-and-sos have even banned The Cap’n, who be mates with The Beav!

Now, to be fair to teh boyz @ Digg, some Lesbian content is a-ok.

*blinks*

Ahem.

*headdesk*

Moving on….

Paula has subsequently addressed an open letter to Digg:

Gentleman,

Recently you banned a site I author called Lesbiatopia for mature content, you also recently banned another lesbian authored site called Just a Girl in Short Shorts for the same reason, but a search of your site with the word ‘lesbian’ reveals that there is still plenty of prurient lesbian content present, much of which I can assure you would be considered by many of my lesbian readers as exploitive and insulting… for example the content and comments of this very popular string that I had no problem finding on your site titled Britney Spears has lesbian footage of Paris Hilton. This post is seems only the tip of the iceberg when it come to efforts by your users to humiliate and degrade lesbians and gay people in general.

So it sort of seems to me and several other lesbian and gay publishers I have contacted that your action against Lesbiatopia and other lesbian authored sites recently may well be a bit homophobic on your parts and that you seem to pander to a misogynistic and lesbiaphobic element who tend to frequent your site. We can only take this to mean that your only concern would be material this element considers ‘offensive’ as lesbian material posted by lesbians for other lesbians.

Therefore since you are a San Francisco based company and you have chosen to ignore any communications from me about this matter to date, I feel I have no choice but to contact the San Francisco Human Rights commission to see if they might be of some assistance in this matter and I will be asking my readers to do the same.

Thank You

Paula the Surf Mom

I echo Dave and Chet’s call to arms: let’s give Digg the heave-ho and bury it, in solidarity with Paula and the rest of our sapphic sisters.  This non-heterosexual male definitely tends to support companies that support members of the community–and vice versa.

h/t pale via IM.

x-posted @ Bread and Roses 

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