The “virtues” of censorship, pt. 3: searching for “safe libraries”

The porn industry is free to make porn films.  Theatres are free to run porn films.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is free to award porn films with an Oscar.  But do they?  Of course not.  And if they did, would anyone take it seriously anymore?  Of course not.  Would anyone allow their children to watch such “award winning” porn movies?  Of course not.
- SafeLibraries.org

A while back, one of my wife’s blog entries on Banned Books Week attracted the notice of Dan Kleinman, the driving force behind Safe Libraries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to (as far as I can tell) holding the American Library Association accountable for the moral corruption of America’s youth. In an interview Kleinman gave to Rory Litwin, he understates his mission a bit: “What I am really doing is reporting what [the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom is] actually doing and linking to the sources where people can see this for themselves.” In the course of the interview, Kleinman repeatedly assigns himself the role of humble “messenger,” doing nothing more than reporting the facts. Surprisingly, there is indeed quite a bit of factual information on the Safe Libraries Web site. The problem is that a great deal of it is presented in a context that is either misleading or misinterpreted. The upshot is that while Kleinman expends a great deal of energy trying to indict the ALA/OIF’s hypocrisy and inconsistency, he is really hotfooting around the likelihood that he opposes the Office of Intellectual Freedom for the pure and simple fact that he is not comfortable with intellectual freedom.

Kleinman might counter my assertion by asserting that the OIF is the agency that is actually opposed to intellectual freedom, citing multiple instances of the OIF selecting materials for library circulation that uphold its leftist political ideals. I would readily grant that, like many institutions, the leaders and policy-makers of both the ALA and OIF have been and will continue to be guilty of double-standards. I would also readily grant that it is entirely possible that many ALA librarians (if not a majority) have liberal ideologies. None of that is relevant to my thesis. As Andy Woodworth at Agnostic, Maybe articulated, book selection is a process fraught with potential dangers; it is a process that librarians therefore take very seriously. Even if it’s true that conservatives are targeted by members of the ALA, that has no influence on whether or not Kleinman is opposed to intellectual freedom. Just because one’s opponent is a dirty, rotten scumbag (and I certainly don’t concede that the ALA is peopled with dirty, rotten scumbags), acting like a dirty, rotten scumbag still makes one a dirty, rotten scumbag.

Back to the question: is Kleinman a metaphorical scumbag? That depends upon how valid his mission is. To evaluate the righteousness of his mission, we must first understand and evaluate the principles that underlie his mission.

Kleinman identifies himself on his Blogspot page as a “library watchdog,” presumably someone who devotes himself to “Educating people and politicians about who controls public libraries. Citizens should, not the American Library Association. If your local library is applying ALA policy instead of local law/policy, learn what can be done to reverse that.” As it happens, a public library is, by definition, controlled by the public, via its elected officials or those who are appointed by the elected officials. If there is a sizable chunk of the electorate that is unaware of this, it shouldn’t take long to educate them. Does the ALA “control” local libraries? Well, no. Most public libraries are members of the ALA, which is a choice — not a mandate. On this principle, I find myself in agreement with Kleinman. Libraries should be under the control of localities and provide the kinds of service that local communities want. But what does all this have to do with the Office of Intellectual Freedom?

Alas, poor Kleinman tends to refer to the ALA quite a bit on the Safe Libraries Web site without making a distinction between the larger responsibilities and guidelines of the ALA and the specific mission of the OIF. I suppose it’s an easy enough mistake to make. After all, the letters A, L, A, O, I, and F are all in the same place on a keyboard.

Or, wait. No, they’re not. Actually, that’s a pretty stupid mistake to make.

Well, regardless, I’m sure that when Kleinman said in the Litwin interview, “Setting aside the ALA’s OIF, the ALA is an outstanding organization,” he meant it. But it brings up a rather bizarre inconsistency in his fact-reporting in his self-described role as “messenger.” A messenger who repeatedly and consistently mistakes one organization (the ALA) for a subdivision of that larger organization (the OIF) is not a very good messenger, because one of the most fundamental “facts” being reported is not being reported accurately. If Kleinman’s main beef is with the OIF, it would make much more sense for him to refer to the OIF and its staff, rather than the ALA. Instead, SafeLibraries.org has pages with headlines like this:

Porn Pushers -
The ALA and Looking For Alaska -
One Example of How the ALA Pushes Porn On Children

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Kleinman’s fingers slipped on that abnormal keyboard of his, and while he meant to type “OIF,” he typed “ALA” instead. Unfortunately, this is likely not the case, because there is only one reference to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in the entire page (not counting the sidebar).  Kleinman typed (or copy-and-pasted) the acronym ALA more than 100 times because he meant to refer to the American Library Association. What this means is that when Kleinman says, “Setting aside the ALA’s OIF, the ALA is an outstanding organization,” he is being one of two things: 1.) ignorant of the content of his own Web site, or 2.) utterly disingenuous. A messenger who is either 1.) ignorant or 2.) disingenuous is not a very good messenger, because it means that the messenger is prone either to overlooking pertinent information or deliberately glossing over it.

The page with that provocative title functions as an instructive case study of Kleinman’s aptitude as a messenger. The page’s headline itself appears to be very forthright: it promises to establish how and why the ALA pushes porn on children, and it uses the book, Looking for Alaska, to make its case. As has proven to be the case so often with Kleinman, that title itself poses a huge problem. In order to establish that Looking for Alaska is pornographic, Kleinman first has to establish a working definition of what constitutes “porn.”

The first few sections of the page discuss a general trend in young adult literature toward weightier, more adult themes and content. Kleinman cites several artists and critics who assert that such themes and content are not appropriate for the younger side of the target audience age spectrum (12-18). Let us, for the sake of argument (and only for the sake of expediency), grant that there is much in YA lit that is not appropriate for middle school kids. We’re not going to bother hammering out a mutually-agreeable definition of what “appropriate” means. We’re not going to argue about which books fit the undefined criteria and which ones don’t. We’re just going to agree that there are certain things that are generally not appropriate for twelve, thirteen, and fourteen-year-olds. (I would argue, though, that once kids are legally able to carry/shoot hunting rifles shotguns, drive cars, watch R-rated movies, smoke, and kill/die for their country, it becomes ridiculous to quibble about whether or not little Johnny and Suzie should have access to Playboy magazines or books that depicts underage drinking.) The age-appropriateness of reading material, however, has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not it is “pornographic.” This is not a matter of semantics. It’s a matter of accepted grammatical usage. To wit, here are the dictionary definitions, paraphrased just a bit  :

inappropriate, adj.  Not appropriate; not proper or suitable; not fitting or seemly.

pornography, n. 1. obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little to no artistic merit; 2. writings, pictures, films, etc. designed to stimulate sexual excitement.

These two ideas cover similar conceptual territories, but those territories only overlap in certain, specific instances. In other words, they are not synonymous. Therefore, if a YA novel is not appropriate for younger teens, that does not automatically mean that it is pornography. Establishing that a great deal of YA literature is not actually appropriate for young adults does not support Kleinman’s thesis that the ALA pushes porn, because books inappropriate for teens are not necessarily intrinsically pornographic. Forgive my redundancy; I wanted to firmly entrench this point because it is crucial to understanding the scope of Kleinman’s erroneous reasoning.

Having spent several hundred words on age-inappropriateness in YA lit, Kleinman dives right into Looking for Alaska. He provides a detailed index of every conceivable potentially offensive word in the book, determining that, on average, there are “1.3 inappropriate words per page.” He also excerpts three scenes from the book that depict frank sexual content. After citing several sources verifying that, yes, the ALA has honored the book extensively, he returns to the discussion of the book’s actual content with the following headline:

The ALA Awards “Looking For Alaska” One of its Highest Honors, Ensuring 12 Year Olds Will Read Hard Core Pornography

Mind you, Kleinman, until this point, has not actually established whether or not Looking for Alaska constitutes “pornography” at all. The fact that the three excerpts on the Web page depict sexual content does not mean that book, as a whole, is pornographic, in the sense that it has “little to no artistic merit” or is “designed to stimulate sexual excitement.” In fact, Kleinman said of the book’s author, John Green, “ The author seems like a hard working guy with a loving, supportive family. He’s clearly quite talented.” The page also features a video of Green asserting in no uncertain terms that the book is not intended to be titillating. If Looking for Alaska leads Kleinman to regard Green as “clearly quite talented,” it’s reasonable to extrapolate that the book does have artistic merit. If Green avers that the book is intended to depict the negative emotional consequences of immature sexual activity, and is designed explicitly not to titillate, that’s compelling evidence that it is not designed to stimulate sexual excitement. In short, Looking for Alaska does not fit the dictionary definition of “pornography.” Yet the above headline not only calls the novel pornographic, it labels it “Hard Core.”

So doing, Kleinman doubles down on an assertion that is demonstrably false based on the evidence he himself has marshaled, as well as his own testimony. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not his keyboard that’s abnormal.

The quote at the top of my post is from this section of Kleinman’s Web page. The analogy is meant to suggest that genuine art does not feature what he would term depictions of “hard core pornography.” What Kleinman might have learned, had he done so much as a Wikipedia search for Academy Award nominees, is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has, in fact, honored many films that depict explicit sexual activity. The page was last updated in 2008, so maybe it would be unfair to throw Dogtooth into the ring, but how about the X-rated Last Tango in Paris? Both Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci were nominated for acting and directing, respectively. It is relatively common for R-rated films or films with heavy themes and sexual content to receive Oscars. Kleinman apparently meant his Oscar analogy to represent the case that “hard core pornography” doesn’t receive praise from any other arts organization besides the ALA. Instead, his analogy proved that his conception of “hard core pornography” is grievously out of step with the way any informed person thinks of artistic achievement. This is not simply a case of a messenger reporting the facts. This is a case of a man making an assertion that cannot be backed up with reason or evidence.

I’m going to hazard a guess about Kleinman: he has no idea how to read a book for thematic impact. He seems satisfied that the three excerpts he posted are proof enough that Looking for Alaska is pornographic. He is wrong. The three sections he excerpts constitute seven of the 216 pages in the book. That is three percent of the book’s total content. Kleinman completely ignores the arc of the story, the development of the main characters, the stylistic treatment of the themes and content, and the message that the book is trying to communicate. If it’s true that Green was trying to warn kids against the dangers of things like underage alcohol use and casual sex (and there’s no reason to believe he would lie about something so important), should that be factored into Kleinman’s evaluation of the book as a whole?

Kleinman says no.

Only, as Naomi Wolf points out, parents don’t know the book contains sexually inappropriate material they would never want their child to know. The child then reads the book, and, like children everywhere, immediately figures out which pages to dog-ear, then the child tries out the new sexual technique he just learned in the ALA award winning book the librarian recommended that parents were happy to have their children read, and now the child has acquired a sexually transmitted disease, perhaps a deadly one. Ask the ALA about this and they will argue the book needs to be considered as a whole, but we all know the children only remember and act on the sexually charged sections.

Note that Kleinman does not offer any sources for his assertion that children “only remember and act on the sexually charged sections.” This is an absurd claim. Even if it’s true that children dog-ear pages with racy content (and, by the way, that link does not work), in order to find the pages that must be dog-eared, the child still has to read the whole book. Kleinman doesn’t even bother to cite any sources to support his fretting over STD rates in younger kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the 10-14 age group, “17,000 males and females were reported to have a STD in 2006.” That is way too many, but it is not a majority. And that statistic does not reflect the circumstances leading up to the infection. How many were sexually assaulted? How many were infected by someone much older? What kind of sexual activity produced these results? More to the point, how many of these sexual encounters were directly inspired by young adult literature? This is not information provided by the CDC. It is therefore an inference, a guess, on Kleinman’s part that there is a causal link between explicit sexual passages in books and sexual activity among young readers. In fact, no conclusive causal or correlative data exists to support his assertion. When he says “we all know the children only” act on the explicit sections, he is telling a bald lie. Not everyone “knows” that. Not even most people “know” that. A majority might suspect it, but they cannot provide conclusive evidence to support their suspicion.

Kleinman also misconstrues Naomi Wolf’s point. Earlier in the page, he excerpts her Times article on YA lit, bolding the portions that he deems relevant to the case he is making. This is how a key section appears on the page:

And while the tacky sex scenes in them are annoying, they aren’t really the problem.  The problem is a value system in which meanness rules, parents check out, conformity is everything and stressed-out adult values are presumed to be meaningful to teenagers.  The books have a kitsch quality — they package corruption with a cute overlay.

Since Kleinman’s primary objection to Looking for Alaska is its sexual frankness, you would think that he would marshal support that specifically speaks to that. Yet when he cites a resource, he ignores the more material sentence: “ And while the tacky sex scenes in them are annoying, they aren’t really the problem.” Casually name-dropping Wolf in regard to sexually inappropriate (though not pornographic) material and how much parents don’t know about it does not bolster his case, because Wolf says in so many words that the sex itself is not the problem. Wolf’s primary objection to the sexually-charged narratives aimed at teens is their emphasis on upholding the patriarchal status quo and their fetishization of capitalist, materialist culture. It also doesn’t help Kleinman’s case that Wolf spends most of her article talking about books that are specifically marketed to a higher age bracket (16-18), and that she is either unfamiliar with Looking for Alaska or pointedly did not include it in her jeremiad. What she is practicing is a deep, theoretical reading of the texts to unearth the ideological and political assumptions that are communicated through the narrative. She highlights themes and their implications as exemplified by the overall arcs of the narratives. It is precisely this kind of reading that the ALA award committees likely practice when they determine which books deserve highest honors. When the ALA argues that the book needs to be considered as a whole, they really mean it.

What Kleinman ignores is the plain fact that all these things are what literate people (including many children) care about in a creative work. The people in the ALA who honor young adult literature with awards are concerned with both the craftsmanship of a book and with the perspective that book brings to the concepts covered within its pages. When the ALA endorsed Looking for Alaska, it wasn’t simply endorsing seven pages of explicit sexual activity; it was endorsing the message that those passages, in the context of the rest of the book, were used to convey. Kleinman provides absolutely no evidence that he understands the thematic arc of the book or even the reasons that librarians give for recommending it. For him, those seven pages and 281 cuss words are the book. When he cites quotes from librarians who are offering praise of Green’s narrative as a whole, Kleinman isn’t interested in trying to understand the perspective of those librarians. He files them under a headline that says, “You Can’t Judge a Book By a Librarian’s Review.

I have news for you, Kleinman. You can’t judge a 216-page book by seven pages, either.

Next we showed that the ALA choose this book as the top book of 2006 for “young adults.”  Its description of the book completely ignored the crude sexual content.  Twelve year olds are the target audience of this book, according to the ALA.

Kleinman does not provide any evidence that the ALA has specifically recommended Looking for Alaska to 12-year-olds. Kleiman gets the 12-year-old reference from a link to the ALA’s “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers,” which broadly defines YA lit as being books aimed at kids between the ages of 12 and 18. What that means is that books designed for readers 14 and up would fit into that range. The book may not have been marketed to 12 year olds, but it did fit the criteria for that list. The citations provided by Safe Libraries offer no evidence that the book was recommended to 12-year-olds, but I did see one — the School Library Review — that recommended it for grade 9 and up (which would be the 14 and up age group). ALA’s magazine, Booklist, did not review the book, because it has a policy of not reviewing anything by former employees. Booklist, like the OIF, is not comprised of the entirety of the ALA. An award or honor given by another branch of the organization (such as the Michael L. Printz Award) is not necessarily staffed by the same people (though there may be some overlap). That’s because the mission of each branch is different. Considering the purpose of the Printz Award is to recognize overall artistic achievement, it is not surprising that the description offered by the committee chair does not comment on the sexual content — the sexual content is only a fraction of the larger narrative. Looking for Alaska did, in fact, make it onto the 2006 Quick Pick list. Here is the description:

Green, John. Looking for Alaska. Dutton, 2005. 0-525-47506-0.   A year of firsts – drinks, pranks, love, lust, loss.

Remember when Kleinman asserted that “you can’t judge a book by a librarian’s review”? As if librarians are trying to push books on kids by telling them one thing, when the book is actually about something completely different and more salacious? I don’t know about Kleinman, but if the ALA told me that a book was about “drinks, pranks, love, lust, loss,” I would expect “a book about kids gone wild with porn, sex, drugs, alcohol, and death at a boarding school.” And if such a premise did not appeal to me, or I thought that it was not appropriate for my own child, then I would probably choose not to borrow it from the library. It seems to me that the ALA summarized the book’s content as accurately as possible without actually giving a detailed description of the kind of passages that Kleinman found to be so objectionable. If Kleinman was unable to locate this fairly transparent description, he must be a mildly incompetent researcher in addition to being a literary philistine who is cursed with an abnormal keyboard.

Or maybe Kleinman just needs to hire a new typist.

Based almost entirely upon the information provided by Kleinman himself, I’ve been led to the following conclusions: 1. Looking for Alaska is not pornography by any reasonable definition of the term; 2. the ALA consistently provided accurate descriptions of the novel’s themes; 3. the novel was not “pushed” on underage children, but recommended to teens based on the book’s artistic merits. With these conclusions in mind, I think it’s fair to say that the thesis contained in the Web page’s title — “How the ALA Pushes Porn on Children” — is misleading and based on faulty reasoning. The bigger question, though, is why Kleinman continues to hold the ALA responsible (for crimes it hasn’t committed) when the ultimate responsibility for a child’s moral instruction ultimately lies elsewhere: with his parents?

Kleinman addresses that. One of the more baffling sections on the “Porn Pushers” page is a set of e-mail exchanges he has had with people who reached out to him in a genuine attempt to lead him back to the path of sanity. The first e-mail is from a high school senior. In response to his query, Safe Libraries wrote:

Note that you read the book in high school. Well we have no problem with that.  Actually, we have no problem with anyone reading any book they want to read.  The problem arises where the book is placed into the hands of children much younger than you, in combination with the identity of the persons doing the pushing and the inappropriateness of the material.  We have no problem with parents giving children any book whatsoever.  Librarians, however, are a different story.  For that matter, anyone other than the parents is a different story.  12 years old are, for the most part, too young to be exposed to oral sex, porn movie descriptions, and pervasively vulgar language, especially where–and here’s the key–someone allows them access to the material, and even recommends or awards, that their own parents would not let them read.  Librarians are doing that.  Looking For Alaska is not a book most parents of 12 year olds would let their children read.  Yet librarians give it a fancy award they literally made up for the purpose of pushing such books and that ensures the book will get wide circulation, including wonderful posters in public libraries nationwide; and eager parents, trusting the ALA to be trustworthy, allow the children to read such a book–not knowing, of course, of its true contents, precisely because the librarians misled them about the contents.  Boy, that was a long sentence, maybe I should go back to highschool!  So librarians complain parents must be involved in a child’s book selections, but those same librarians mislead the parents about the full contents of the books — they set up the game so they win either way.

There is a lot to unpack in just this one paragraph. First of all, Kleinman falls back on his patently false and unsubstantiated assertion that the ALA specifically targeted 12-year-olds with its promotion of Looking for Alaska. It is true that part of the purpose of the ALA promoting certain books is to guide member libraries to do the same. The endgame of this promotion is, of course, to induce younger readers to read more, and to read books of higher literary quality. But Kleinman fabricates the idea that librarians are literally putting pornographic material into the hands of little children. As I’ve argued earlier, Looking for Alaska does not qualify as pornography, since its primary purpose is the opposite of cheap titillation. The Printz award is designed to recognize high artistic achievement, not to gloss over sexual content. Explicit sexual content, as evidenced by hundreds of canonical or near-canonical works throughout the human arts, can be used to advance a higher, more artistic agenda — even one with a sound moral. I’ve also argued (based on the evidence of the Quick Pick list) that the sexual content of the book is implicitly acknowledged by the ALA, and other library resources that review new books have not only made mention of the sexual content, but recommended it for an age range above the 12 year olds. The trajectory of all this evidence suggests entirely the opposite of what Kleinman asserts; rather than the ALA trying to subvert the moral development of 12 year old children, it seems that the ALA is trying to confirm traditional moral values in a higher age bracket.

For the sake of argument, though, let us momentarily assume that Kleinman is right. Let us posit that the ALA knowingly misleads parents and puts pornographic material into the hands of 12 year olds. Kleinman asserts that “12 years old are, for the most part, too young to be exposed to oral sex, porn movie descriptions, and pervasively vulgar language, especially where–and here’s the key–someone allows them access to the material, and even recommends or awards, that their own parents would not let them read.” This sentence is a great example of Kleinman’s faulty reasoning. He connects three unrelated premises: a.) that 12yo’s are too young to experience some content, and b.) that someone allows them access to this content, and c.) that parents are against exposing their children to this content. Let’s explore each of these premises in a little more depth to tease out their relevance to Kleinman’s indictment of the ALA.

Premise (a.): “12 years old are, for the most part, too young to be exposed to oral sex, porn movie descriptions, and pervasively vulgar language.” Kleinman does not offer any evidence to support this assertion, but, in my own experience, I would agree to the extent that many people with whom I have ever interacted would say that 12yo’s are, as a rule, too young to be exposed to oral sex, porn movie descriptions, and vulgar language. This does not establish the premise, however, as a universal moral principle. The fact that most adults would probably agree (for various reasons) is more of a social convention. In some places (but not all), this convention may even be codified by obscenity laws. And even in those places, not everyone would agree on what constitutes an “obscenity.” But this premise does not have anything to do with teenagers over the age of 12. It has nothing to do with the ALA, book awards, recommended reading lists, or the availability of such materials.

Premise (b.): “someone allows them access to the material, and even recommends or awards.” If someone recommends material that contains explicit sexual content, they are not necessarily implicitly endorsing the sexual content for its own sake. It is reasonable — in the context of literary standards — to presume that the material is recommended because of its overall literary achievement. Furthermore, in the United States, it is customary that parents, not public employees, are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children. It is not the responsibility of a public employee (in this case, a librarian) to make a judgment as to the intrinsic morality of a work. What the librarian can do is provide the information that other people and organizations, who have the training and expertise to evaluate literary achievement, have endorsed the book. The book may even align with what the librarian personally believes to be acceptable for a certain age range. But neither the ALA nor a local librarian presumes to supplant a parent as the master of a child’s moral instruction. The purpose of a library is to offer to its patrons the most diverse, highest quality selection of reading materials that the library can afford and maintain. If a parent disagrees with the moral stature of certain materials, that parent has the right — and the self-imposed responsibility — not to allow his child to read it. If a parent is not able to police what his child checks out of the library, then that parent must either borrow the materials himself or personally research the content of each book before passing it along. (Or both.) In this day and age, it is inconceivable that a parent could remain ignorant about the content of any given book, now that the Internet makes such information available so easily. Not only do most libraries now offer free Internet access, but if a concerned parent wanted to know if a book would be inappropriate for his child, the parent could explain to the local librarian what his personal standards of appropriateness are, then have the librarian offer the relevant information. In the end, the final authority — and responsibility — belongs to the parent, not the librarian, or any organization affiliated with the library.

Premise (c.): “that their own parents would not let them read.” Just because a parent would not allow his child to read a particular book does not mean that libraries should not make that book available to children of parents who would. If the parent does not want the child to read the book, it is up to the parent to make sure that the child doesn’t read it; it is not up to the librarian. Again, libraries are not in the business of the moral instruction of every child in America. They are in the business of providing an array of materials to parents from different backgrounds, priorities, and value systems. What one parent considers to be obscene may be what another parent considers to be a moral tonic. Premise (c.) only holds true if premise (a.) is true. Premise (a.) is not universally true, therefore premise (c.) is irrelevant to the equation.

Another important element of Kleinman’s overall crusade is the fact that he singles out libraries — and the ALA as emblematic of libraries — as those to be held accountable for the presence of “pornography” in the lives of children. Elsewhere on the page, Kleinman specifically exempts authors, publishers, booksellers, and (of course) parents. He says (in an amazing display of cognitive dissonance), “Actually, we have no problem with anyone reading any book they want to read.  The problem arises where the book is placed into the hands of children much younger than you, in combination with the identity of the persons doing the pushing and the inappropriateness of the material.” The identity of the persons doing the pushing has nothing to do with the inappropriateness of the material. Either the material is inappropriate or it is not. (Parents are the ones who determine what is appropriate, just in case that point was lost.) If the material is inappropriate, it should not be pushed. Yet Kleinman says that anyone should be able to read anything he/she wants. Obviously, Kleinman has major problems with intellectual consistency. He appears to be trying to leave some leeway for himself to wriggle out of sounding like a moral authoritarian who’s trying to tell everyone else what is morally acceptable, but in doing so, he undermines whatever authority his argument has mustered. But the fact that Kleinman considers the identities of the pushers to be significant merits a little debunking in its own right.

If a child goes to Barnes & Noble, sees a display promoting Looking for Alaska, and takes a copy off the shelf to peruse, to what extent is the bookseller culpable for “pushing pornography” on the child? How is it possible that a pornographer (which the author, by definition, would be, if the author authored a piece of pornography) is not culpable for putting porn in the marketplace? The library would have no pornography to push if pornographers didn’t make it. And why does Kleinman so steadfastly refuse to indict the values of parents who might deem a book like Looking for Alaska to be acceptable for teenagers — or even 12yo’s?

As to authors? They can and should write whatever they like without any limitation at all.

Publishers and reviewers can do a better job in providing such information, true, but their job is to sell books, and they are selling books, and salesmen generally don’t announce the warts, so I see no problem with salesman selling books.

The problem is the OIF. It advises, correctly, that parents are responsible for book selection. At the same time, it makes recommendations for parents that do not provide accurate information. So when those parents actually do get involved, and when they trust the ALA for a list of reading material, they end up being misled, and, for example, their 12 year old ends up reading a graphic description of oral sex.

To recap, let’s do a checklist:

Should authors write whatever they want, even if it is hard core pornography for children? “They can and should write whatever they like without any limitation at all.”

Should publishers and critics be held accountable for providing false information about the content of a book? “Publishers and reviewers can do a better job in providing such information, true, but their job is to sell books, and they are selling books, and salesmen generally don’t announce the warts, so I see no problem with salesman selling books.”

Even if that book is being marketed to children? “[T]heir job is to sell books, and they are selling books.”

Aren’t parents ultimately responsible for what their children read? “[The Office of Intellectual Freedom] advises, correctly, that parents are responsible for book selection.”

So, what, exactly, is your problem with the OIF? “[I]t makes recommendations for parents that do not provide accurate information.”

You’re saying that ALA member librarians deliberately lie to parents about the contents of books? “[L]ibrarians complain parents must be involved in a child’s book selections, but those same librarians mislead the parents about the full contents of the books — they set up the game so they win either way.”

But why would librarians do this? What possible motivation could they have to put “pornography,” as you call it, in the hands of little children? “I simply do not know why the OIF wants children to access inappropriate material.”

We’ve come full circle. Oh, and did I mention that Kleinman said the following about Looking for Alaska on the Safe Libraries site?

“I agree with you that book is not porn, that it is well written, and the scenes are as you describe.  I do not know or never noticed if is was against physical intimacy.”

He never noticed what author John Green asserted was one of the main themes of the book. More importantly, Dan Kleinman admits that the book that is his lynchpin in the case against the ALA as “porn pushes” is, in his words, “not porn.”

The pop you just heard from halfway around the globe was my head exploding.

Self-portrait.

Trying to untangle Kleinman’s crusade is, as you can gather, a rather maddening task. As I wrote this blog post, I was constantly asking myself what his ultimate goal is. Is he really striving simply to be what he claims, a “messenger”? It’s entirely possible. I’m sure that he believes that this is all he is trying to do. As he explains in another letter on the “Porn Pushers” page:

I am perfectly within my rights to tell people the ALA is not providing notice of x-rated content in children’s books.  The people can then decide on their own what to do.  As it stands now, the ALA misleads them, and they do not have freedom of choice.  That is taken from them by the ALA.

If I take Kleinman at his word, then he really is doing no more or less than trying to provide as much information to the public as possible. In that case, what we need to examine is his effectiveness in that role.

Look at the quote directly above. Consider the prejudiced assumptions made within it. Kleinman tells people that the ALA is not providing notice of X-rated content in children’s books. In the context of Looking for Alaska, he is not, in fact, talking about a “children’s book,” but a book specifically marketed to “young adults.” That is a fundamental difference. Kleinman also makes the assumption that the content of the book is “x-rated.” There is no consensus on this. The “X” rating originated from the film industry, and it was originally used to denote movies deemed inappropriate by the MPAA for anyone under the age of 17. Seventeen is several years from the age of 12. The X-rating was not just a suggestion. Anyone under the age of 17 literally could not purchase a ticket. As an analog to young adult fiction, it simply doesn’t work, because young adult fiction is designed for an audience that would have been refused admission to a film rated X. This analogy shows that Kleinman either fundamentally misunderstands the terms he is using to describe the book, or he is mistaking his own, personal value judgment of the book’s content with a judgment that would normally be made by experts within the industry. If the latter is true, it means that Kleinman believes that his own value judgment trumps that of the experts, the ALA/OIF. That is not a mere reporting of the facts; it is presenting an argumentative viewpoint. Kleinman further asserts that “the ALA misleads” parents. Again, this is demonstrably false. Every synopsis I’ve seen of the book, from both the ALA and other organizations, appears to be consonant with the overall story told in the book. The ALA has not mislead anyone. It even provided a description that referenced the sexual content. Kleinman hasn’t done his homework, and he is propagating outright lies about the role the ALA has played in promoting the book. As for whether or not the ALA has taken freedom of choice from parents… well, Kleinman simply seems to have a poor grasp of the English language. He certainly would benefit from going back to high school. Or grade school.

The phrase “freedom of choice” is fairly open ended, but I cannot think of a context relevant to this issue at all in which any parent has been denied that freedom. A parent has the freedom to choose whether or not his child reads a book. A parent has the freedom to choose whether or not to investigate the content of a book before/after his child reads it. A parent has the choice to question the ALA or follow its recommendation. A parent has the choice to read the book along with his child. A parent has the choice to decide whether or not the content of the book is appropriate for his child. A parent has the choice to decide whether or not the book is pornographic. Nobody forces the child to borrow the book; nobody forces the parent to allow his child to read the book; nobody forces either of them to read it; nobody forces a parent to keep silent about his opinion of the book. There is no conceivable way in which a parent has been denied any freedom of choice regarding Looking for Alaska or any other ALA-endorsed book. Kleinman is either so stupid that he literally does not understand the words that he is typing or he is being disingenuous.

Since it’s already clear from his own inability to reason that Kleinman is not very bright, let us explore the latter option, which returns us to the issue of whether or not he is comfortable with intellectual freedom.

As a just-the-facts-ma’am messenger, it is clear that Kleinman has failed in his endeavor. Besides misconstruing, misinterpreting, or ignoring relevant facts (all of which are deadly practices for anyone who claims to be an accurate reporter), Kleinman does not construct his reporting in an unprejudiced manner. The “Porn Pushers” page is clearly structured as an argument. He refers to “evidence,” all of which is presented in the form of an outline meant to lead readers to a single, inexorable conclusion. Since Kleinman is following the conventions of persuasive argumentation, drawing connections between disparate facts and assertions in order to convince the reader of something, it is undeniable that he is interested in enacting social change. What is most irksome to me is that Kleinman adamantly refuses to acknowledge any agenda beyond being a so-called “messenger.” Despite the abundant evidence that he does have an agenda, he asserts that he has none. Since I don’t believe for a minute that anyone with such intent focus in his life’s work (discrediting the ALA and its OIF) could possibly be so moronic as not to have any larger agenda at all, let me speculate. I won’t pretend that I have any hard evidence to back my claims. I’m not going to play the part of empiricist. I am going to provide an armchair psychoanalysis of Kleinman that I believe is applicable to others like him.

Like me, Kleinman probably considers himself to be a conservative. Unlike me, however, Kleinman is not a democrat. I don’t necessarily mean a capital-D, political party-affiliated Democrat, but someone who believes that the best societal structure yet devised by the human race is that which places its future and guidance in the hands of the people. I consciously echo C. S. Lewis when I assert that a democrat believes in vigorous, open, honest debate. A democrat believes in considering all material viewpoints and adopting the best one, based on the available knowledge at a given time. Democracy is a slow, messy process that inevitably takes wrong turns and blunders along the way. It is my belief that comprehensive education and public libraries are integral institutions to any successful, functioning democracy. To the greatest extent possible, these institutions should be responsible for providing a wide array of knowledge to the citizenry so that the citizenry can be free to make informed choices. In order to protect against ideological monopolies or the tyranny of the majority, democracies safeguard the rights and viewpoints of those who are outside the majority or who stand in direct opposition to it. In practice, this means that libraries provide access to information and viewpoints that are anathema to most people; some of these materials may even advocate beliefs and ideas that are morally wrong or repugnant. It is the price we pay for living in a democracy. If rational debate and informed decision making cannot take us in the right direction, if dangerous ideas continue to persist, it is because one of our founding principles is that every individual has the right to make his voice heard. We have seen throughout human history societies in which the majority of citizens, while convinced of their moral superiority in their own time, have been convicted by their descendants of being moral monsters whose inexcusable actions have reverberated down through the ages. To the extent that secular democrats worship anything, they worship the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. The First Amendment is the bulwark against which the resolute, restless tides of ignorance and insecurity continue to batter. The ALA, in practice, does not always adhere to the spirit of free expression. In spirit, however, they are the champions of the most uncomfortable, most vital truth of a free democracy: we must be free to fail.

There is no such thing as a failsafe for failure. Countless societies have tried it. Almost all of them slid inevitably toward authoritarianism of various sorts, to the detriment of their cultures and with tragic humanitarian consequences. Rather than face the possibility of losing our human dignity with the loss of intellectual freedom, we value the right of dangerous, heinous, reprehensible ideas to sit alongside virtuous, progressive, moral ideas on our bookshelves and in our arenas of public debate. If bad ideas cannot be defeated by good ideas in the realm of rational discourse, then they cannot be defeated. Frankly, I don’t believe that bad/dangerous ideas will ever be completely eliminated. Which means that the imminent possibility of failure — of societal collapse, of authoritarian nightmare — is always with us. It is something every thinking citizen carries with him in his heart, and it is a responsibility each of us takes very seriously. Strictly speaking, I don’t know if I have faith in humanity to guide itself, without divine inspiration, to a better future. But democracy is the best option we have, and I am secure enough in my religious faith and my faith in the grand experiment of a democracy of the people to be all in.

When I read what Kleinman has to say, I do not see the writing of a man who is secure in his ideas. I see a man who is terrified that his ideas of what is right and good will not triumph. That, in a marketplace of ideas, his values are not strong enough to compete on the same playing field as others’. I see a man whose agenda is to circumvent the competition itself, who feels that the responsibility he should take upon himself as a parent is a responsibility better adjudicated to other authorities. He does not want his shelves to be a place of competition; he wants them to be a place of indoctrination — of his own viewpoint.

As is the case with many authoritarians with insecurity issues, he does not want to appear as a proponent of indoctrination and proscription. He wants to appear as a democrat. But he is not. His agenda is transparent, but he is not secure enough in his conviction to come right out and acknowledge his endgame. His agenda is to disseminate his perspective to a large enough extent that the ALA’s position will become destabilized; his endgame is to destroy the place of authority currently enjoyed by the ALA and the OIF. In its place, he would like to have a majority of likeminded people dictate what will and will not be tolerated in our nation’s schools and libraries. Likeminded viewpoints will be tolerated; opposing viewpoints will not be. Perhaps Kleinman is afraid to acknowledge this even to himself. His propensity for willful blindness is abundant throughout his Web site. In a sense, he is delusional, but instead of attempting to mount a principled, intellectually honest campaign against censorship as practiced by the ALA, he has elected to mount a counter-campaign that is as committed to stamping out intellectual competition as his opposition.

People like Kleinman are not to be pitied, despite their obvious intellectual handicaps. They are terrifying, but they should not be feared. I considered the possibility that by devoting so many words to someone like him, I am only granting legitimacy to his crusade by taking it seriously. Well, I do believe it should be taken seriously. Authoritarians won’t simply go away if you ignore them. If their ideas are not combated and defeated, these ideas will only proliferate in the absence of competition. It is important to demolish not only their spurious assertions, but to attack the root cause of their activism: an inherent distrust of the democratic system. Democracy in and of itself is not to be trusted; it demands active participation on the part of good, intelligent, humane individuals in order to succeed. Its work is never done, and it will always be in danger of failing. But circumventing it is not a viable option. If Kleinman were interested in participating in democracy, he would be authoring books that adhered to the aesthetic principles he valued, or he would spend his time advocating books that did, rather than making ridiculous, hateful accusations such as the idea that librarians are “porn pushers.”

Are my assertions regarding his subterranean motives rational? No. Substantiated by evidence? No. Unlike Kleinman, I am going to make an upfront assertion about my agenda. I see what he does as a slap in the face to intellectual freedom. His argumentation, his twisting of “evidence,” his evasive self-righteousness, and his authoritarian attitude are all offensive to me. Do I want him to stop what he’s doing and direct his efforts toward something more fruitful? Yes, but not through coercive measures. Do I want to silence him? No. All I have done is attack his ideas in the hope of discrediting them. It is my hope that, at some point in the future, Kleinman comes to his senses and stops his foolish campaign against the ALA. There are a lot of things on SafeLibraries.org that are of legitimate value, and I have already conceded that censorship should be fought on every front, especially when it comes from its self-appointed guardians, such as those in the ALA. I don’t want to silence Kleinman; I want to change his mind about his crusade — or, failing that, to persuading others who are inclined to agree with him to agree with me instead. That way, instead of using his freedom of expression to slander and silence others, he will simply engage them openly and honestly. In other words, I hope to bring him to the table of democracy. Maybe I’ll even throw in a proper keyboard. ☕

About mjschneider

Reads. Writes. Watches movies. Occasionally stirs from chair. Holds an advanced degree in heuristic indolence. View all posts by mjschneider

52 responses to “The “virtues” of censorship, pt. 3: searching for “safe libraries”

  • jenbigheart

    Would it be inappropriate for me to hug this post? In a nut shell, this whole article is spot on. The post Mr. Kleinman wrote on your wife’s blog during BBW is one that I have gotten as well – verbatim. Troll worthy? To dismiss an idea such as BBW because of the general (mis)use of the term “banned” is childish in my opinion. It is all done in order to break the spirit surrounding the cause and divert attention away from what is being discussed – censorship. I have been patient with his posts and sometimes even respond, but have seen other young book lovers and bloggers become ruffled from his comments.

    Thank you for posting!

    Jen

  • Dan Kleinman

    Wow! That was long! I do not have time to respond now, but what little I saw was false or misleading. I’ll be baaack!

  • Dan Kleinman

    Jen, I am saddened by your comment, “The post Mr. Kleinman wrote on your wife’s blog during BBW is one that I have gotten as well – verbatim. Troll worthy?” You and I have been tweeting peacefully for some time now. The ALA makes the exact same false statements in hundreds of publications and there’s never a “troll worthy” comment made. If I post on a blog, the few I do, it is to have a conversation with that blogger, not to troll. I cannot talk to all bloggers by comment on the blog of only one. Further, my comments directly relate to the issue at hand. Really, I’m disappointed. It’s sad to see the free speech people so ready to turn off the free speech spigot if they don’t like what comes out.

    • mjschneider

      Nobody here has tried to “turn off the free speech spigot” on you, Mr. Kleinman. If you’re referring to Jen’s comment, then you just made a completely false accusation.

      Good to see that you’re starting off on the right foot.

    • Dan Kleinman

      @mjschneider, attack me all you want. It won’t changes the facts. And, before I respond in full, I suggest you review what you wrote about me and make it accurate.

    • mjschneider

      Mr. Kleinman, my post from 2:13 was not an attack. It was a statement of fact. Jen did not try to infringe upon your free speech. Therefore, you made a false accusation. It’s true that the facts didn’t change. You just don’t seem to have a firm grasp upon them.

    • Dan Kleinman

      @mjschneider, do you ever respond in a manner that does not include a personal attack, whether directly or by cuteness? Do you want me to respond here or would you rather I not, so your false statements will remain unchallenged? How about if you break the mold and simply try to have an honest discussion with me? I’m open to that. Okay?

    • technicolorlilypond

      Excuse me, Mr. Kleinman, I take issue with your sentence: “If I post on a blog, the few I do, it is to have a conversation with that blogger, not to troll.” Your actions do not support this claim in my limited experience. You posted one generic comment on my blog post that neither engaged anything I had written or proposed any topic of discussion. When I replied to your comment you chose not to discuss anything I, or any other poster, said on the subject of censorship or BBW in response to either my post or the subsequent posts I made on the subject. As far as I could tell your only purpose in posting was to advertise your website at the expense of my blog; since I don’t care to advertise your site I deleted your link after BBW ended.

      I want to make clear though that I am very glad you chose to comment on my blog, Mr. Kleinman. Thanks to you I had the pleasure of reading Rory Litwin’s excellent blog and your comment eventually led my husband to write this excellent piece which I hope helps people think critically about the importance of censorship, liberty and libraries.

    • Dan Kleinman

      “I deleted your link….” If that’s your choice to only provide your readers with a single point of view, that’s your problem, not mine. I don’t do that, unless it’s mostly ad hominem in nature. My Twitter feed, for example, tweets all points of views, not just those with which I agree, and I don’t make negative comments about certain RTs either.

      That said, I can see why you love each other.

    • technicolorlilypond

      ““I deleted your link….” If that’s your choice to only provide your readers with a single point of view, that’s your problem, not mine. I don’t do that, unless it’s mostly ad hominem in nature. My Twitter feed, for example, tweets all points of views, not just those with which I agree, and I don’t make negative comments about certain RTs either.

      That said, I can see why you love each other.”

      Mr. Kleinman, if I had wanted to eliminate your viewpoint I could have deleted your entire comment rather than just a single redundant link embedded within it. I do believe in diversity and discussion; if I didn’t I would never have attempted to engage you at all. People can still access your website through your comment on my page.

      I find it fascinating that you default to playing the victim of censorship rather than responding in any way to my point that you failed to engage anything I said on my blog; you simply made one post and never checked back. Why would someone who wants, “to have a conversation with that blogger, not to troll,” choose not to have a conversation?

    • mjschneider

      Mr. Kleinman, to my knowledge, I have not made any false statements. Anything I’ve said in my post that is speculative has been acknowledged as such.

      Specifically regarding your “free speech spigot” comment, nothing I’ve said remotely constitutes a personal attack. There is nothing in Jen’s post that alluded to her desire to see you silenced or stopped from speaking your mind. Besides the fact that she said nothing here indicating that she wishes the government (any level of government) to abrogate your free speech, she also made no request (or indicated any desire) for me, as blog owner, to delete or moderate your comments. In other words, your accusation about people wanting to turn off the free speech spigot was completely untethered from anything Jen said. Your accusation was false.

      If you want to attempt to defend yourself against any assertion I’ve made in my blog post, you’re free to do so. I welcome debate on my blog.

      If you want to have a discussion, let’s start with something simple. Answer me this: Do you think that the young adult novel, Looking for Alaska, is pornography? (This is a yes or no question.)

  • Dan Kleinman

    “To dismiss an idea such as BBW because of the general (mis)use of the term ‘banned’ is childish in my opinion.” Jen, that’s not the real problem. The problem is the plagiarism the ALA uses to promote the day. The flat out lying. The personally attacking each and every person who ever challenges a book. The faking of the annual top 10 list to promote a political point of view. The propagandistic use of “jamming” to frighten others from seeking legal redress from their government. The violation of their own code of ethics. The raw fear librarians have of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Fear, Jen. The injured librarians left to twist in the wind if the help they seek interferes with ALA policy or propaganda. The hiding of ALA statements that show it is perfectly legal to remove materials from public schools or porn from public libraries. And on and on and on.

    The amount of dishonesty used by the ALA’a OIF to promote BBW is truly staggering. If the ALA were not hiding something, it would not need to be so dishonest, always on the hair trigger to attack people who oppose their agenda, always ready to shut down the free speech of people they do not want others to hear.

    Jen, you are not seriously suggesting that the real problem is my talking to a few bloggers, are you?

  • jenbigheart

    *I have tried to address concerns in order below. I have no intention of going back and forth on this. Dan, your last sentence to me is #*%$ worthy.

    “You and I have been tweeting peacefully for some time now. The ALA makes the exact same false statements in hundreds of publications and there’s never a “troll worthy” comment made.” Yes, we have been tweeting peacefully. Are we still not peaceful? I should quanitify my “troll” statement. That was not said to you as a person, that was in regards to your blog comments on my posts. Let me explain. An internet troll is one that seeks out specific information online and says something in order to get a rise out of someone. I believe you did that. You say that you were trying to spark a conversation, but your approach was not conducive of that. The first time you ever posted on my blog was the same statement you wrote on mjschneider’s wifes blog. In fact, I saw it a few times that week – BBW. I read it on young bloggers walls that are most likely not ALA members and probably have no idea what OIF stands for. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t pleased about that comment. It jarred me. I thought to myself…why would a stranger come on my blog and write this? You see, I didn’t get a friendly vibe from you. Regardless, I thought about what you said and even rewrote a bit of that blog post to address the issue you have with a book not being banned for several hundred years. @technicolorlilypond is right, I didn’t think your comment was engaging and I felt you only wanted to promote your site.

    “It’s sad to see the free speech people so ready to turn off the free speech spigot if they don’t like what comes out.” Dan, this statement is absolutely, 100% false if you are referring to me. IF it were true, I would have deleted your comments from my blog. I have never done so and as far as I know, your comments remain here on mjsnieder’s blog. I have never asked you to stop talking to me, stop commenting, stop tweeting, stop…anything. You are absolutely free to think and say what you like as I and mjsnieder do. I keep my opinions on my blog and other accounts I hold. I do not seek others out who oppose my views and leave comments in order to have a debate/conversation/discussion. That’s just not me.

    “To dismiss an idea such as BBW because of the general (mis)use of the term ‘banned’ is childish in my opinion.” “Jen, that’s not the real problem. The problem is the plagiarism the ALA uses to promote the day” I am going to say this nicely – take it up with ALA! I feel like you are barking up the wrong tree here. I have nothing else to say on that matter and there is no need to tell me what the “real” problem is here.

    “The raw fear librarians have of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Fear, Jen. The injured librarians left to twist in the wind if the help they seek interferes with ALA policy or propaganda.” You lost me…I have no fear of the OIF. I can only speak for myself, but this statement is colorful.

  • Great Banned Books Links & other fun stuff « technicolorlilypond

    [...] Like to Find Bleep which I discovered thanks to I Read Banned Books which I discovered thanks to Catecinem. [...]

    • mjschneider

      Did shit just get “real,” or “surreal”? Considering the nature of Mr. Kleinman’s crusade (and his apparent inability to respond to a simple yes-or-no question within the span of a week), I’m leaning more toward the latter.

      Yarg.

    • mjschneider

      Or is it “yarp”? How sad is it that I’m misquoting a single, four-letter word?

    • Dan Kleinman

      mjschneider, you simply keep repeating the words you put in my mouth. Words I said you take out of context. You repeat them too. You keep this up relentlessly. You obviously have not read what I have said completely through, or you fail to understand it, or you intentionally misrepresent it to promote your own interests.

      Meantime, in the real world, people like the Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom are changing their view of things, in part due to some of the very things you claim I make up. For example: “ALA Admits Library Filters Work; Barbara Jones Bursts Her Own Breast Cancer Bubble” http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2012/02/ala-admits-library-filters-work-barbara.html

      No need to answer, but I wonder to myself if you’ll ever get tired of faking things, sticking only to them, taking other things out of context, and ignoring real issues. I am not the real issue. That is happening in communities nationwide as a result of ALA OIF policy is the issue.

    • mjschneider

      Dan, please specify what you think I’ve taken out of context and how I have done so.

  • jubilare

    Hilarious and disturbing comment exchange. Bravo.

    I am a librarian and a writer, and my point of view is summed up by this statement: “If Kleinman were interested in participating in democracy, he would be authoring books that adhered to the aesthetic principles he valued, or he would spend his time advocating books that did, rather than making ridiculous, hateful accusations such as the idea that librarians are “porn pushers.””

    Truly concerned citizens will have a positive and more lasting effect by promoting book choices they support rather than attacking ones they fear. The more stink made about a book with “questionable content” the more people will hear about the book and read it. Common sense, folks.

    Attacking free speech and freedom of conscience is like releasing a beast… a beast that will eventually turn on those who let it loose and then will maul any standing near them, innocent or not. If I want to retain my right to speak my mind and read my bible, I had better defend the free speech and freedom of conscience of others.

    • mjschneider

      Hear, hear. I’m glad you liked the post and found the exchange to be both hilarious and disturbing.

      If I could make a semi-facetious addendum, my basic attitude is that I’d rather my local library stock porn than stop stocking Bibles.

      Hopefully that false dichotomy makes rhetorical sense.

  • jubilare

    With my dyslexia it took a second read-through, but once I sorted out that “stop” was preceded by “than” not “and,” I got it. It does make rhetorical sense, and I agree.

    Dyslexia and librarianship, it turns out, are not mutually exclusive. :)

  • Dan Kleinman

    “[R]ather than making ridiculous, hateful accusations such as the idea that librarians are ‘porn pushers.’” First off, librarians are not the porn pushers. I am very clear that I am talking about the Office for Intellectual Freedom and its acolytes.

    Second, what with what is happening in Seattle right now in the news, it is clear that OIF policy as implemented in the Seattle Public Library results in porn pushing. I mean this was a headline on the Drudge Report yesterday: “Seattle Librarian Lets Man Watch Porn in View of Children…”

    When the US Supreme Court says a library is a quasi public forum and porn can be restricted, and the library/ALA says a library is an open public forum where anything goes, and where the anything is porn termed “information,” tell me what part of defying the US Supreme Court is not pushing porn?

    And it is not “hateful” for me to point out that the library/ALA is defying US v. ALA. Was it “hateful” for that 10 year old girl who saw raw anal sex to complain about how horribly she felt for days after witnessing what the library allows despite the law? She’ll be affected by this for life. Is it “hateful” of me to make that observation and the observation that it likely would not have happened but for the library’s defiance of the law?

    How about all the victims of the porn industry, the actors and actresses whose lives are ruined forever, if they do not kill themselves. http://thepinkcross.org/ How about how they are raped and otherwise criminally treated during the filming of the porn seen on the library computer. Do you care one whit about those victims?

    Child victims, who cares, right? Porn victims, they deserve it, right? But I report on what is happened, I’m the messenger, and suddenly I’m the “ridiculous, hateful” one.

    Go right ahead and mock me. A few of you do. Most, however, support me and support the law and want to see an end to the porn in public libraries.

    Porn is not the issue. The issue is the defiance of US v. ALA and the damage that defiance causes.

    • mjschneider

      Hello, Dan. I see that after having beat a tactical retreat for more than three months, you still haven’t bothered to answer the question I put directly to you about Looking for Alaska. Is it or is it not pornography? I’ll consider addressing your other assertions if you can manage to answer this one, very simple question.

      Or do you need another three months to ponder it further? I mean, take your time, man. I’m not going anywhere.

    • Dan Kleinman

      “Looking For Alaska is NOT Porn”: http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/02/looking-for-alaska-is-not-porn.html

      By coincidence, this weekend both John Green and I were on an NPR station discussing LFA: “Working In a Dying Industry,” by Emma-Jean Weinstein, You Are Here – Tales of Employment, National Public Radio NPR (Boston, MA: WERS 88.9 FM, 5 February 2012): http://word.emerson.edu/wersnews/files/2012/02/Dying-Industry.mp3

    • jubilare

      This is what is hateful:

      1. You use scatter-shot techniques to lay blame, attacking the most visible instead of those responsible. For instance, every library is solely responsible for its own policies, not ALA.

      2. You skirt away from questions asked and issues put forward, distracting with other arguments in order to avoid supporting anything you say (or in order to cover your own logical fallacies). In short, you are manipulative.

      3. You are manipulative (it needed saying again as you are at least twice as manipulative as anything else).

      4. You give people with strong morals and a will to change our world for the better a bad name by masquerading as one of them. You hurt the cause of everyone who is fighting against pornography, prostitution, and human degradation.

      5. You stir up fear and rage by means of miss-representations, lies, and emotional-charged language. You turn back on your own arguments, as above, screaming about porn and then declaring that “porn is not the issue.”

      6. You set up a straw-man to attack. If it was not ALA, you would find something else big and just-left-leaning-enough to take cheap shots at.

      7. You are so viciously defensive that it is startlingly clear that you are defending an empty center, with nothing but vitriol and poison sloshing around inside. …this is hateful, but also incredibly sad.

      I am not trying to attack you. I am attacking your behavior, for it needs attacking. I do not expect you to “hear” a word I have said. There are none so blind as will not see nor deaf as will not hear. I expect any reply you make, should you make one, will be as appalling as your last, as little to the point, and as vitriolic. That is what I fully expect, though I hope, as ever, to be pleasantly surprised.

    • Dan Kleinman

      “For instance, every library is solely responsible for its own policies, not ALA” Bull. If so they would have policies all over the place. Rather, those under ALA sway have policies somehow substantially similar to ALA policy, and many expressly state that they follow ALA policy.

      “In short, you are manipulative.” That’s shooting the messenger and avoiding the issues, let alone untrue. The ALA manipulates so much it even admits it’s manipulative, like the OIF leader admitting the breast cancer excuse is outdated, but someone pointing that out is the problem–the messenger is the problem.

      “You are manipulative (it needed saying again….” Keep shooting the messenger. It telegraphs that you have no legitimate argument for why the ALA and its acolytes should help local libraries circumvent US v. ALA, etc.

      Whoa, I just noticed the rest of your comment just piles on the personal attack higher and deeper. And still you avoid the real issues. Thank you for tacitly admitting to my substantive arguments.

    • mjschneider

      You really changed your tune on Looking for Alaska, Dan. Remember back in the day when you flat-out asserted that it *was* porn? Good times, good times. Now that you’ve changed your mind about it being porn, I’m guessing that you’ll be open to completely rethinking your entire line of “The ALA pushes porn on children,” eh?

    • Dan Kleinman

      “You really changed your tune on Looking for Alaska, Dan. Remember back in the day when you flat-out asserted that it *was* porn? Good times, good times.”

      I never said LFA was porn. Prove to me where I said that.

    • mjschneider

      On your web page that makes the case that the ALA “pushes porn,” Dan, you used the following headline:

      “The ALA Awards “Looking For Alaska” One of its Highest Honors, Ensuring 12 Year Olds Will Read Hard Core Pornography”

      In other words, you said, in so many words, that Looking for Alaska qualifies as hardcore porn. You later backpedaled. My larger point in deconstructing your entire argument, bit by bit, and asking you to clarify whether you thought the book qualified as porn, was to illustrate that you are really, really terrible at making a consistent argument based upon facts. Need I remind you that, on a page with this headline –

      “Porn Pushers -
      The ALA and Looking For Alaska -
      One Example of How the ALA Pushes Porn On Children”

      – you used Looking for Alaska as the titular “one example.” Your entire argument hinged on establishing that this book was porn, and that the ALA pushed it upon children. The fact that you now assert that it is NOT porn means one of three things.

      1. You have changed your mind about Looking for Alaska being porn.
      1a. Because you now realize that the sexually explicit passages you cited are not technically pornographic, which means that you are rethinking your entire opposition to ALA policies and recommendations because your new, enlightened conclusions are inconsistent with your earlier message.
      1.b. Because you now realize that it was a terrible example and you’ve been caught making a very stupid argument, and now have to come up with a better set of evidence and line of reasoning.

      2. You honestly don’t remember asserting that Looking for Alaska is hardcore porn, which means that you have a pathetic grasp of your own arguments in the first place.

      3. You’re a deceitful liar who knows that he called Looking for Alaska hardcore pornography, and was hoping that by challenging me on it, I’d simply back down, as if I’d forget carefully citing the relevant portions of your website in my original post.

      Based on my interactions with you, I’m inclined to favor the second option. You don’t strike me as the kind of person who changes his mind in light of sound reasoning, nor do you seem to have rethought your entire conception of the ALA as a hive of porn pushers bent on traumatizing children. You don’t strike me as a craven liar, either, because your reasoning is usually so specious, even on relatively minor topics, that you don’t need to lie in order to obfuscate the truth.

      In other words, you’re a really terrible messenger on a wrongheaded crusade, which is what I set out to demonstrate in my initial post. Which I’m still not convinced you read in its entirety, otherwise you would have seen the block quotes where I cite you calling Looking for Alaska “hard core porn.” They’re your headlines, not mine.

    • Dan Kleinman

      “In other words, you said, in so many words, that Looking for Alaska qualifies as hardcore porn.” No, I did not say that. Actually, I said it is not porn. “In so many words” is clever but you cannot put words in my mouth, especially where they are the opposite of what I said. The title is just a title. Heck, journalists don’t even write their own titles sometimes, Don’t judge a book by the cover. I am thankful you have demonstrated so clearly your superficial knowledge of your basis for your attack that is so singular in it viciousness and longwindedness. I think it is clear that I likely need not comment here further, as you make up your own facts, put words in my mouth, then denounce me in spectacular fashion for the words you put in my mouth. Clever, really. I’ve enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • mjschneider

      #No, I did not say that. Actually, I said it is not porn.#

      You said it was not porn *and* you said that it was hardcore porn. You can’t have it both ways.

      #“In so many words” is clever but you cannot put words in my mouth, especially where they are the opposite of what I said.#

      I didn’t put words in your mouth; I quoted the words from your very own Web site. If your words happen to contradict each other, that is your fault, not mine.

      #The title is just a title.#

      That’s true. And your title calls Looking for Alaska “hard core porn.”

      #Heck, journalists don’t even write their own titles sometimes,#

      That’s true. But you’re not a journalist, and you wrote the titles for your own articles.

      #Don’t judge a book by the cover.#

      I’m not judging a book; I’m judging a messenger by the quality and content of his message.

      #I am thankful you have demonstrated so clearly your superficial knowledge of your basis for your attack that is so singular in it viciousness and longwindedness.#

      Says the guy who devoted an entire Web page to demonstrating that the ALA pushes porn on children, only to say later that the one book he uses to support his case actually is not porn.

      #I think it is clear that I likely need not comment here further, as you make up your own facts, put words in my mouth, then denounce me in spectacular fashion for the words you put in my mouth.#

      I didn’t make up any facts and I didn’t put any words on your mouth. I cited established facts and quoted your own words right back to you. Trust me, you fully earned the spectacular denunciations all on your lonesome.

      #Clever, really.#

      I know.

      #I’ve enjoyed it.#

      I doubt it.

      #Thank you.#

      Any time.

  • jubilare

    And so my expectations are met in your hypocrisy. I leave you to the One who knows you better. I cannot help you, but perhaps He will.

    • mjschneider

      #4. You give people with strong morals and a will to change our world for the better a bad name by masquerading as one of them. You hurt the cause of everyone who is fighting against pornography, prostitution, and human degradation.

      5. You stir up fear and rage by means of miss-representations, lies, and emotional-charged language. You turn back on your own arguments, as above, screaming about porn and then declaring that “porn is not the issue.”#

      You’re my new hero, jubilare. Thank you for posting. Also, thank you for posting. (In case you missed it the first time.)

  • mjschneider

    I couldn’t help myself. I responded to your assertions anyway, Dan. Because I’m a heckuva guy.

    #First off, librarians are not the porn pushers. I am very clear that I am talking about the Office for Intellectual Freedom and its acolytes.#

    No, Dan, you haven’t been clear that you’re talking about the OIF and its acolytes. As I pointed out in my blog post — which cited your website — you use the terms ALA, OIF, and librarians almost interchangeably. I suppose most librarians probably are ALA members, but they aren’t forced to be, and even if they are, the way you inconsistently make the distinction makes your opening distinction pure sophistry.

    #Second, what with what is happening in Seattle right now in the news, it is clear that OIF policy as implemented in the Seattle Public Library results in porn pushing. I mean this was a headline on the Drudge Report yesterday: “Seattle Librarian Lets Man Watch Porn in View of Children…”#

    No, Dan, what’s happening in Seattle is not porn pushing, and it’s not clear that it’s a direct result of OIF policy. I read the articles. (Here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/249516/seattle_library_lets_man_watch_porn_in_view_of_children.html#tk.hp_new and here: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Seattle-library-lets-man-watch-porn-despite-2873692.php.) The quote in both articles is that “the library doesn’t censor content,” which would indicate that it’s library policy, as opposed to OIF policy. Couple this with the fact that not every public library is forced to adopt OIF policy, and it’s utterly illogical to say that what happened at that library is the fault of the OIF. Then there’s the fact that the porn was not being “pushed.” It was observed. I’m not arguing that it wasn’t tasteless and wrong of the man to ignore the pleas of a parent like that. But the porn wasn’t pushed on them, and it certainly wasn’t because of anything the OIF or its acolytes have done.

    #When the US Supreme Court says a library is a quasi public forum and porn can be restricted, and the library/ALA says a library is an open public forum where anything goes, and where the anything is porn termed “information,” tell me what part of defying the US Supreme Court is not pushing porn?#

    Nobody has defied the Supreme Court, Dan. What SCOTUS said was that libraries are permitted, as a matter of law, to filter Internet content. Being permitted to do something, but choosing not to it, is not the same thing as being told not to do it, then doing it anyway. Also, it wasn’t the library/ALA that made the argument that anything goes. (By the by, did you notice that you use the term “library/ALA” as opposed to “OIF?”) It was the ACLU, which is not a branch of the ALA or OIF.

    #And it is not “hateful” for me to point out that the library/ALA is defying US v. ALA. Was it “hateful” for that 10 year old girl who saw raw anal sex to complain about how horribly she felt for days after witnessing what the library allows despite the law? She’ll be affected by this for life. Is it “hateful” of me to make that observation and the observation that it likely would not have happened but for the library’s defiance of the law?#

    Again, the library/ALA (again, as opposed to the OIF?) is not defying anything. It is following library policy, which is apparently in compliance with both state and federal law. Also, unless you are reading completely different articles than the ones I found linked from the Drudge report, you are completely fabricating facts. Neither article I read mentioned that the girl was ten years old, nor did either of them specify that she “saw raw anal sex.” Nor did either article mention that she felt horribly for days. In fact, given that these events only happened on 2/8, it can only have been two days at the most. Furthermore, you assert that she’ll be affected by this for life. That’s possible. But not a certain truth. And even if she is affected for life, does that mean it’s a traumatic event or a violation? Perhaps; perhaps not. It depends on the individual. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the practical effect of what you say is hateful. You’re directing an awful lot of vitriol at an organization on the basis of a very meager grasp of facts or reason.

    #How about all the victims of the porn industry, the actors and actresses whose lives are ruined forever, if they do not kill themselves.[...] How about how they are raped and otherwise criminally treated during the filming of the porn seen on the library computer. Do you care one whit about those victims?#

    I thought we were talking about library policy and censorship, not the sociological problems associated with professional pornographers. But I’ll bite. I don’t deny that there are some in the porn industry who have major problems, and that some of those problems are directly related to their career choice. However, the vast majority of people involved in pornography are not raped or criminally treated. Nor do you have any idea what kind of porn was on that library computer. The likelihood that the people involved in that specific pornography on that specific computer at that specific time were part of the small minority of genuine victims you’re talking about is incredibly small. So statistically improbable as to be a foolish and tangential concern.

    #Child victims, who cares, right? Porn victims, they deserve it, right? But I report on what is happened, I’m the messenger, and suddenly I’m the “ridiculous, hateful” one.#

    You appear to be ridiculous and hateful, but not because I (or anyone who agrees with me) don’t care about victims of genuine crimes; it’s mostly because you’re just not a very good messenger.

    #Go right ahead and mock me. A few of you do. Most, however, support me and support the law and want to see an end to the porn in public libraries.#

    Believe it or not — and I said this before — I don’t want to mock you purely for the sake of mocking you. What I would much prefer is that you abandon your misguided crusade and focus on more positive, proactive, and fruitful endeavors. And while I’m sure that most people don’t want to *see* porn in public libraries, per se (I know I would not want to see it), I don’t know that most people want to restrict access to constitutionally protected materials (which you do).

    #Porn is not the issue. The issue is the defiance of US v. ALA and the damage that defiance causes.#

    And once again, Dan, if the issue is “defiance of US v. ALA and the damage that defiance causes,” your entire argument is built on quicksand, since the ALA has not defied any law, and there is no evidence that any significant “damage” as resulted from it.

    • Dan Kleinman

      “Nobody has defied the Supreme Court, Dan. What SCOTUS said was that libraries are permitted, as a matter of law, to filter Internet content. Being permitted to do something, but choosing not to it, is not the same thing as being told not to do it, then doing it anyway.”

      Here’s a prime example where you are playing games. You mix truth with myth. The truth is your last sentence. The myth is the issue is NOT that the library is saying SCOTUS says X and it advises its community that it chooses to do Y instead. Rather, the facts are that the library is saying Y because it argues things already asked and answered in the negative by SCOTUS and does not advise the community of what SCOTUS says.

      For example, SCOTUS says privacy screens are not so effective as are filters, and indeed may achieve the opposite of the claimed goal for using them. Yet the ALA (OIF is part of the ALA, right?) and local acolytes advise the opposite, that filters do not work as claimed and that privacy screens are more effective.

      As to the facts of the case differing for both of us, I’ll admit both of us know only what the media report, and there is so much coverage on this particular incident that we likely have seen different reports. That said, there being so much reporting on this one incident is telling in and of itself, is it not?

      As to the quicksand, it is the ALA itself that advises libraries how to skirt the law, then advises in true CYA fashion that it could be wrong and libraries should contact their own legal council. And what a coincidence, the ALA runs “Lawyers for Libraries” to train lawyers on library issues and it repeatedly and illegally blocked me from attending that training. The free speech, free access people. Talk about quicksand, huh?

    • mjschneider

      #Here’s a prime example where you are playing games. You mix truth with myth. The truth is your last sentence. The myth is the issue is NOT that the library is saying SCOTUS says X and it advises its community that it chooses to do Y instead. Rather, the facts are that the library is saying Y because it argues things already asked and answered in the negative by SCOTUS and does not advise the community of what SCOTUS says.

      For example, SCOTUS says privacy screens are not so effective as are filters, and indeed may achieve the opposite of the claimed goal for using them. Yet the ALA (OIF is part of the ALA, right?) and local acolytes advise the opposite, that filters do not work as claimed and that privacy screens are more effective.#

      I haven’t played games, Dan; I stated the facts. You said, in so many words, that the library (which you conflated with the ALA, which is another mistake that seems to be congenital to your worldview) defied the court, i.e. it broke the law. That’s a lie; the library did not break the law. You’re trying to make it seem like the ALA (or is it the local library? or the OIF? Please make up your mind.) is playing fast and loose with the laws of the land, when in fact the opposite is true. The point of the SCOTUS decision is that local libraries can make their own decisions about what kind of censorship and privacy policies to enforce. This library abided by its own policies, which is in full accordance with the law.

      #As to the facts of the case differing for both of us, I’ll admit both of us know only what the media report, and there is so much coverage on this particular incident that we likely have seen different reports. That said, there being so much reporting on this one incident is telling in and of itself, is it not?#

      No. There isn’t really a disproportionate amount of media coverage of this particular story. It’s a news story. It’s been covered. The media has apparently moved on. The only reason we are still discussing it is because you seem to think it’s a particularly meaningful piece of evidence in favor of your anti-ALA crusade. It’s not.

      #As to the quicksand, it is the ALA itself that advises libraries how to skirt the law, then advises in true CYA fashion that it could be wrong and libraries should contact their own legal council. And what a coincidence, the ALA runs “Lawyers for Libraries” to train lawyers on library issues and it repeatedly and illegally blocked me from attending that training. The free speech, free access people. Talk about quicksand, huh?#

      Again, Dan, the ALA doesn’t advise libraries how to “skirt” the law. Not in this particular case in Seattle nor in any other. There are often legal challenges on which the ALA may take an active position, and some of them have to do with legislation or lawsuits that touch on First Amendment issues. You haven’t been illegally blocked from anything, and even if you had been, it wouldn’t affect the substance of your argument that the ALA pushes porn on children. Whether they keep you out of legal seminars that are supposed to be for lawyers interested in helping the ALA and libraries with legal issues (which you clearly are not interested in doing) has absolutely nothing to do with whether they are porn pushers.

  • technicolorlilypond

    Jubilare, I want to hug you for your wonderful posts in this thread. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts.

    • jubilare

      I love hugs!
      I am glad that you and Sir mjschneider of the Avenging Keyboard are here to remind me that humanity contains people who are still able to listen and see. Thank you for being such people.

  • technicolorlilypond

    Anytime, Jubilare. I’m glad that there are people like you too.

  • jubilare

    Dan, if you learn to put together a coherent, logical argument and learn that you can make your case much better if you Debate rather than try to Proselytize, you might avoid situations like this in the future. Debating requires that you LISTEN as well as talk, and that you avoid logical fallacies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies (pay special attention to the section on Red Herring fallacies).

    You are not being slammed on this thread because of what you believe. In fact, nothing we have said in the comments section has really been about your beliefs, but rather about your tactics.

    If you are a victim here, you are your own victim.

  • Jerry Thompson

    Reading this thread reminds me of “Computer-side chats” Dan inflicted upon our community media over a book banning he supported. After the 352nd “ad hominem”, you start to look up psych help-lines in his area. Then again, we must remember we aren’t his therapist and certainly are not substitutes for proper meds. We are not responsible for Dan’s “reality” where he is the victim and the ALA is a coven and porn assaults from all directions. I’ll just offer this before imploring you to stop wasting time & oxygen trying to be rational in the face of his pathology…
    “The role of Victim (poor me) is a favorite for many of us. There are so many benefits we can ascertain by playing the role of the victim.

    1. We automatically gain self-worth. Follow this reasoning closely. As a victim, we are the one to whom injustice is being done, thus the others are unjust, incorrect, not okay, and wrong in what they do. Consequently, we are just, okay, good and right. We are worthy and they are not. Many of us who do not have sufficient self-esteem find this as the only way we can establish our self-worth, by being the victims of others’ wrong doings.

    2. As victims, we can play on the others’ pity and guilt. When they are angry with us, we can diminish their rage and aggression by playing the weak, abused person. When we want something from someone, we can play on their guilt by making them believe they are at fault for our unhappiness or our problems.

    3. As victims, we are not responsible for our reality, and thus not to blame if we or our lives are not in good condition. We have an excuse for not being okay or manifesting our potential.

    As a result, we gain what we want from the others by making them feel responsible for our reality, and by making ourselves seem weak, incapable and in need of help.”

    • mjschneider

      I appreciate the concern. I know there’s little chance of rationality getting through to him, but think about this: whatever time he expends embarrassing himself on my blog is a few less minutes he’s spending harassing some poor librarian. Troll-decoying is just another indispensable service I provide!

  • jubilare

    Well-put, Jerry.
    @ mjshneider. Is Troll-decoy part of your resume? I should have guessed. I am not up for it, personally, as my brain hurts every time I see Dan tramp over the same ground, accuse us of his tactics and play the victim. Bleh.

    • Dan Kleinman

      I’m not the “victim.” The victims are the little girls viewing the anal rape in the public libraries that allow that. The victims are the little children watching their mothers being assaulted by child porn viewers in libraries where nothing is done to stop that. The victims are the librarians told by their library directors to suppress evidence of child pornography crimes. The victims are the librarians working in libraries that allow porn so there is constant hostile, sexual behavior aimed at the librarians and no one cares. The victims are the taxpayers of the United Stated being defrauded of millions of dollars by libraries training to lie on CIPA affidavits, sometimes by entire states. The victims are the little children molested, some left for dead, after known porn viewers view porn in libraries explicitly following ALA guidance not to use filters.

      Those are the victims. I’m not the victim.

      Not once do I ever hear any of you showing even a scintilla of evidence of interest in those victims. No, but my “tactics” are of great concern to you.

    • mjschneider

      Dan, besides the fact that you haven’t provided any evidence that librarians are enduring “constant, hostile sexual behavior” or any of the other ridiculous crimes you assert (a causal link between ALA guidelines and kids being molested and left for dead? Come on.), what I was criticizing was your very definition of what constitutes victimization.

      To put it another way, the way you define porn and “porn pushing” is inconsistent, incoherent, and almost entirely irrational. If you had bothered to read my entire post, you might have had a chance at understanding that. (A slim chance, given your apparent inability to utilize reason, but a chance nonetheless.) To put it bluntly, you’re seeing victims where there are none — or, at best (giving you a very generous and unwarranted benefit of the doubt), extremely few. And in those cases, my suspicion is that the few debatable “victims” that exist are only victims by your definition, and not by the definition accepted by pretty much every other rational person on the planet.

      If you had perhaps offered any evidence that there were indeed librarians enduring incessant sexual harassment, mothers being sexually assaulted in front of their kids, or a link between porn viewing and kids being molested and left for dead, then perhaps I, and the others who have criticized you, might have had reason to exhibit concern for said victims. But even if there were such victims, it would not alter the logic with which your incoherent arguments have been deconstructed, nor would it make a substantial case for indicting ALA policy unless the problems were pervasive and incontrovertibly linked together with said policy. Unfortunately for you, the problems you describe are not widespread, nor is there a causal (or even a correlative) link to ALA policy. A large part of that is the fact that you don’t have the evidence to back your claims.

      If you want people to show an interest in genuine “victims,” you really should first establish that a crime has been committed. You haven’t. Nor have you been able to explain how you could assert that the ALA recommending Looking for Alaska is “porn pushing” while simultaneously claiming that it is not porn.

  • Technicolor Anniversary! « technicolorlilypond

    [...] about Banned Books Week, attracted a troll with said BBW post which inspired my husband to write an exemplary piece about censorship, shared my crafting adventures, written crafting tutorials, launched a Zazzle store of my [...]

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