Now, this? *This* is censorship.

6 May

You know how, when a blog owner doesn’t allow certain things to be said in her comment threads, or when an online forum’s guidelines specify that no discussions of religion or politics are allowed there, there are people who start screeching immediately about their right to free speech and how both of those things are censorship?

(Never mind that a) the right to free speech as per the First Amendment of the US Constitution has no bearing on discussions that involve people from countries other than the US–such as gee, this one–or that b) censorship in a private space doesn’t violate said amendment.)

But here we have a real example of censorship:

The public library system in Brevard County, Florida has pulled its copies of a certain best-seller book from circulation due to the erotic content of the novel. (With due apologies to the awesome sauce that is our very own SuperLibrarian, let me count the ways in which this action offends me.) Here’s the note in its entirety:

Bondage, seduction and sexual domination are all things you don’t expect to find inside a library, but they are all inside New York Times bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The book was recently pulled from Brevard County Public Libraries due to its erotic tone.

County officials said that when they ordered the book, they did not realize that the content was not in line with their adult fiction requirements.

“There is an element of erotica, I guess, attached to these books,” said Don Walker, communications director for Brevard County Government. “Some people call it soft porn. I’ve heard another description, ‘mommy porn,’ not quite sure what that means, but it’s not what we deem as appropriate material for our bookshelves.”

More than 200 people are on a waiting list to check out one of the 19 copies in circulation in Brevard County Libraries.

Officials said once all the books are returned, they will not return to their shelves.

Oh my good lord, so many examples of the stupid right there!

  • A public library system acquired 19 copies of a book without being aware of its content. Why?
  • So, if bondage, seduction and sexual domination don’t belong in books in public libraries, then there should be no copies of The Story of O in any public library, right? (wonder what I’d find if I could do a search…)
  • And, if when you don’t know what something means, then it’s not appropriate for the public library, then people shouldn’t go there to look for any texts in advance physics, quantum theory or, hell, foreign languages.

~ ~ ~ ~

You know, I have no interest whatsoever in reading the book, I never have and I highly doubt I ever will. It’s not about having soft porn or gaaaaaaah!!!! mommy porn available. It’s the sheer ignorance and arrogance and–once more, with feeling!–misogyny of the decision.

“Gee, it’s porn for women!!!! the horror! can’t have that where impressionable young minds…oh wait, that’s the adult fiction section, isn’t it? But the wimmin!!! We must protect their innocent, fragile minds and delicate sensibilities!”

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

~ ~ ~ ~

(And I’m also annoyed that apparently neither reporters nor editors know that book titles are italicized and only short story titles require quotation marks)

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