They must be weak in Wisconsin

Ah, poor Wisconsin…our neighboring state to the east, where the people are frail and frightened, and unable to cope with the rigors of reality. (That ought to get a few of them fired up, don’t you think?)

There is a little dustup going on in the town of West Bend, Wisconsin. The local bluenoses noticed that there are books that discuss human sexuality in the library — and some of them are even written for teenagers! Teenagers, of course, never think about sex and have no interest in the subject unless some vile prurient publication stirs them up, so the crusaders for purity are stridently demanding that these books be removed from view.

One particular target of their fury is a book by Francesca Lia Block, Baby Be-Bop, which commits the sin of writing positively about young gay men and negatively about gay bashing. A group called the Christian Civil Liberties Union has filed suit over the book, since it exists at the library, and they don’t like it.

The plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, say their mental and emotional well-being were damaged by the book at the Library, the claim states.

That must be one powerful book. It sits on a shelf balefully, emanating damaging gay-rays that permeate the whole town, and disrupting the sexual health of its inhabitants. Perhaps the elderly are especially fragile and sensitive to its effects. Imagine some tired old codger, exhausted after a lifetime of aggressive heterosexuality, sitting in his easy chair before the TV, and suddenly he starts feeling frisky at the sight of Matlock reruns — it must be distressing. And the fault must lie in some kids’ book sitting in a library a few miles away, undermining their ancient manliness.

The prudes have created a blog, and it’s clear that it isn’t just gay sexuality that terrifies them, it’s any sexuality. They link to a couple of pages from books that horrify them: they don’t like sex ed with illustrations kids can understand, fiction that talks about high school kids’ experiences with sex and drugs, or books about female sexuality.

It’s pathetic and sad. I shouldn’t laugh at Wisconsin too much, though, since this really is the work of a timid minority — the city had a referendum on whether the library should censor these books, and the majority said no. That has just inflamed them, though, and now the puritans are suing for the right to burn books.

It always gets down to that with the knuckle-draggers, doesn’t it?

I offer them a compromise. They already have the right to burn books: all they have to do is buy a copy, take it home, and toss it into the fireplace. That’s not at all illegal! Unfortunately, what they want is the right to burn other people’s books, and I’m sorry, that would be uncivilized.