You know you’re in a fascist state when they plan to arrest librarians

Right next door to me is the state of North Dakota. They’re up to no good.

Books containing “sexually explicit” content — including depictions of sexual or gender identity — would be banned from North Dakota public libraries under legislation that state lawmakers began considering Tuesday.

The GOP-dominated state House Judiciary Committee heard arguments but did not take a vote on the measure, which applies to visual depictions of “sexually explicit” content and proposes up to 30 days imprisonment for librarians who refuse to remove the offending books.

You might be wondering what the libraries are peddling. Hard core porn? BDSM? Incest how-tos? Nah. The Republicans are happy to tell you what disturbs them.

House Majority Leader Mike Lefor, of Dickinson, introduced the bill and said public libraries currently contain books that have “disturbing and disgusting” content, including ones that describe virginity as a silly label and assert that gender is fluid.

But…virginity is a silly label! And gender is clearly fluid! He goes on to whine that being exposed to such ideas diminishing conservative myths causes addiction, poor self esteem, devalued intimacy, increasing divorce rates, unprotected sex among young people and poor well-being. I would argue instead that insisting that a person’s worth is measured by the presence of a hymen, or that non-heterosexual desires make you a bad person, is far more damaging to people’s well-being.

Another thing that bugs me is that borders aren’t magic. Minnesota is generally progressive, but that’s largely thanks to the urban population on the east side of the state. I live in far western Minnesota, practically next door to the Dakotas, and I suspect the general sentiment of the rural population here is far more sympathetic to the North Dakota frame of mind. It makes me much less inclined to associate with many of the townies, and deepens the town-gown divide around here. It’s hard to get to know your non-university neighbors when you’re afraid of turning up that Dakota flavor of bigotry and ignorance.


  1. moonslicer says

    Always using the children as a cover for their own shortcomings. Whatever about the kids, it’s these so-called “grownups” who struggle with anything outside the narrow limits of their knowledge and experience.

    “Books containing “sexually explicit” content — including depictions of sexual or gender identity . . .”

    Excuse me, my gender identity is not “sexually explicit”–but I would be curious to see how exactly somebody is going to depict it. I’m not sure that it even can be depicted, but I’d like to see what they come up with.

    But look, if we’re going to set our definitions purely according to personal preference, could we please define these legislators as mentally deficient, thereby disqualifying them from public office?

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “could we please define these legislators as mentally deficient fugitive compost, thereby disqualifying them from public office and making them potentially beneficial?”

  3. Hoosier Bluegill says

    So medical textbooks which describe human reproduction will be banned? Can’t get much more sexually explicit than that

  4. raven says

    The second comment already said what my first thought was.

    Oh, another book burning in North Dakota.
    Very traditional.

    I’m sure they will manage to throw some Harry Potter books and biology textbooks with the Theory of Evolution in them on the fire as well.

    At least they aren’t hunting down and burning witches. Yet anyway.

  5. Larry says

    Will they be getting rid of those nasty art history books that show those disgusting pornographic statues of nekkid people and paintings of them frolicing in their all-togethers. Won’t somebody think of the children?

  6. raven says

    My local library has a procedure where people can challenge the presence of books on their shelves. Usually, it almost never happens.

    Lately, they’ve been getting a lot of people trying to remove one book or another.
    Knowing the library and librarians, I’m sure no books have been removed yet.
    They always make a big deal out of Banned Books week with a display of Banned Books to check out.

    What the oogedy boogedy xians do is just steal the books they don’t like.
    At one point they had 6 copies of The God Delusion by Dawkins.
    When they got down to 1 copy, it is now behind the counter and you have to ask.
    Because they don’t want it to also disappear.

  7. raven says

    Michigan residents vote to defund public library again over … › homenews › state-watch › 373138…

    Nov 11, 2022 — Residents of a Western Michigan town on Tuesday voted for a second time to defund their only public library, putting it in jeopardy of …

    A small Michigan town has now voted twice to close down their library.

    Because they didn’t like some of the books they carried.

    I’m sure Jamestown, Michigan is a good place to stay as far away as possible from.

  8. raven says

    The GOP-dominated state House Judiciary Committee heard arguments but did not take a vote on the measure, which applies to visual depictions of “sexually explicit” content…

    What are these kooks going on about anyway?

    I’m not sure my local library even has “visual depictions of sexually explicit content”.
    I’ve never seen any although I’ve also never looked for it. I check out fantasy/SF and magazines. The fiction stories don’t even have “visual depictions” and the Economist is low on “sexually explicit” material.
    Isn’t that what the internet is for anyway?

    .1. Maybe they mean sex ed books.
    I’m sure they must have a few diagrams somewhere.
    .2. Maybe they mean some of the graphic novels.
    Our library divides graphic novels (comic books) up into Juvenile and Adult.
    I’ve never seen any visual depictions of sexually explicit material in Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, or Wonder Woman.

    .3. They used to carry Playboy (for the articles I guess) but it was behind a counter and you had to ask.
    I don’t think they do that any more though.

  9. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    As a public librarian, I can’t possibly express just how excited I am about the recent demonization of my profession. /s

  10. microraptor says

    Meanwhile, DeSantis down in Florida is telling public universities that they need to turn over all their information about transgender students to him.

  11. muttpupdad says

    Desatan must not of been able to find the right type of fapping material at his local library.

  12. says

    @15 microraptor — and IIRC (texass? floridum?) it is now illegal to use ‘non-standard’ pronouns or teach anything that has to do with slavery, CRT, racism, etc.etc. Welcome to the NEW DARK AGES!

  13. says

    @14 UnknownEric the Apostate — Stay safe. –I’m sure that soon they’ll get around to trying to burn ‘demon librarians’ for peddling smut. /S.–
    I hope your library has improved the air filtration and taken other safety measures. Libraries are in flux with all the jumbled ‘digital’ and ‘online’ resources that can ‘bust the budget’ of libraries. But, most still serve as a refuge for those who need an internet connection or just a quiet place to read.

  14. fishy says

    unprotected sex among young people

    I’m not sure what this means. Are there prophylactics involved or do they stand outside the room with guns while the deed is done?

  15. moonslicer says

    @ #15 “Meanwhile, DeSantis down in Florida is telling public universities that they need to turn over all their information about transgender students to him.”

    Yeah, Republicans are seriously gunning for transgender people these days. And the thing about evil people is that they never give up and they’re never satisfied with half measures. When they want to destroy, they will do whatever it takes.

    And you know the meme, “First they came for . . .” There are lots of people all over the US now who simply need to tell the likes of DeSantis and Abbot and so on, “F*** off!” But how can they do that? There are serious penalties for non-compliance. Evil will find ways to drag decency into the heart of evil. And so there will be many who will throw us under the bus because the cost for not doing so will be too high.

    What a frightening and depressing country the USA has become. We’re watching bad, stupid people give expression to all their innate viciousness.

  16. silvrhalide says

    @1 “Excuse me, my gender identity is not “sexually explicit”–but I would be curious to see how exactly somebody is going to depict it. I’m not sure that it even can be depicted, but I’d like to see what they come up with.”

    Given the general ignorance and bigotry rampant in the GOPQ, at a guess the depiction would probably run along the lines of “Brawny towel man wearing lipstick, mascara and a dress with lumberjack boots”. Because if they depicted someone along the lines of Janet Mock, that might garner sympathy and understanding and the GOPQ can’t have that! Face it, the GOPQ’s core identity is hate. If they don’t have an outgroup to punch down on and get their base of bigots riled up, who are they? They are not
    -the party of fiscal responsibility. Have you checked the news lately? (US debt default ringing any bells?) Or any time in the last 40 years? They haven’t been the party of fiscal responsibility since before Reagan.
    -the party of small government. NOPE
    -conservative. How can you be conservative if you don’t actually conserve anything? Not governmental power (see the expansion of presidential power under Dubya), not money, not resources, not the US standing in the world, certainly not the environment.
    Hell, they can’t even govern themselves–witness Kevin McCarthy’s Pyrrhic victory in his quest for the white whale/Speakership of the House. Hey Kevin–just remember, what you make belongs to you. Enjoy that Speaker of the House position while it lasts!

  17. silvrhalide says

    @7 Yes to the first and no to the second.
    Well there goes Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe and Olympia by Manet. Also Michelangelo’s David, Kritios Boy, the Sistine Chapel, most of the Renaissance, half of Art Nouveau… the list goes on.

    @13 George Perez illustrated a reboot of Wonder Woman that fairly graphically depicts the rape of Hippolyta by Ares. Would have been in the 90s I think. Batman: The Dark Knight (the original prestige format 4 part miniseries by Frank Miller) has some fairly graphic BDSM Nazi kink (only for a few pages), portrays the Joker as a psychosexual serial killer with either bi or gay leanings; the first 8 issues of Sandman are pretty graphic sexually (it did start off as a horror comic), Lucifer (the comic, not the terrible TV series) can get pretty sexually explicit, also Hellblazer, heck, most of the Vertigo imprint gets pretty sexually graphic at one point or another. Definitely not for kids. Not pornographic but there are definitely some pretty frank explorations of sexual themes in those books.

    @15, 23 Does the Florida law explicitly state that public universities must collect data on transgender students? Asking b/c the way my library and local university did an end run around the Patriot Act was to simply not collect the data. Local university: “We don’t actually collect data on who uses are computer lab & library computers. Why yes, anyone CAN walk in and use any computer anonymously… ” … the computer labs all had security cameras and monitors, so if necessary they could pinpoint repeat offenders, but user records were never actually kept or recorded. For the problem children, the system admin would keep track of overall data usage and if they noticed that someone was suddenly sucking up a lot of bandwidth, that would prompt a real time in-person visit to the lab and the specific computer in use but otherwise, unless there was a complaint or viruses suddenly started cropping up in abundance, nope, no records. The local public library only kept records of books currently out on loan, the minute you returned a borrowed book, your record of having borrowed it was erased. The library did keep anonymized records of book usage, so they would know which books to remove from circulation but other than that? Can’t turn over what you don’t have.

  18. raven says

    More fascist anti-Trans trash from North Dakota.
    I’m sure the GOPers compete to see who can be the most bigoted, hate filled creep in the state.

    Use the wrong pronoun, go to jail.
    They must have never heard of freedom of speech in North Dakota.

    N. Dakota bill would bar people from using pronouns according to gender identity; $1,500 fines threatened

    NY Daily News
    N. Dakota bill would bar people from using pronouns according to gender identity; $1,500 fines threatened
    Muri Assunção, New York Daily News
    Thu, January 19, 2023 at 3:25 PM PST·2 min read

    Republican lawmakers in North Dakota have introduced legislation seeking to prohibit transgender and nonbinary people from using pronouns according to their gender identity.

    Senate Bill 1299 states that “words referring to an individual, person, employer, employee, contestant, participant, member, student, or juvenile must be used in the context of that person’s sex as determined at birth.

    “Any person [who] violates this section must be assessed a fee of one thousand five hundred dollars,” the bill adds.

    If the person’s gender identity or expression is contested, that determination should be established by the “individual’s deoxyribonucleic acid,” or DNA, the legislation states.

    Speaking in defense of the bill on Wednesday, state Sen. David Clemens said if a person’s gender is ever challenged, the responsibility to prove their gender will fall on that individual.

    “Say, they’re a boy, but they come to school and say they’re a girl. As far as that school is concerned in this bill, that person is still a boy,” Clemens, one of the authors of the legislation, said Wednesday when speaking in favor of the bill.

    “If it becomes contested, the burden will be on the girl, the so-called girl, or the boy, to prove that he is a girl,” he added, according to local station KYFR-TV.

    The proposed bill was put forth to the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee this week.

    Clemens, who was the only person to give testimony in favor of the legislation, was at times “at a loss for words,” according to trans rights advocate Erin Reed, who live-tweeted the hearing.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to give this bill a “do not pass” recommendation.

    North Dakota Sen. Ryan Braunberger, a freshman Democrat, celebrated the committee’s recommendation on Twitter, calling it a “positive step in protecting transgender ND.”

    However, according to Reed the bill can still move forward, “as committees don’t have veto power there, and the chair indicated more bills are coming.”

  19. brightmoon says

    DeSatan a less stupid version of Dolt45. That alone makes him terrifying. By less stupid I mean he’s less inclined to shoot himself in the foot. His policies are equally as asinine and/or as cruel as Dolt45’s were

  20. S maltophilia says

    First the Bible – lots of incest and other stuff going on there. Plato has no end of pederasty.Portnoy’s Complaint, any number of John Updike’s novels. A big library, such as there are in ND, ought to yield up hundreds of counts.

  21. magistramarla says

    There are lots of explicit descriptions in SF books. I had lead a very sheltered life before I attended college.
    My boyfriend/later husband introduced me to SF books, and I was quite surprised at some of the descriptions I read.
    Hopefully, the SciFi geeks will be able to keep this our little secret!
    I’ve also been thinking about those ubiquitous romance novels. Those are very popular with teen girls.
    My mother-in-law used to describe them as “mental masturbation”. Will they ban those, too?
    That won’t sit well with teen girls, as well as a large number of their mothers and grandmothers.

  22. StevoR says

    @ ^ magistramarla : Much of what I first learnt about sex was through SF. Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odysssey series featured at least one very positively depicted bisexual man albeit no explicit sex and then, of course, there’s Heinlein with his novel ‘Friday’ and of course ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ with its heroes Mars based sex cult mingled with very blasphemous Christian religions.. That was before we get to the likes of Anne MCCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin and, oh boy, the powerful and pretty sometimes horribly explicit short stories esp in Crown of Stars’ ( ) by “James Tiptree Jr / Raccoona Sheldon or her actual name, Alice Sheldon. ( )

    @7. Larry : “Will they be getting rid of those nasty art history books that show those disgusting pornographic statues of nekkid people and paintings of them frolicing in their all-togethers. Won’t somebody think of the children?”

    Not to mention all the science books that show the plaques included on the Pioneer spaceprobes as well with their nude figures.. ( ) Echoes of Inhofe and the fuss over the apparently too arousing artwork on the Virginia State seal.. ( To riff of one of Greenman3610 Climate Denial Crock of the week video which I can’t seem to find now with my weak Google-fu. (Sigh. I know that happened and remember hearing about it but seems really hard to find info on easily. Maybe its just me?)

  23. StevoR says

    The puritannical book burning, art and pelasure hating fundamentalist strain of Christianity in the US of A.

    Ye nonexistent gawds it is fucking toxic, bigoted and nasty.

  24. Kagehi says

    #13 raven

    So… Did they remove playboy before or after it got rid of all pictures, and just turned into another Men’s Health, or GQ magazine? lol Oh, wait, nope, looks like the went back on that one year later, and started putting pictures back in. Not that I ever cared. Imho, if you are going to publish such a thing you need to be honest about what you are publishing, instead of making it into something that has images that are a) edited to make them all look the same, since you can’t show X, or Y, if women have those traits, and/or b) could be just as easily be found in a nudist magazine (minus the article contents, which wouldn’t include talks about sex in the latter). I always considered them an absolute joke.

    That said, I would bet that it was the “only” magazine in that category that was even “allowed” in a library – which should have, again, said a lot about the supposed “sexual images” in it….

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