Tuesday, May 26, 2009

West Bend Library supporters rally on Friday.

Hi everyone,

Jake Jurrs wrote a nice guest editorial in the WB Daily News today encouraging readers to attend this Friday's event at the WB Library. Supporters will be staging a "read-in" in support of free speech.

It's usually better to read books than to burn them.

Jake included a couple of links for more information. Check out the Facebook page and http://openingbooksopeningminds.blogspot.com.

By the way, did you know that Where's Waldo is on lists of banned books? Yeah, it is.

That's where all of this is headed.



Anonymous said...

Great rally! Good banned books, nice comfortable well appointed library, nice people.... I could read banned books all day. Well done... great way to bring the community together.

James Dionne said...


The above link is the most sane post I've seen on the subject.

Mpeterson said...

Thanks James,

Here's the link, linked:


I wish I could agree with you. Fuzz makes the same mistake so many people, and so much of the news coverage, has made: all of the issues in the 'complaint' have been settled by Supreme Court rulings -- some, decades ago.

Are you suggesting that maybe it'd be okay, just this once, to violate the Bill of Rights as interpreted through the Supreme Court?

Why is this such a complicated idea for people to grasp?

James Dionne said...

Fuzz's main point is that you are all loony crackpots. On both sides. I tend to agree with that assessment. Cooler logical heads need to prevail (and really, doesn't West Bend have more important things to worry about?) The people who filed the uninformed formal complaint are Nazis and yes, they want the library to only hold the bible and a few books on gardening and nothing else, but that doesn't mean that the concern is without merit. I believe that the majority of people do not object to the books being available, this is America and we do have the first amendment, I think that they object to the books being showcased by an overzealous small town librarian in a decorated young teen section and advertised on the internet. Show me the specific case law Mark where the Dewey Decimal system was ignored to group books that have explicit sexual content into a children's (young teens are children) section and I'll accept your argument, Mark. But if the librarian really has no choice legally on how to categorize the books to a communities standards, then why do we even have a librarian? To re-shelve the books? I call BS on that argument. I can only hope that you Libertarian Constitutionalists fight as vigorously for your right to bear arms when Obama tries to violate "the Bill of Rights as interpreted through the Supreme Court" and ban all guns. Because that tricky second amendment is a complicated idea for people to grasp as well, right Mark?

Mpeterson said...

lol. Logic?

Logic would have dictated that these complaints have never been brought...

We don't do logic in America. We do politics, and politics requires showing up. If that makes those of us who stood up on the side of the Constitution loony, well, okay.

Look, this is all very well established in the law and I'm not going to do your homework for you.

James Dionne said...

You are correct about your no logic in the complaint argument. I didn't make the complaint, nor do I support their resolutions to the situation. The Book Nazi's who actually filed the complaint are complete and total morons, I agree. But, You are also making an error in logic by assuming that anyone in the community with a library concern is also a bible thumping book burner. The political process you mentioned will come into play exactly as you are seeing it now with people removed from the library board and twits elected out of public office over a little issue like this. As a side note you lefties do realize libraries are obsolete? Kind of a silly thing to get all voted out of office for isn't it? What's your term? Extinction behavior? It perfectly applies to both sides on this issue.
I did my homework, Professor, and I found this nugget from http://library.findlaw.com/2003/May/15/132747.html I believe that the supreme courts definition of obscenity might come close to a book or two on the contested list, but I'd really like to think I'm an above average person so I'm not sure:
In 1973, in Miller v. California, Justice Burger announced the second definition of obscenity - the majority position of the Court, and the definition, which, more or less, is still in effect today. It is as follows:

"(a) whether the 'average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

I would have to guess these books have some political value to the left so I would keep them available in the library, just out of a celebrated children section. What's so hard about that? It's not banning or burning or even cutting off funding- (the horror!) It's a common sense, community standard, decency in a public place open to and welcoming of children.

Your "upholding the case law" argument is weak because there is no case law about how a library categorizes or showcases it's books, only about funding and availability of titles, and yet there are many examples in case law about upholding community standards in regards to obscenity. Also you lefties might want to consider the shift to the right that the supreme court has taken in the last 8 years and ask yourselves if this fight would be won if challenged today by someone with resources, time, and a brain.
My point about the second amendment, which you conveniently chose to ignore, shows hypocrisy about what parts of the constitution you like to uphold and which ones YOU would like to ignore. That is why the left comes across as loons as well. But hey, in the political contest of loons, you guys came in second place to the book Nazi's! But my offer still stands, I'll support your right to have sexual literature available to teenagers in the library if you support my right to bear arms, deal?
I thought so.

Mpeterson said...

Well, you can argue any way you like, but it's easier -- and historically safer for everyone -- if we let well trained legal scholars on the Supreme Court figure out the applications.

None of the books in the library are legally classifiable as obscene although many groups, like Ginny's, have tried it out in other jurisdictions... that's the case law I was referring to.

As for the 2nd Amendment, the court finally cleared up the question about the right of individuals to carry arms just recently. Their decision made sense to me.