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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Publisher dips into West Bend Issues - tells nation to jump on City Council and Vrana

This book publisher, Seven Stories Press, takes a swing at the citizens of West Bend

As you may have heard, the Common Council of West Bend, Wisconsin voted on April 21 to dismiss four members of the West Bend Library Board. The reason? The Common Council disagreed with the “ideology” of the Board members, and with their refusal to remove certain LGBT-themed titles from the Young Adult section of the library. Among the titles: (see books and excerpts on the left-hand side of this blog page)

First of all, once again this publisher has the information wrong. Or do they? Perhaps, like the local organization of West Bend Parents for Free Speech, they are using the LGBT community so they can get people fired up over an issue that is not about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgenders at ALL! Perhaps if one reads the actual petition (left side of this blog), one would find that both homosexual AND heterosexual books are being addressed. Yes, yes, we know that three months ago we objected to the "Out of the Closet" book recommendations, mostly because we object to sex book recommendations of ANY kind for minors. We have since, long ago, dropped that issue as we feel the issue at hand is sexually explicit materials. Nothing more. Publishers that talk smack about the LGBT-themed books to the LGBT community to rile them up are simply looking for a group to "use", and those on the receiving end of this abuse should be outraged. We have heard from many LGBTs that they AGREE with our stance on sexually explicit materials for their kids! Parents are parents....

In short: material that provides information on puberty, on coming out as gay, lesbian, or transgendered teen, and on teenage sexual abuse and the depression and trauma that can result from it—this is the material that the City Council, bowing to pressure from the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, wants to make less accessible to teenagers. Even shorter: the Council wants to restrict teenagers from reading books about puberty if those books talk positively about gay people.

Once again, wrong info! Shucks! Two strikes! Not making them less accessible. The kids can still walk into the library, go to a rack, take a book, and check it out. Same books, different shelf. C'mon...this is not rocket science!

And the last sentence? HUH? That is just a lie. Period. Nothing to back that up whatsoever. Who wrote this idiotic piece?


A letter opposing the City Council’s decision, signed by the heads of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers and the PEN American Center, can be found here.

And a superior explanation of the misinformation within this letter can be found here.


As an independent press with a long history of (1) publishing and promoting traditionally oppressed voices (it’s laughable, for example, to say that librarians should stock books from the controversial and politically-motivated ex-gay movement to “balance” a guide to puberty that says that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle) (See next blog note with PFOX's thoughts about that statement) and (2) opposing censorship in all its forms, we’d like to propose a call to action:

Let the Common Council know how you feel, and why you believe that “protecting” kids in small towns from books that deal favorably with homosexuality is not an appropriate action for a taxpayer-funded library to take.

Why would anyone want to do that, as this is not the issue! This publisher is going to make people look SILLY.

Let them know that the four Library Board members should not have been dismissed for refusing to bow to unconstitutional pressure from religious groups, however many signatures on a petition those groups can gather.

Ooops! That's three strikes, people! They were not "dismissed", they were not reappointed. The reason? They "dragged their feet" and "stonewalled" the public. Yes, THEY DID.

Let them know that if they really do want to protect their kids—including their LGBT kids—they can best protect them by giving them access to information about their own identity and sexuality, not by stigmatizing that information as “adult” or “obscene.”

So their "own identity" (and heteros, this is for you, too) agrees that children should read books that contain "how to's" for masturbation, three-way sex, sex with toys, etc., etc.? Hmmm... I would think the LGBT gang would be just as outraged this garbage is dragging down THEIR literary standards, but hey, I guess my thought that parents, no matter WHAT their walk of life, would stand by their children's innocence. Perhaps putting a man's ejaculatory secretions on corn flakes is an appealing form of literature to those who are LGBT..at least that is what this publisher is stating.

You can write a letter to the following address:

(City Council/Vrana address given)

All this misinformation could be intentional, or it could show the effects of the lies spread by non-local parties interested in maintaining control over OUR library. Directing the general public to write ridiculous letters about an issue that this publisher clearly does not understand will simply make them look, well, silly, like I said before. The letters will end up in the trash, as they do not pertain to the issue. Nice try, 7 Stories. But the public has your number. And its a ZERO.


Buzymom said...

So when you talk about " books that contain "how to's" for masturbation, three-way sex, sex with toys, etc.,", I assume you are talking about "Deal With It"? I am seriously asking you where you would like that book placed? Since it is already as far away from the children's section as it can get, upstairs shelved with the adult non-fiction- and your goal is moving books away from the kids, I'd like to know where it should be moved. I assume you will be willing and happy to post and answer my question, since I know you are against the spread of misinformation as your post states.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

So let's get something clear, Buzymom. Since we have not met with the library board and have not been given an opportunity to discuss this issue, I am most certainly not going to bow to your demands to give an answer "here and now" simply because you insist upon it. When the time is right, we will have our discussion WITH THE LIBRARY BOARD. I'll keep you posted, though, k???

beesbess said...

May I ask what standards you would be applying to the books that you feel should be "moved"? Who would be doing the deciding and what is the criteria?

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...


See previous comment.

Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

Ginny, it is perfectly reasonable for people to ask you to explain your thinking on these issues. You are trying to set policy that affects the entire public, so you should be willing to divulge and discuss your thoughts in public.

Why do you insist on only discussing them "WITH THE LIBRARY BOARD'"?

(and, perhaps you're not familiar with netiquette, but writing in ALL CAPS is considered rude)

Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

And another thing: if this "is not about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgenders at ALL", then why are you tagging each and every post on your blog (even the one's about prayer at the White House) with the words "gay" and "lesbian"??

Mike said...

The truth is Ginny doesn't have an answer. She hasn't thought that far ahead. If she had most of what has happened in the case would not have happened. She would not have changed her complaint three times and not done so much to stir public emotion. Both of those things have been to the detriment of the community and her cause. As I have said befor not a real deep thinker.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Here, let me fix that for ya, hun...

..with the library board.

See? Can't emphasize with bold or italics. Only two options in the comment box. Plain or extra large.

Now relax. No need to get all testy.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Mike, you are such an expert on the subject of, um....ME! Since you know the "truth", let me hear what else you know about my thoughts and ideas? Perhaps you can answer the questions above. Then I can take the weekend off as an observer!


Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

Ginny, you can make comments bold like this: <b>bold</b>

(the same for italics, but you use the letter "i" instead of "b"

But back to the point, you're not addressing my earlier comment: it is reasonable to ask you your thinking on this since this is public policy you are trying to shape. This isn't just between you and the library board, but all citizens of West Bend.

So, if you're not willing to engage in a dialogue about it, what's the point of this blog?

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

The point of this blog is for my personal enjoyment of writing and journaling. It is also informative. It is not necessarily for heated debates or hate-filled arguments. If I do not respond, it is because:
A. I have a life.
B. I work.
C. I feel the question has been asked or the comments have been made numerous times and do not require additional commentary.
D. I simply do not feel like it. Other things to do.

Not everyone will like that answer, but, as I have said before, it is my blog. I prioritize my time. If blogging does not fit in to the scheme of my day, then, well...I just don't.