Monday, August 28, 2006

The Slippery Slope of Censoring Books

All the books in the relationships section of Waldenbooks at the Singing River Mall in Gautier have been pulled from the shelves and are in storage.

This is due to the efforts of Lori Taylor , a homeschool Mom, who is determined to protect her teenage son from books on relationships. I wonder what other books she will decide to "protect" children from if she gets away with it? Will the art books mysteriously disappear from the shelves? what about the romance novels? Where will the censorship end?

Now her friend and fellow homeschooler Jan Frier has decided to get in on the act.

Jan Frier is an avid supporter of Vaughn's client, Lori Taylor, and hopes that Waldenbooks of Gautier will keep the books on Relationships off the shelves. "It's just porn," Frier said. "No question. Nothing but. And if that's what you want to read then fine, but it's doesn't need to be where children can see it. These books need to be placed higher, with something on them that keeps children from seeing the covers and opening them."

What gives these two women the right to label something "porn", when obviously the store manager, the mall manager, and the police didn't find it pornographic? Excuse me but Waldenbooks is in the business of selling books, part of selling anything is displaying the merchandise in order to attract a customers attention. As for putting something over the books to keep "people" from opening them and looking inside, I don't know many people who buy a book without flipping through it first to see if it's what they want. You can bet these two Mom's want the right to flip through any textbook they buy to use in schooling their kids. Parents should be the ones responsible for insuring that children don't view material they deem unsuitable.

The ironic thing is if the LAW tried to force Lori Taylor and Jan Friar to teach evolution to their kids they would scream bloody murder. But they see nothing wrong with using the LAW to prevent a bookstore from displaying a book they don't like.

Since there are all ready tons of misconceptions about homeschoolers, I wanted to assure the general public that we are not all Lori Taylor's & Jan Frier's.

Most homeschoolers are really busy people that don't have the time to make a nuisance of themselves at a local bookstore for 5 months, harass the manager and demand the city of Gautier investigate books.

We are normal people, our teenagers play video games, go to movies, and read popular literature, if we are offended by a book we don't buy it, if we are offended by a movie we don't go to see it, and IF we don't want our children to view something we tell them NO, we do not hire a lawyer and harass a bookstore into removing books from their shelves.

The Majority of us cherish the Right to Free Speech and would not dream of censoring what a store can sell and other people can buy.

Free speech - means the right to say what one believes, to any audience that is willing to hear it. It is not the right to say only that which is popular with the government,with any particular interest group, or with the majority of the public.

Lori Taylor has no right to impose her views on what is or isn't appropriate for a bookstore to sell on the store owner. She has no right to impose her views on patrons of the store, who should be free to choose whatever book they wish, without fear of being harassed by Ms. Taylor. She is free not to shop at the store, she is free not to buy the book (which apparently she did buy in order to send it to her lawyer) and she is free not to look at it. She is also free to tell any minor children living in her household that they are not allowed to patronize the store. She isn't free to police what other people and their kids can or can not do.

America by Jon Stewart was pulled from the Jackson-George Regional Library shelves because a patron complained about it, even though there was a huge demand from the tax paying public to read the book. One person was able to keep many library patrons from reading the book for free. I in fact was reduced to buying the book because this one person kept me from checking it out at the library. I am happy to report it was eventually returned to library shelves. Now one person is trying to brow beat a bookstore into only carrying books she approves of, where will it end?

As Jean~Luc Picard said

“With the first link, a chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."–Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Drumhead”

I am sure both Lori Taylor and Jan Frier are well intentioned, but you know what they say " the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Apparently they don't realize the dangers inherent in censorship.

Cross posted at the Homeschool Cafe

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1 comment:

  1. good post.

    I don't know why these people think they have to protect everyone.

    As an adult I will protect myself and my own children thank you very much, I don't need their help.


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