You Can’t Read That!

You Can’t Read That! is a periodic post about book banning. YCRT! features news and opinion roundups, commentary, history, and reviews.

In Conroe, a suburb of Houston, some parents wanted books removed from a junior high school library. Following established book challenge procedures, a committee of teachers, librarians, and administrators reviewed the books and voted to keep them on the shelves. In retaliation, a local right-wing news site outed the committee members:

I took the trouble of looking up the actual outing.

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Here’s a sample:

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After giving similar treatment to the other book review committee members, The Golden Hammer offered this warning:

Parents who have dealings with the foregoing teachers, librarians, and administrators may want to discern whether it is appropriate for their children to continue to have interactions with them.

Gee, wouldn’t it be a shame if the discerning citizens of Conroe burnt down the homes of their pro-porn obscenity-loving neighbors?

I recently read and reviewed one of the two books in question, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a frequent target of book banners. You can read my review here, but if it’s TL;DR for you, here’s the gist:

The “obscenity” consists of a single short paragraph, a bit of intentionally-shocking gossip passed on from one teenager to another. The award-winning book deals with typical concerns of high school kids everywhere, and is enormously popular with young readers. It’s about as “obscene” as a typical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which the parents who want to ban the book probably grew up watching.

I happen to be reading the other book, Eleanor and Park, and will publish a review when I’m done. What do you want to bet it turns out to be no more “obscene” than The Perks of Being a Wallflower?

So what’s my concern here? That book banners are playing with fire. They’re going to get someone killed.

The organizers behind the wave of book banning attempts today are the same folks behind the attacks on drag queens and trans people, the same folks who fan the flames of QAnon hysteria, the same folks who label teachers and librarians as pornographers, pedophiles, and groomers.

You may think labels like “pro-porn,” “groomer,” and “pedophile” have lost their incendiary punch from being thrown around so often, but you’re forgetting that a recent survey found that 16% of Americans believe the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation. You’re forgetting that some of those believers are more than willing to take action, like the guy who took his AK-47 to Comet Ping Pong in Washington DC to rescue the child sex slaves Hillary Clinton was keeping in the basement.

You call someone pro-porn, you call them a pedophile or a groomer, you’re playing with fire. It’s just a matter of time before vigilantes go looking for the people whose names and photos you’re publishing.

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