Thursday, January 27, 2005

Black eye for Houston, Texas

The city of Houston achieved a real milestone today. Mayor Bill White has assured us a place on the list of "broadminded" cities that ban or restrict books. The Houston Chronicle reports:
White recently ordered that the library's dozen copies of Jameson's best-selling "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale" be removed from open shelves.

In making his decision, White sidestepped the committee process that Houston's libraries typically use to evaluate complaints about items in their collections.

I've never seen this book; I know it is on the NYTimes best seller list. I don't know if this is a book that should be in a library or not. By ordering this book to be locked away in the closed stacks, he has insured that we will never have that debate. No committee will have a chance to discuss or review this title.

Council Member Pam Holm has done the city a serious diservice by asking for the book to moved without going through the reevaluation process, although, according to the Chronicle, Holm "did not know there was such a process." Great to know this council member is so well informed.

If a book goes through the reconsideration process, I may not agree with the decision of the committee but I can be confident that the implications of keeping or pulling the book have been weighed.

Their excuse?
"We're trying to take action quickly, and we didn't see a need to go through a long bureaucratic process," said White's spokesman, Frank Michel.
Maybe I don't like the "long bureaucratic process" of having my car $AFEcleared if I have a flat tire on the Katy Freeway.

They have couched their "concerns" about the book in terms of its accessibility to children. Hey guys, let ME monitor my kids' reading ok?

Why not restrict Harry Potter books, or Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, or My Life by Bill Clinton, or... or...there is something deeply offensive in every book to SOMEONE.

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