Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Gay Princes, Spiritual Weakness
March 18, 2004 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Gay Princes defeat NC Parents. Parents object to library book about two gay princes, concerned because being gay "is not part of their beliefs." Presumably books which discuss other things not part of their beliefs could also be an issue. Is this a basic confusion about the purpose of a library, or is any temptation just too much temptation?
posted by ewkpates (87 comments total)

 
"I was flabbergasted," Hartsell said. "My child is not old enough to understand something like that,"

There is no guarantee that, with age, she will become any smarter than she is now.

Good for her library, though.
posted by Hildago at 9:51 AM on March 18, 2004


The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated.

I guess theft (in the sense that the book is not their property) is something their daughter does understand and should learn.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:53 AM on March 18, 2004


[Hawley] declined to say whether she knowingly selected a book on gay marriage.

I found this totally baffling.

posted by rschram at 9:57 AM on March 18, 2004


The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated.

They are also holding their breath until they turn blue or until everyone does what they want.

Interesting how it went from not being part of their beliefs to being something they don't want anyone else to read or think about. A perfect encapsulation of RightWing Think.

And yeah, yay for the school for not automatically caving in.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2004


Anyone want to paypal the library some money to repurchase their stolen property?
posted by jon_kill at 10:04 AM on March 18, 2004


[spin doctors]

Two gay princes on the bookshelf/that's what I said now

Fundies can't keep it to themselves, now/that's what I said now

One lady has a bible that's the's thumpin'/that's what I said now

Librarian says herself she should be humpin'/that's what I said now

[/spin]
posted by jonmc at 10:05 AM on March 18, 2004


They are considering transferring their daughter?

To where? A school with no library?

Way to teach a kid that library shelves are full of bad things!!
posted by archimago at 10:07 AM on March 18, 2004


idiots...more and more popping up each day all over...ugh!

(and dammit--the author stole my idea!)
posted by amberglow at 10:11 AM on March 18, 2004


Yeah, the thing about being a prick in the national news is that your phone number is available to everyone on the internet.

It is. There. To be searched for.
posted by jon_kill at 10:14 AM on March 18, 2004


One lady has a bible that's the's thumpin'/

freudian lisp?
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:16 AM on March 18, 2004


jonmc, I'm glad I wasn't the only that got reminded of that song. Funny stuff there.
posted by mindless progress at 10:19 AM on March 18, 2004


Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers? I'm not saying I would react as the parents did, but why did the library decide to carry it in the first place?
posted by deanc at 10:22 AM on March 18, 2004


What a marvelous teaching moment for that daughter about diversity, tolerance, and what love means -- all lost in a spasm of conservative bigotry.

Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?

Probably you are not. But why are they inappropriate, given that tons o' fairy tales end in a magical kiss and marriage, eh?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:26 AM on March 18, 2004


deanc: Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?

Next thing you know, kids will be exposed to fairy tales about frogs insisting that they marry princesses, or beautiful young girls being given as hostages to beastly creatures whom they fall in love with, or even princes who go around kissing beautiful corpses in the hopes of bringing them "back to life."

My point being that this book is a fairy tale about a couple of people who fall in love. Seems to be right in line with most fairy tales to me.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:29 AM on March 18, 2004


Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?

Gay themes? Do you mean any books depicting homosexual relationships? Books like this one don't contain explicit sexual themes, they simply address the family themes that are typical in children's literature. Are you saying it's inappropriate to expose children to the idea that some families are led by homosexual couples? 'Cause that's a simple fact, and the probability is steadily increasing that any given young grammar-school-age reader will have peers who are part of such families or be part of such a family themselves. Personally, I think it's good to expose children to the idea that people are diverse: it helps fight bigotry.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:34 AM on March 18, 2004


The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated.

And with the liberal grace periods those bureaucratic fat cats in the library administration set up, their fines will automatically get reduced to processing fees if they turn the book back in. It's a slap on the wrist, damn it!

"It's ok, Sarge, we'll get 'em one way or another."
posted by Hildago at 10:40 AM on March 18, 2004


I am so ashamed to live in Wilmington.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:41 AM on March 18, 2004


what mr_roboto and Joey Michaels and fold said. Families come in all shapes, sizes, and variations--children's books reflect that.

Check this out, by the same publisher: The Boy Who Cried Fabulous : >
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on March 18, 2004


hear hear, mr_roboto! And deanc, please note that gayness is not inappropriate.
posted by damehex at 10:44 AM on March 18, 2004


deanc: Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?

Next thing you know, kids will be exposed to fairy tales about frogs insisting that they marry princesses, or beautiful young girls being given as hostages to beastly creatures whom they fall in love with, or even princes who go around kissing beautiful corpses in the hopes of bringing them "back to life."

My point being that this book is a fairy tale about a couple of people who fall in love. Seems to be right in line with most fairy tales to me.


wouldn't fairy tales fall more in line with the fantastical and unrealistic? granted, 2 princes marrying would likely be an unrealistic event, but to use that assumption without the story having a witch changing one of them to the opposite sex (or same, whatever) or some other magical twist seems a poor comparison.
posted by quadrinary at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2004


It was just this issue, regarding the book "Heather Has Two Mommies" that was fought in east coast headlines a few years back.
Yes, Mr Roboto, it helps fight bigotry and it helps children from same-sex partnered households feel okay (which is part of my beliefs).
posted by ahimsakid at 10:47 AM on March 18, 2004


"The parents of an elementary school pupil are fuming over the book their daughter brought home from the school library"

This is the part I don't get about the whole debacle: the girl brought it home. Now, I may not be up on the latest library rules or anything, but I seem to remember that the cool part of going to the library was being out pick out ANY book I wanted as long as I brought it back on time. So, it would seem that the daughter chose it for herself because it looked interesting, or funny, or strange, or whatever she was thinking at the time. So I don't really get why the parents are so gung-ho about blaming everyone in the school and library and not asking their daughter about why she chose to bring the book home in the first place (if it's something that's 'so against their beliefs').
posted by BurnedEve at 10:52 AM on March 18, 2004


Obviously they are not pro-choice either!
posted by ahimsakid at 10:55 AM on March 18, 2004


Um, isn't the technical term for two gay princes, two queens?

B-dum.

"Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?"

That suggests that you think that knowing about gay people is, in some way, a damaging or corrupting thing to a child. Personally the sooner kids get used to gay people being in the world and it being ok, the better for everyone, including those kids who are [or turn out to be] gay.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2004


A perfect encapsulation of RightWing Think

Oh come on. Censorship and oversensitivity is bad on it own, no matter who's doing it, and neither side is immune to the temptation. You don't have to pretend that there aren't dozens of "progressive" liberal universities with absurd and authoritarian speech codes. Restricting speech and telling other people what they can and can't read or hear or say is wrong. Period. It's not critical discourse. It's short-circuiting the free market of ideas. It doesn't matter if the speech being restricted is a story about gay princes or a criticism of Arab culture. Blaming "right wing think" shifts attention from the actual flaws in these parents' argument and floods the debate with pointless partisan tit-for-tat bickering. Argue the merits.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:03 AM on March 18, 2004


"Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?"

She didn't bring home The Joy of Gay Sex, she brought home a fairy tale where the protagonists happened to be gay, just like gay kids regularly bring home books where the protagonists are straight. Love is love.

Rather than call people at home and annoy them *cough*, I looked up the school online and bought a replacement copy of the book for the library; it should be there in a few days. It seems to me that Ms. Hawley should be commended for keeping a diverse range of books, rather than punished.
posted by headspace at 11:04 AM on March 18, 2004


"I was flabbergasted," Hartsell said. "My child is not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it is not in our beliefs."

I wish I didn't understand this.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:12 AM on March 18, 2004


Darn, headspace, you beat me to it - in one window, I'm searching searching Amazon for the book and in another I was looking up the school's address.
posted by JollyWanker at 11:23 AM on March 18, 2004


Three cheers for headspace!
posted by fvw at 11:23 AM on March 18, 2004


Unlike most of the readers of Metafilter, many parents of young children here in North Carolina are not pro-gay. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. This ain't New York, people.

In other words, the idea is nowhere near as mainstream as many of you here on the 'filter think.
posted by konolia at 11:24 AM on March 18, 2004


And, on post-preview, a cheer and a half for JollyWanker too. Still, get them another one, never hurts to have a nice stock of the books that are hot topics… I might have bought a copy for them myself, were I not at the financial end of my month. On the other hand, I'd probably have bought a copy for myself first.

Konolia: Your point being? That we shouldn't be surprised or that we shouldn't be so outraged/shocked/amused? If the former, fine; But the latter is always appropriate, no matter how common it still is.
posted by fvw at 11:27 AM on March 18, 2004


"I was flabbergasted," Hartsell said. "My child is not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it is not in our beliefs."

Actually, perhaps she is old enough. Seems that the parents aren't tolerant enough, though.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:28 AM on March 18, 2004


In other words, the idea is nowhere near as mainstream as many of you here on the 'filter think.

God forbid kids should be exposed to anything that's not mainstream.
posted by Foosnark at 11:30 AM on March 18, 2004


Am I the only one who thinks that books featuring gay themes are probably not appropriate for a general audience of young grammar-school-age readers?


No, unfortunately, you are not, but only someone who thought homosexuality was something to be ashamed of would think that way.
posted by archimago at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2004


I think most of us know that there's a lot of gay discrimination and homophobia out there. I see plenty of it in my own family, sadly. It's just that we'd like things to be different.

And headspace, you're a prince.
posted by orange swan at 11:34 AM on March 18, 2004


*nominates headspace for Mefilte of the Month award*
posted by amberglow at 11:36 AM on March 18, 2004


make that Mefite--i have gefilte fish on the brain today
posted by amberglow at 11:37 AM on March 18, 2004


I looked up the school online and bought a replacement copy of the book for the library

Heheheheh, I was just about to hit the finalize order button on amazon when I saw your note...so I sent Heather has two mommies and Daddy's Roommate instead. They're going to have hundreds books by the time this makes the rounds of the blogosphere. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 11:38 AM on March 18, 2004


I thought headspace was a princess, right?

Anyhow maybe we should send a copy of the book to every school in the district. That way, the young Miss Hartsell will be able to read the book no matter what school she is transferred to.
posted by whatnot at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2004


omg. two princes? why don't they just call it furthering the gay agenda.

I wonder what will happen to this poor girl if, at some point in her life--in a decade perhaps--she's going through a list of past Oscar winners and brings home Kiss of the Spider Woman based on the strength of William Hurt's performance. I bet she turns gay if her parents don't suss her out quickly enough.
posted by The God Complex at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2004


Caliph Omar ordered that all the books in the library [of Alexandria] should be destroyed because, as he said "they will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:16 PM on March 18, 2004


Hee, I am a princess, whatnot, but I'm happy to be called a prince. :) I'm so glad other folks are buying books for the library- it's the most peaceful kind of protest we can do here, and one that can benefit the kids as well as our social sensibilities!
posted by headspace at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2004


Unlike most of the readers of Metafilter, many parents of young children here in North Carolina are not pro-gay. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. This ain't New York, people.

posted by konolia at 1:24 PM CST on March 18


I wonder if people in North Carolina need a passport to visit New York City.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:37 PM on March 18, 2004


I wonder if people in North Carolina need a passport to visit New York City.

Not everybody here lives in Raleigh or Chapel Hill. Quite a bit of our state is rural and quite a bit of our state is extremely conservative. (Somebody was voting for Jesse Helms all those years.)

And yes, to most of these people, New York might as well be another planet.

And compared to these folk, I'm a liberal.
posted by konolia at 12:51 PM on March 18, 2004


On whether the school librarian knowingly bought a book on gay marriage, my friend the librarian (to whom I had pointed out this discussion) notes:

...it is NOT all that baffling that Hawley did not knowingly select a book on gay marriage. A lot of libraries have blanket orders in place, e.g. "all fairy tale books from this and that publisher" or "all books from any publisher meeting this or that profile". The book jobber sends on the books and the invoice, the books are paid for, catalogued (sometimes simply accepting good cataloguing copy in e.g. OCLC), and shelved -- it is thus possible that even the cataloguer didn't read the book.
posted by SealWyf at 1:04 PM on March 18, 2004


Yay for headspace and dejah420! What great ideas. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 1:04 PM on March 18, 2004


Again, konolia. What's your point? We are all aware that there are huge pockets of bigotry in this country. That doesn't mean we're not still shocked when we see it.

If you're implying that because there are many people who aren't "pro-gay" (whatever that means) their viewpoint is somehow more valid than some less prevalent bigotries, then we're just going to end up in that same old argument we have every week around here. And we don't need to do that.

And compared to these folk, I'm a liberal.

*shudders*

:-)
posted by jpoulos at 1:13 PM on March 18, 2004


I'm having trouble following your point, konolia. Everyone knows the political differences between rural North Carolina and New York City. Are you defending the actions of the parents in holding public property ransom in the effort to censor a book? Do you honestly think ignorance is an acceptable consequence of the parents' freedom of expression? Is free will not an essential component of true faith?

on preview: thanks, jpoulos
posted by divrsional at 1:14 PM on March 18, 2004


Are you defending the actions of the parents in holding public property ransom in the effort to censor a book?
That's not what the article is about. Yet this thread is.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:23 PM on March 18, 2004


That poor girl. Here she just wanted to read a nice fairy tale, which she would have happily forgotten shortly after finishing, since nothing in it would have appeared remarkable to her. But no, now she's never going to be able to forget that gay people really make mom and dad freak out. How terribly embarrasing they must be for her.
posted by yesster at 1:38 PM on March 18, 2004


"I was flabbergasted," Hartsell said. "My child is not old enough to understand something like that,"

It's true actually. Very young children don't understand when you tell them you are supposed to hate all people in a certain group. You have to be at least 11 or 12 for a message like that to take.
posted by bowline at 1:39 PM on March 18, 2004


thomcatspike, from the article: "The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated."
In what way is censorship not what the article is about?
posted by divrsional at 1:45 PM on March 18, 2004


The Hartsells should give the book back.

Jpoulos, I am talking about community standards. They differ. Some of us don't think that everyone should be forced to accept the standards of , say, New York, or San Francisco, or whereever. And it won't work to say that they should, because then you are saying that conservative communities don't have the right to be conservative.

Many of you here shudder at the thought of being held to my value system. Why would you wish others to be held to yours?
posted by konolia at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2004


I am talking about community standards.

That's a euphemism. You're talking about bigotry.

And this isn't the "community" speaking, this is one family taking it upon itself to decide which books the community can and can't have access to.
posted by jpoulos at 2:38 PM on March 18, 2004


Bigot \Big"ot\, n.
1. A hypocrite; esp., a superstitious hypocrite. [Obs.]
2. A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.

The point is that people have to argue the merits of their value system, not just call people names. If you have reasons why your standards are better than these parents, express those reasons - and don't deny having standards. Some "community standards" are bigoted.. If you're right, and your reasons are reasonable to people, reasonable people will agree with you. If you are right, but you spend your time calling people ignorant southern Right Wing bigots, NOBODY WANTS TO LISTEN.

I do believe there are a few bigots on both sides of this issue.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2004


konolia: so far, one family has complained. They may be claiming to represent the community, but they certainly don't define it. Apparently not one other family has complained apart from these guys. So I don't see an assault on community standards here.

Second, isn't this a great opportunity for the parents? When my daughter comes home with a book that contradicts the values I want to teach her, I get to explain what we believe, why we believe it, and how it's different from what other people believe; maybe even, if I feel strongly enough, how other people are just plain wrong. That's part of my job as a parent. These guys want the school library to save them the trouble. Tough luck, I say.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:48 PM on March 18, 2004


thomcatspike, from the article: "The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated."
In what way is censorship not what the article is about?
posted by divrsional at 3:45 PM CST on March 18

The title of the article is the focal point, I pointed out the true focal point that makes this wrong. Everything else is opinion. Whom do you think called the media? The school or the parents, reading the linked article the parents are making the outcry other wise we would be reading what officer such n such has to say with added handcuffs.

Konolia, what age would you let a child read about Lot and his daughters? Let it go. No one is forcing this on the child nor at home.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:50 PM on March 18, 2004


And it won't work to say that they should, because then you are saying that conservative communities don't have the right to be conservative.

Sure they have the right to be conservative - they have the right to not read any books they don't want to read. Nobody is proposing that they should be forced to read books that offend them, or that they should be prevented from reading books that reinforce their worldviews.

It just isn't cool for them to impose their personal sense of moral outrage on everyone else by preventing everyone else from reading this book.

Why would you wish others to be held to yours?

That's the entire point! People shouldn't be imposing their value systems on the library by banning this or that book. There are plenty of books published from conservative viewpoints that just make my hair stand on end, but I would never propose that they should be removed from the library. All I want is the same consideration in return.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2004


Add i_am_joe's_spleen comment too.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:52 PM on March 18, 2004


Oooh. You got me with the old Dictionary Definition Defense. A tried and true favorite of high school debate class.

a person who is intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.

I am completely tolerant of such people's opinions. I think they're wrong, but I'm not seeking to deny people their right to their bigotry. I am not tolerant of their actions when they seek to impose those opinions on others by stealing books from libraries.

If you are right, but you spend your time calling people ignorant southern Right Wing bigots, NOBODY WANTS TO LISTEN.

I agree with that, but we're not dismissing all southerners or even all right wingers as ignorant bigots. (Most of us aren't, anyway.) We're dismissing the actions of some people who happen to be ignorant, southern, right wing bigots for their intolerance and their illegal and IMO unAmerican actions.
posted by jpoulos at 2:57 PM on March 18, 2004


The divergence I think konolia is responding to is where people start complaining about the gay book issue and not the "i don't want anybody reading this book" issue. Mars is on the money. One family does not have the right to determine the standards for a whole community. They do have the right to raise their daughter as they see fit.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:58 PM on March 18, 2004


It is a big bad world out there and sometimes, no matter what your personal beliefs are or your "community standards" happen to be, you will be exposed to things that you do not like.

Unless Wilmington is some modern day Stepford where everyone has been programmed to believe the same thing, I would venture to guess there are a couple of people there who actually like the idea of this book being in their library. Are not those people part of the community as well? Shouldn't community standards' reflect their standards also?

While I hate the idea of Mr. and Mrs. Hartsell sitting down with their daughter and using this book to say "Honey, we believe that these two princes are sinners and that by falling in love with each other they are an abomination in the eyes of God," it is their right to say that. In other words, they could have used this book as an opportunity to reinforce their beliefs.

The issue is that they want to prevent anyone from seeing the book:

The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated

I'm no Christian, but the minute somebody tries to prevent me from having public access to my local library's copy of the bible, I'd be taking it to the street. Trying to pretend that ideas that offend you don't exist seems to prevent discussion of those ideas, which (IMO) ultimately makes it difficult for people to find ways of dealing with each other.

I mean, wouldn't it be nice if New York and North Carolina could have a conversation instead of making inaccurate blanket assumptions about each other?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:59 PM on March 18, 2004


Dude, I'm not trying to "get you." I agree with you. I'm just pointing out what I see as the key weak point of these parents' argument - that they have the right to dictate to the library. Every other detail of the story - the content of the book, the religion of the parents, the socio-economic makeup of the area. None of that is necessary to make these parents' action wrong.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:05 PM on March 18, 2004


And if you focus on preventing a tiny minority from forcing their opinions and standards on the community - no matter whose side that minority is on - you're halfway home. These parents obviously monitor what their children are reading, to some extent, so instead of flailing on about what books are in the library they should encourage other parents to be involved with their kids, know what they're reading, and *NOT* expect the librarian or the school to raise their kids for them.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:13 PM on March 18, 2004


And it won't work to say that they should, because then you are saying that conservative communities don't have the right to be conservative.

What "community"? Is the modern world really that divided into neat little segments where everyone within a 5 mile radius has the same belief system? I know that in my town we have the "Festival of Light" (the local fundamentalist Christian lobbying organisation) only a few doors down from a nightclub with loads of gay patrons, as well as one of those satanic fantasty role playing stores. It's called diversity. And it's called defining standards at the broadest level possible (national? international even?) at the same time as creating a free, open society so people can choose what they want to experience.

It's also called parents taking a bit of bloody responsibility for how they choose to raise their children. I respect their right to be offended by this book. I can even tolerate their decision to deny their child some freedom to explore and learn on her own. But, more than anything, I'm offended by their blanket claim to speak for their "community" and to appoint themselves moral guardians of the information their "community" can access.
posted by Jimbob at 3:40 PM on March 18, 2004


The sad thing is, Wilmington isn't rural North Carolina. It's a college town with an active gay community populated largely by Yankee transplants like myself. I know more gay people here than I did when I lived in Manhattan. Community standards my ass.

If I were Ms. Hawley, I'd be bashing these bastards' door down for messing with my collection. I'm tempted to anyway.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 4:00 PM on March 18, 2004


There is a second issue, beyond the censorship.

They're taking their kid out of a school because they don't like the contents of its library. The kid has to adjust to a new situation, get new friends, and be picked on as the kid whose parents are prudes. And why? So that the parents can make a point.

So, it's worthwhile to discuss the merits of that point, I think. After examining the issue methodically, my conclusion is that they are full of horse shit.
posted by Hildago at 4:58 PM on March 18, 2004


Personal information: My father (as well as my mother) is a librarian, and he is also a devout Muslim. When The Satanic Verses came out circa 1989, with accompanying fatwas and the author going into hiding, my dad ordered a copy for his library. He brought it home, read it, and then put it back on the library shelves.

That is what libraries are all about - providing access to all sorts of points of view, even if they conflict with "community standards" of decency - heck, even if they conflict with the librarian's own standards of decency. A library is a gateway to all the collected knowledge and literature of the ages, not just the inoffensive parts.
posted by skoosh at 5:31 PM on March 18, 2004


Hm. Looks like I have to deal with the consequences of spending the rest of the day in meetings after making a post. Some people missed the point of what I said-- my issue is not one of sex... obviously, the books are non-sexual. I suppose I could write a cranky post about how "in my day" pedantic books were written using heavy-handed analogies that all but the most dull-witted grammar school students could see right through. But realistically, my point was that same-sex love is not an issue that grammar-school students, themselves, are going to confront. What? Is a child going to read it and think, "oh, thank God-- it turns out I'm not alone!" The book strikes me as essentially different than, say, Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate in that the first two depict real-life situations that the child readers may deal with, while the fairy tale book brings issues of gender preference to the table before those issues are really confronted within the life of a pre-pubescent child.
posted by deanc at 5:50 PM on March 18, 2004


deanc, my daughter was already explaining to me at the age of four that two men kissing was yucky, impossible, and hilarious, having seen a brief vignette on TV.

Pre-pubescent children confront (or rather, absorb from many sources) "issues of gender preference" very early. I can assure you that wrestling with how to explain, or even whether to explain, that daddy himself might have enjoyed the occasional masculine snog can happen annoyingly early.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:16 PM on March 18, 2004


"? Is the modern world really that divided into neat little segments where everyone within a 5 mile radius has the same belief system

I can take you to communities around here that are, indeed pretty much that way. There are districts within driving distance where there is still prayer in school, for example, because that is what the parents and administration want. Again, these are rural districts, everybody knows everybody, and they all at least give lip service to Christianity. No one is offended because no one who would be offended lives anywhere near the school.

I do think librarians need to be paying attention to what they are ordering, and that parents need to be aware of what sort of books are being offered. I doubt these parents ever dreamed a book such as this one existed, much less was on the shelves at their child's school.
posted by konolia at 7:09 PM on March 18, 2004


...while the fairy tale book brings issues of gender preference to the table before those issues are really confronted within the life of a pre-pubescent child.

But isn't this what ordinary romance-oriented fairy tales do, for heterosexuality rather than homosexuality? The fact that children grow up much more conscious of heterosexual romance than of homosexual romance creates a situation in which one seems more 'normal' than the other - a state much more likely to breed bigotry. Pre-pubescent children don't experience 'issues of gender preference,' but if they're going to be culturally exposed to heterosexual love, then there should be no problem with cultural exposure to homosexual love.
posted by bubukaba at 7:22 PM on March 18, 2004


I doubt these parents ever dreamed a book such as this one existed, much less was on the shelves at their child's school.
Isn't that what libraries are for?

and what bubukaba said.
posted by amberglow at 7:35 PM on March 18, 2004


I do think librarians need to be paying attention to what they are ordering, and that parents need to be aware of what sort of books are being offered. I doubt these parents ever dreamed a book such as this one existed, much less was on the shelves at their child's school.

So what? Who cares? I don't care if 90% of people in the state hate black people and don't want books about black kids playing with white kids in their libraries. It's abhorrent and should be frowned upon, regardless of their religious affiliation.
posted by The God Complex at 8:09 PM on March 18, 2004


And compared to these folk, I'm a liberal. -konolia

Now, you know I love you darlin'...but damned if you haven't just scared me out of my desire to move to North Carolina. I've always loved it when visiting, but whooeee...if you're a liberal, I reckon they'd have my black-wearing literati self tarred and feathered before I could say "Boo!".
posted by dejah420 at 8:34 PM on March 18, 2004


Nah, dejah, NC's great. But you may want to start out in someplace like Chapel Hill before tackling someplace like Rockingham or Robeson County.
posted by Vidiot at 8:53 PM on March 18, 2004


Yeah, Dejah, I doubt you'd be moving to the places that you wouldn't like. For real, stay out of Sampson County. ;-)

If you do come down give me a holler-we do have Starbucks here.
posted by konolia at 4:12 AM on March 19, 2004


If you do come down give me a holler-we do have Starbucks here.

I'm surprised they let Starbucks in. Isn't good coffee, like, against god or something?
posted by jpoulos at 6:08 AM on March 19, 2004


Yup. That's why we have to settle for Starbucks.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:21 AM on March 19, 2004


I knew that was coming. :-)

Hey, out here in the boonies, that's the best we've got.
posted by jpoulos at 6:48 AM on March 19, 2004


screw that. in georgia, we get our coffee at the golden gallon! it's good as hell, too!
posted by mcsweetie at 7:43 AM on March 19, 2004


like Chapel Hill before tackling someplace like Rockingham or Robeson County.

The problem is that the farm land is all out where y'all say not to be. ;) Do you think the fact that I like NASCAR might be enough to keep them from tossing me on the faggots? (The burning kind...not the decorating kind. Although, god knows, I could use a decorating kind too...)

I dunno...maybe I'll go start a berry farm on the west coast of Canada. Canada is looking so rational right about now.
posted by dejah420 at 7:47 AM on March 19, 2004


I'll be a hired hand on the ranch (for decorating, not the actual berry work) : >
posted by amberglow at 8:31 AM on March 19, 2004


Ridiculous. I hope the school continues to stay strong.
posted by agregoli at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2004


I think it is amazing how people really think that large cities are hugely progressive, and small towns are devoid of any gay people.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2004


NASCAR covers a multitude of sins. Come on down...
posted by konolia at 12:14 PM on March 19, 2004


konoloia: NASCAR covers a multitude of sins.

Best comment on Metafilter ever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2004


« Older This...  |  Fart in a jar.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments