I wasn’t going to really talk at length about this, because in many ways it’s just more of the same. But it’s become such a ridiculous fractal of stupid, where each level reveals further intricate patterns of idiocy, that it’s worth covering.
Here’s the story:
Following a Daily Press article, First District Supervisor Bill Postmus on Wednesday ordered county libraries to remove a Japanese comic book that contained pornographic cartoons.
The book “Manga: Sixty years of Japanese Comics,” became the subject of controversy after Victorville resident Cynthia Jones’ 16-year old son told her the book contained illustrations of sexual acts and sex with animals. The book was found to also be available in branches located in Hesperia, Apple Valley and Barstow.
The book in question is here. Note that one reviewer there says, “This is a great book about Japanese animation. I ordered it for my twelve year old daughter as a Christmas present since she loves anime. You should be aware that there are many graphic sexual drawings that leave nothing to the imagination. It is borderline pornographic. Expect to tear out lots of pages if this is for children.” (Do parents out there really give their children books with pages torn out of them?)
So here’s the situation. Library gets in a book about an art form. Since the art form involves comics, naturally it’s assumed that it’s for kids. Because everyone knows no adults are interested in comics and there are no comics that are unsuitable for kids. Therefore, no one needed to check and make sure there was any reason not to shelve it in the kid’s section before doing so.
Now, a sixteen year old gets to the library and checks it out. The discovery is made of adult content. We’ve no idea what any of the context is for the description of content. Over at BeaucoupKevin, Kevin Church asked if the book did in fact include what was alleged. Commenter Mark Cook replies:
I own the book, and can confirm that it does depict both [illustrations of sexual acts and sex with animals]. There’s a chapter on manga meant for a mature audience, and another on personal agendas. Both reprint images involving pornographic material. The “Developing Maturity” chapter mentions and shows ways manga obscures or replaces genatalia due to Japanese law (page 100), but is mostly concerned with graphic (although non-sexual) violence and relatively innocent titilation.
The “Personal Agendas” chapter reprints pages from erotic manga on page 144, including Hot Tails and Bondage Fairies, the latter of which is a page of a fairy having sex with a chipmunk. So the allegations are true. It’s all placed within a more academic context, but with that and some of the pages depicting GRAPHIC violence, I’d have a hard time arguing not lending it out to kids without their parents permission. It seems silly to pull the book off the shelves in general, though.
The book was not reshelved in an area outside of the children’s section, it was removed.
Victorville Councilman Bob Hunter said that come July 1, when the city takes over the library from the county, many policies will be changed.
“I want the city library to be a family-friendly place,” Hunter said.
The councilman was quick to say he does not believe in censorship of books, but was also clear to point out the need to protect underage library members from explicit content.
In other words, censorship. The government removing material it has deemed to be offensive. The lesson learned here is that no book in the library should be unsuitable for a child. (Incidentally, this article claims that the book already was in the adult section. If that’s true then it further underscores the idea that yes, even adults aren’t allowed to read material unsuitable for children.)
It should also be noted that the “child” in question is sixteen. Old enough to drive, and nearly old enough to go to war. We’re not talking about small children here. Do people really think that, without the immoral teachings of the public library, which has led many an innocent child astray, a sixteen-year old would not be exposed to sexual material in any way?
Another point to keep in mind is, the book in question is about manga, which also has a history of being graphically violent. Yet not a word is being said about any images of violence that may be in the book. Just boobies.
The right wing, which is so often behind this type of foolishness, likes to mock liberals with the concept of the “nanny government.” And yet, this is literally a nanny government in action. The State is stepping in to decide what is suitable for you, an adult, to read. Seems to me that the opponents of intrusive government should be all over this issue, but since it’s protecting their delicate sensibilities, they’re mute. They’ll mock Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village to Raise a Child while expecting the entire village to raise their child.
All of this stupidity, and I’ve only barely touched on American society’s completely bizarre attitude towards sex.