Trenton, book burnings, and electronic equality
It’s a busy summer and I’m late on all of these, but there are a few articles I’d really like to share. And since there’s plenty to read about Obama (rightly) being under intense scrutiny for his stance on gay rights, I’ll share some stories that have received less attention.
First, Advocate.com reports that a Christian group in Wisconsin is trying to force a public library to let it burn a gay-themed children’s book. (I couldn’t make this stuff up.) As per the story:
A group calling itself the Christian Civil Liberties Union filed a claim with the city of Milwaukee seeking the right to burn a public library’s copy of a young-adult book with gay content, according to the American Library Association.
… The CCLU claim describes Baby Be-Bop as “explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian,” and charges that the four plaintiffs, “all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library” because the book contains the word “n*****” (my edit) and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and “put one’s life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.”
I find both the CCLU’s name and move extraordinary audacious, as if they’re too near-sighted to see a mirror properly. First, plenty of classics use “racist language” to make a point (Huck Finn anyone?). Political books are not only expressly allowed under the Bill of Rights, but they’re extremely important; Uncle Tom’s Cabin comes to mind. And of course there’s no law against writing something “anti-Christian,” which apparently to them means describing anything not in tune with their interpretation of the Bible. I wonder how many other great works of literature fall under that category? Certainly the work of all non-Christians, so throw the works of Lao Tzu and Confucius in the bonfire too. Finally, I’d like to point out that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no circumstances in which groups are granted the right to burn the property of public libraries.
The book itself sounds fairly innocuous from it’s description at Amazon.com, and I’m going to be sure to ask my library to order it.
In more heartening news, Trenton tied for 10th place in a list of the best places for “Gen Yers” to live. Here’s its ranking from the Business Week story:
10(Tie). Trenton, N.J.
Key Attributes: Among the best small cities for singles, gays, and lesbians. Trenton has a high number of physicians per capita and high percentage of workers with a bachelor degree or above.
It’s nice to see the local town commended for its gay-friendliness, though honestly I never got that impression. While my time in Trenton has been limited, I’ve seen and experienced enough anti-gay sentiment in the area to make me wary of any place with such a high crime rate. When I mentioned the article to my mother, who’s a social worker in the city and so intimately familiar with its many problems, she said whoever wrote the story “has obviously never been to Trenton” if they recommended young people live there.
I also stumbled upon an article on a study that says gay men are slightly better students than their straight counterparts, value academics more, and volunteer more of their time as well. It looks like the conclusions are drawn from some fairly strong data, so while I’m not a big fan of drawing lines between different groups based on sexuality, it’s nice to see my particular group come out ahead for once!
Finally, the most important news to ever grace this blog—gay marriage is now legal in The Sims 3, the latest version of the immensely popular game to which I was hopelessly addicted as a teenager. I always appreciated in that first iteration of the game that two men or two women could fall in love, so it’s nice to see game developer Maxis keeping up with the times. This development has spread throughout the media, but I particuarly like blogger Lyle Masaki’s nice post about it over at AfterElton.