Mar 1, 2007
Eliot Ness and the Untouchables are on a hot and dangerous case. No, it’s not going after bootleggers and drug kingpins, gangsters and mafia chieftains or suspected terrorists. Instead, his G-Men are looking for dirty words in Nobel-Prize winning and classic American literature.
Sad, just sad.
As you know – as the world, unfortunately knows - the anti-gay hate group known as “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) has been waging a losing book banning battle for the past four months against “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them,” Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's first novel, "The Bluest Eye," an acclaimed memoir written by Richard Wright in 1945, "Black Boy " and the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel "Slaughterhouse Five.” The group falsely claims they are pornographic.
Earlier last month Vicki Fyke, the leader of the hate group and the Livingston County Teen Age Republicans, sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse claiming the books in question violate child pornography laws and further makes the ridiculous claim that the books' presence in high school classrooms violates the law by disseminating sexually explicit material to minors. The sad and surprising thing is they have not laughed in her face, and they are actually investigating these baseless and ridiculous claims.
This only gives encouragement to this small, lunatic fringe group.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney said the investigation has been turned over to the FBI, and she estimated it would take a couple of weeks or a month to finish the investigation, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.
In a press release, Fyke called Morrison's book "The Bluest Eye" a "graphic child rape book" and said LOVE is "encouraged that so far, both the U.S. attorney and the county prosecuting attorney are taking seriously our attempt to protect students from exposure to obscene material that is harmful to minors."
David Morse, the county prosecutor, said he's finishing up reading the books, and hopes to have a formal opinion by early next week.
However, in order to be legally defined as pornography, a book must be found to appeal only to readers' prurient interest in sex, and have no literary or educational value.Fyke has been circulating excerpts of the books, but Morse said the entire works must be considered.
I have read both the “Bluest Eye” and "Black Boy,” and there is no way those books meet the definition of pornography. Black Boy is an autobiography, and I don’t even recall much if any sex in it at all. There is no graphic rape scene in the “Bluest Eye.” In no way was the sad and disturbing molestation description graphic nor could it be called titillating or found to appeal only to readers' prurient interest in sex.
The books went through a vigorous review to be considered as part of the advanced placement English curriculum. They have already been approved for the curriculum by a group of teachers from the particular school, a district wide subject-specific content committee, a district wide curriculum and assessment committee, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and finally Superintendent Chuck Breiner. And finally, the elected school board approved the books. The school district was asked to review the Freedom Writers, and after a review it was decided it should stay.
This censorship quest just adds fuel to the fire that Howell and Livingston Country are narrow-minded racist communities. This hate group wants to push the clock back to the bad ole, dark days of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
The Detroit News reports that The American Library Association has been tracking books banned and challenged since 1990. About 70 percent of the challenges are in regards to material in schools or school libraries and 24 percent were of material in public libraries.
"I am not aware of any contemporary prosecutions in the last 10-15 years, actually I'm not aware of any, unless you go back in history to the Scopes Trial," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.
The Detroit News is also running a cyber survey asking readers if they think the books are obscene. So far, almost 80 percent do not think they are obscene. So maybe Fyke can explain how 20 percent is the majority. I guess in addition to skipping English class she also skipped math class.