literature

Why Do Some Folks in Wisconsin Want to Publicly Burn This Book?

babybebop

What makes the book Baby Be-Bop so special? Published in 1997, Baby Be-Bop is part of young adult writer Francesca Lia Block’s “Weetzie Bat” series and focuses on Weetzie’s best friend Dirk; the story is “a very sweet, simple, coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery that he’s gay.” It also happens to be a title that a crazypants conservative organization in Wisconsin not only wants yanked from public libraries, but burned at the stake. Yes, really.

In the book, “Dirk is beaten by gay bashers but steadfastly clings to the possibility of finding love,” notes Salon. To a group calling themselves the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries, that’s enough to poison the minds of children! That’s why they wanted Baby and other gay-oriented books pulled from a list of suggested gay and lesbian titles; then they wanted the books removed from the youth section and placed in the adults aisle.

And then came the Christian Civil Liberties Union. Not satisfied with the library’s decision (they opted not to make any of the requested changes), the CCLU is suing the library for, among other things, “damaging” the “mental and emotional well-being” of library patrons. What’s their claim? Using a backdoor approach, CCLU insists the appearance of the word “nigger” in the book makes the book racist. Retorts Block: “Obviously I use those words, including ‘faggot,’ which is also in the book, to expose racism and homophobia, not promote it.”

If they get their way, the CCLU won’t just have the library’s only copy of the book removed from shelves, but “publicly burned.” Hey, maybe we can use Glenn Beck’s book as kindling?