I know, I know. The Palin Train Wreck is about to leave the station (and who can doubt that her upcoming debate with Sen. Joe Biden is going to be anything but an epic fail?), the bailout package is wandering the halls of Congress demanding braaaiiinss, and as John McCain watches his poll numbers sink, he gets more frantic by the hour, which leads to endless entertainment. Who has time for anything else?
But this is important, my darlings. It’s Banned Books Week, and with a vice presidential candidate who’s all about the book banning, it’s more important than ever that we don’t let the banners and burners get a leg up on us.
In reading through lists of challenged books over this past year, I’ve noticed an ongoing theme: sex and fantasy. The banners are of the opinion that the slightest description of sex, the merest hint that homosexuality isn’t eviiil, and the faintest whiff of witches or wizards are reasons to ban books. And they’re not limiting themselves to screaming blue murder over blue language at the local school library.
On September 10, ABFFE and 18 groups issued a statement urging Congress to protect American writers and publishers from the growing threat posed by libel suits that are filed in foreign countries in an effort to intimidate them. The lawsuits are filed in countries that offer less protection for criticism than the United States and where the burden of proof rests with the defendant to prove the truth of any allegedly libelous statement. Defendants in these cases sometimes have to defend their books in countries where they have never been published. The practice of filing foreign libel cases against Americans has been denounced as “libel tourism.” The statement, which was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls for passage of the Free Speech Protection Act of 2008 (S. 2977). Modeled on a New York law, S. 2977 provides that foreign libel judgments cannot be enforced in the United States if the speech is not actionable under U.S. law. S. 2977 also authorizes U.S. authors to countersue the foreign plaintiffs in a U.S. court for damages of up to three times the amount of the foreign judgment if the foreign plaintiff acted to suppress their speech. Click here to read the statement.
The burners are serious about censorship. We’re going to get serious right back at ’em. So, my darlings, grab your buttons and your favorite banned book, and make a statement: Your psychological hangups don’t dictate my reading material!