Jump to content

And now, a gay book ban!!


glutes
This topic is 6554 days old and is no longer open for new replies.  Replies are automatically disabled after two years of inactivity.  Please create a new topic instead of posting here.  

Recommended Posts

Look at this from a red state...

 

Gay book ban goal of state lawmaker

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

KIM CHANDLER

News staff writer

 

MONTGOMERY - An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.

 

A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda."

 

"Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle," Allen said in a press conference Tuesday.

 

Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

 

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said.

 

A spokesman for the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center called the bill censorship.

 

"It sounds like Nazi book burning to me," said SPLC spokesman Mark Potok.

 

Allen pre-filed his bill in advance of the 2005 legislative session, which begins Feb. 1.

 

If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters.

 

When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups.

 

Allen said no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include nonfiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books like "Heather has Two Mommies," it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as "The Color Purple," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Brideshead Revisted."

 

The bill also would ban materials that recognize or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of Alabama. Allen said that meant books with heterosexual couples committing those acts likely would be banned, too.

 

His bill also would prohibit a teacher from handing out materials or bringing in a classroom speaker who suggested homosexuality was OK, he said.

 

Allen has sponsored legislation to make a gay marriage ban part of the Alabama Constitution, but it was not approved by the Legislature.

 

Ken Baker, a board member of Equality Alabama, a gay rights organization, said Allen was "attempting to become the George Wallace of homosexuality."

 

Aside from the moral debates, the bill could be problematic for library collections, said Jaunita Owes, director of the Montgomery City-County Library, which is a few blocks from the Alabama Capitol.

 

"Half the books in the library could end up being banned. It's all based on how one interprets the material," Owes said.

 

E-mail: kchandler@bhamnews.com

 

Copyright 2004 al.com. All Rights Reserved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

'We have to protect people'

 

President Bush wants 'pro-homosexual' drama banned. Gary Taylor meets the politician in charge of making it happen

 

Gary Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2004

 

The Guardian

 

What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

 

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

 

I ask Allen what prompted this bill. Was one of his children exposed to something in school that he considered inappropriate? Did he see some flamingly gay book displayed prominently at the public library?

 

No, nothing like that. "It was election day," he explains. Last month, "14 states passed referendums defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman". Exit polls asked people what they considered the most important issue, and "moral values in this country" were "the top of the list".

 

"Traditional family values are under attack," Allen informs me. They've been under attack "for the last 40 years". The enemy, this time, is not al-Qaida. The axis of evil is "Hollywood, the music industry". We have an obligation to "save society from moral destruction". We have to prevent liberal libarians and trendy teachers from "re-engineering society's fabric in the minds of our children". We have to "protect Alabamians".

 

I ask him, again, for specific examples. Although heterosexuals are apparently an endangered species in Alabama, and although Allen is a local politician who lives a couple miles from my house, he can't produce any local examples. "Go on the internet," he recommends. "Some time when you've got a week to spare," he jokes, "just go on the internet. You'll see."

 

Actually, I go on the internet every day. But I'm obviously searching for different things. For Allen, the web is just the largest repository in history of urban myths. The internet is even better than the Bible when it comes to spreading unverifiable, unrefutable stories. And urban myths are political realities. Remember, it was an urban myth (an invented court case about a sex education teacher gang-raped by her own students who, when she protested, laughed and said: "But we're just doing what you taught us!") that all but killed sex education in America.

 

Since Allen couldn't give me a single example of the homosexual equivalent of 9/11, I gave him some. This autumn the University of Alabama theatre department put on an energetic revival of A Chorus Line, which includes, besides "tits and ass", a prominent gay solo number. Would Allen's bill prevent university students from performing A Chorus Line? It isn't that he's against the theatre, Allen explains. "But why can't you do something else?" (They have done other things, of course. But I didn't think it would be a good idea to mention their sold-out productions of Angels in America and The Rocky Horror Show.)

 

Cutting off funds to theatre departments that put on A Chorus Line or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof may look like censorship, and smell like censorship, but "it's not censorship", Allen hastens to explain. "For instance, there's a reason for stop lights. You're driving a vehicle, you see that stop light, and I hope you stop." Who can argue with something as reasonable as stop lights? Of course, if you're gay, this particular traffic light never changes to green.

 

It would not be the first time Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ran into censorship. As Nicholas de Jongh documents in his amusingly appalling history of government regulation of the British theatre, the British establishment was no more enthusiastic, half a century ago, than Alabama's Allen. "Once again Mr Williams vomits up the recurring theme of his not too subconscious," the Lord Chamberlain's Chief Examiner wrote in 1955. In the end, it was first performed in London at the New Watergate Club, for "members only", thereby slipping through a loophole in the censorship laws.

 

But more than one gay playwright is at a stake here. Allen claims he is acting to "encourage and protect our culture". Does "our culture" include Shakespeare? I ask Allen if he would insist that copies of Shakespeare's sonnets be removed from all public libraries. I point out to him that Romeo and Juliet was originally performed by an all-male cast, and that in Shakespeare's lifetime actors and audiences at the public theatres were all accused of being "sodomites". When Romeo wished he "was a glove upon that hand", the cheek that he fantasised about kissing was a male cheek. Next March the Alabama Shakespeare festival will be performing a new production of As You Like It, and its famous scene of a man wooing another man. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is also the State Theatre of Alabama. Would Allen's bill cut off state funding for Shakespeare?

 

"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be". In any case, he says, "you could tone it down". That way, if you're not paying real close attention, even a college graduate like Allen himself "could easily miss" what was going on, the "subtle" innuendoes and all.

 

So he regards his gay book ban as a work in progress. His legislation is "a single spoke in the wheel, it doesn't resolve all the issues". This is just the beginning. "To turn a big ship around it takes a lot of time."

 

But make no mistake, the ship is turning. You can see that on the face of Cornelius Carter, a professor of dance at Alabama and a prize-winning choreographer who, not long ago, was named university teacher of the year for the entire US. Carter is black. He is also gay, and tired of fighting these battles. "I don't know," he says, "if I belong here any more."

 

Forty years ago, the American defenders of "our culture" and "traditional values" were opposing racial integration. Now, no politician would dare attack Cornelius Carter for being black. But it's perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people for what they do in bed.

 

"Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it."

 

Of course, Allen was talking about books. He was just talking about books. He never said anything about pink triangles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

In order to post in the Political Issues forum, all members are required to acknowledge that their post is in compliance with our Community Guidelines.  In addition, you acknowledge that it meets the following requirements: 

  • No personal attacks: Attack the issue not the person
  • No hijacking: Stay on the subject of the thread 

  • No bullying, hate speech or offensive terms/expressions

In addition, if the moderators feel someone is reporting content simply because if it’s political stance (such as but not limited to reporting it as off topic but not other off topic replies by those that agree with your stance), the reporting person may receive a warning as well.

Content that does not comply with the above requirements will be removed.  Multiple violations may result in a loss of access to this forum.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...