Gossip Girls at West Bend High
Some West Bend parents are objecting to the use of tax money for such questionable additions to the library. It is good parents should know, review, and approve what is being purchased with their money. The argument by the American Librarian Association for including the Gossip Girls series in a library collection is that reading anything is better than reading nothing. (I disagree with this false dichotomy). The Librarians contend that only by reading trash will young readers be able to recognize good literature should they happen to trip over something such as Wuthering Heights. Source: Pam Spencer Holley of the American Library Association [ALA]
So, I am clear, I believe the Gossip Girls to be trash. The endless parade of casual sex, drugs, and betrayal is titillating, but not redeeming literature. The money of parents should not be stolen in order to purchase these books. It is good for the owners of the school (the taxpaying parents) to tell the hired help (the librarian) what are and are not acceptable library books. Withholding one's patronage is not censorship.
But, the main problem in the West Bend High Schools has less to do with the trash which is the Gossip Girls than with the confiscation of money at gun point in order to buy the books. Even Thomas Jefferson disagrees with the librarians on this one: To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is both sinful and tyrannical.
The problem here is the funding for the West Bend youth propaganda camps. It is coerced and attendance at the camps is mandatory for 12 years. The problem is the tax-funded school which Horace Mann transplanted from Prussia to Boston and which then infected the rest of the country. There must be a separation of State and School.
The article, "The Problem is the School" expounds on the educational problems Jefferson identifies above. The salient quote is:
- With a private school, Newdow can avoid entanglement with beliefs he does not share simply by abstaining from patronizing it. He can’t do that with a government school.
Would anyone care if Living Word Lutheran High School carried Gossip Girls in the library? No. Because unless you are paying the tuition, you will rightly rule that the content of the library at the private school is a private matter.
But, the library contents of a tax-funded school can never be a private matter. Public money means the public as unwilling owners get to dictate the spending of their stolen money.
To the parents of West Bend students:
- If these are not the books you would choose for your young girls, then you should withdraw you support of the school by any means necessary. You pay the bills. You name the tune the band will play.
- You claim you have no power to remove this book from the collection. That removal is censorship. This is a lie. You had the power to remove something from the library shelf to make room for the Gossip Girls. You have the power to remove the Gossip Girls in favor of worthwhile literature. You censored some book(s) to make room for the Gossip Girls. Removing or not selecting new books in order to create room for the Gossip Girls was censorship, because you used the coercive power of the State to inflict your notion of literature on students and parents. If you do not like that the owners of the library (taxpayers) can control the content of the collection they own, then work for a private library, a book store, or open your own library.