Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The Fire This Time

Charlie Pierce on the hard-core book-burners.

Remember how so many of those Concerned Moms in Virginia kept couching their Concerns by making the point that, hey, we’re not book-burners or anything? Problem is, if you start down the road that Glenn Youngkin took to the governorship, he gets to stop at the state capitol while you keep going until you arrive at the bonfire. From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star (great old-school newspaper name, by the way):

The criteria for pulling books from circulation this week is “sexually explicit,” but the board plans to refine how material is determined to be “objectionable” for a further review of library holdings. The board voted 6–0 to order the removal. Berkeley District representative Erin Grampp was not in attendance for the vote on that issue. Two board members, Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg, said they would like to see the removed books burned. “I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said, and Twigg said he wants to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

How does any elected public official anywhere in the United States in 2021 get to the point where he publicly advocates book-burning? (I guess it’s a good start if you once worked for flash-in-the-pan Tea Party Congressman Dave Brat, as Abuismail did according to his LinkedIn page.) Well, the first criterion would have to be that he feels empowered to do so by a context larger than a school board meeting. Both Abuismail and Twigg have been part of uproars at previous school board meetings, one of which was shut down by law-enforcement. And, thus empowered, these folks have no intention of stopping at “sexually explicit” material.

In the end, the board only voted on a substitute to Braswell’s motion, put forward by Lee Hill representative Lisa Phelps, to begin the removal of “sexually explicit” books this week and receive a report next week on how many have been removed. Twigg said he would like to broaden the criteria for identifying objectionable books. “There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at,” he said, without elaborating.

“Evil-related material” sounds a bit general. I have read a great deal of “evil-related material” while running the shebeen, but I’m not calling for torching the Congressional Record.

The only evil-related material is the rot coming from the people who are obsessed with other peoples’ reading choices.

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