Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Bogus Book Ban

The bogus quotes attributed to Gov. Sarah Palin have been debunked here. Another liberal canard has been forwarded around the Internet. As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin banned books - lots and lots of books.

That's the story, but it is no more true than the bogus quotes. However, this time there is a grain of truth to the story, just as there was a grain of truth to "Oliver Stone's JFK" - John Kennedy was a President and he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The End.

Back in 1996, the Assembly of God church in Wasilla was advocating the removal of a particular book from local bookstores. The book, "Pastor, I Am Gay" was written by Pastor Howard Bess of the Church of the Covenant in Palmer, Alaska. Sarah Palin, was a private citizen at the time, not yet mayor, and was participating in the church effort.
After her mayoral election, but before officially taking office, Palin asked the local librarian what would be her reaction if asked to remove books from the library. The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, said she would resist any book removal. After taking office, Palin again asked Emmons during a city council meeting how one would go about removing or banning a book. Palin says it was a rhetorical question as she was new to the job and was getting requests from constituents to ban books.

According to Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife, no specific titles were mentioned during the City Council meeting. "Palin herself, questioned at the time, called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head “about understanding and following administration agendas,” according to the Frontiersman, the Wasilla newspaper.

Chairwoman of the Alaska Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, June Pinell-Stephens,has been asked if any books were actually banned. She checked the files and came up with nothing. No books were banned.

A coincidental event that has lent credence to the book ban charge was the dismissal (some say 'firing') of the librarian. Emmons was a city employee appointed by the town mayor and it is traditional for the appointees of the former administration to be dismissed by the incoming mayor. This is a common practice even up to the Presidency. The Clintons dismissed the White House travel office staff and all of the U.S. Attorneys, and the G. Bush administration dismissed some of the U.S. Attorneys.

In the case of Emmons, the librarian had supported Palin's mayoral race opponent and Palin stated in the dismissal letter that she, Palin, didn't believe Emmons was sufficiently loyal to the new mayorship. However, all dismissed appointees could reapply for their positions and many did and were hired by the Palin administration. There was a public appeal for Emmons and Palin rescinded the dismissal letter.

The list of books purportedly banned by Mayor Palin is lengthy. A commenter at librarian.net seems to be the source of the book ban list. Jessamyn West, a librarian herself, quickly dismissed the list as bogus. The list of banned books is:
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth
The inclusion of the Harry Potter books is a dead give away because J.K. Rowling had yet to write the stories of the sorcery wunderkind. The truth is the list of books is from "Books Banned in the United States - A Public Service Report from Adler & Robin Books". It is a non-comprehensive list of books that have been banned somewhere in the U.S. at some time in our history.

Sarah Palin asked about the procedure for banning books, how the librarian would respond, and NO books were banned from the public library in Wasilla by Mayor Palin nor were any books banned from public libraries in Alaska by Governor Palin. No attempts to ban books from public libraries was ever attempted by anyone in the Palin administrations.

Document Central for the City of Wasilla, provides a PDF response to the banning issue emails which they have received recently. Click “City Documents - Recently Requested - Former Mayor Palin”, then click “Banned or Censured Books Response” PDF. Quipster quotes,

We at the City of Wasilla have received many emails and requests for information about “banned or censured” books at the Wasilla Library while former Mayor Palin was in office. We have no record of any books being banned or censured ever.
Again, another bogus charge made by liberals to stir up fear over a non-issue, and event that never happened. We win, they lose, as Ronald Reagan once said.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Mike's America said...

So the lefties LIE about Palin's effort to squelch free speech while they trample on her civil liberties by hacking her email.


Indigo Red said...

AND they see absolutely no conflict!