Gossip Girl controversy goes national on FOX News

gossipgirl

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FOX News ran a national broadcast today about the Leesburg, Florida controversy over the Gossip Girl series of books in a public library.  The segment, Unfit to Print?, features Dixie Fechtel and Dianne Venetta, the two mothers who brought their complaints before the Library Board, had them rejected, and are now petitioning the City Commission to have the books moved from the Young Adult section.

In the interview, Venetta states, “this is not about censorship” but then calls upon parents “to go and see what’s in the youth sections of your library.”

Read a letter that the Kids’ Right to Read Project sent to the Leesburg Library Advisory Board, stating that parents may not demand that public library holdings reflect their personal views.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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10 Responses to Gossip Girl controversy goes national on FOX News

  1. Two Florida Jewish princesses helping the world be a shittier place. Go back and drink your vodka and sit under the sun and get cancer and die off like some endangered species. They obviously don’t have a job, otherwise they might have something important to do, but they don’t.

  2. J. Sonnenblick says:

    @ Paul – Um, why in the world would you throw in the random (and in this case, inaccurately-applied) ethnic slur?

  3. Dianne Venetta says:

    Censor means to suppress, or otherwise edit, remove or delete information, none of which we intend to do. Censor also refers to the supervision of other’s manners or morality. To us, the way you raise your kids is your business, not ours, nor do we want the job. Censor can also be used to identify an adverse critic; fault-finder. It seems to me, we BOTH fall under that category and we’re glad for the common ground. It’s called free speech; the right to debate. So let’s get on with it.

    No one is trying to ban books. Our intent is responsibility. There are laws in every state aimed at protecting minors. They’re known as “Harmful to Minors” statutes and clearly state the parameters society must adhere to in regard to our youth. Many books marketed to the YA audience violate these statutes. While it’s an author’s right to write whatever they choose, it’s not their right to dispense it to whomever they choose. There are limits.

    Age limits, and they apply to many things we do. From driving a car, to drinking alcohol, to serving in the military, including the right to vote, we as a society have deemed certain ages to be appropriate and inappropriate for particular activities. Sexual conduct is one of them. Some states have ascertained 18 as the appropriate age, others 16, but in NO state is it 12 years of age.

    Which brings us to the issue at hand. You want your kids to read these books, then let them. You want your local library to make them available to your child, so be it. They’re your tax dollars, too. But don’t tell me it’s a child’s right to read whatever they choose, because it’s not, unless of course, you want to do away with the current laws in your state. If so, I say, more power to you. Engage in the process, take action, but until then, the laws stand. Laws we are ALL required to follow.

    No one is asking for the books to be removed from the library, despite claims from the opposition. No one is asking to circumvent your authority as a parent. What we are asking for is compromise. The books stay in the library, but are categorized according to content. This can take the form of a specific shelf of books requiring parental consent, much like exists in our public middle schools; it can take the form of labels, much like the music, video and movie industry utilize; or it can simply be a re-organization of materials. Change the young adult section to span the ages 12-16 (are 12-year-olds really young “adults?”), and the books in question moved to the general book population. After all, 18-year-olds are officially adults, and 17-year-olds, well….they’re almost there, aren’t they? It’s probably a good time for them to get a glimpse of what’s waiting for them outside the safety of their parent’s supervision.

  4. Ms. Venetta–Thanks for taking the time to make these comments. I agree with you that moving books to a different section of the library is not censorship. As you say, it is a compromise that allows parents to make decisions for their own children. Thank you for making it clear to your interviewer that you’re not interested in banning books.

    The problem is that it’s very contentious, legally and subjectively, what constitutes “harm” to a minor. What is pornographic to some is artistic to others, for example. And, some 12 and 13 year-olds are more mature than others. Moving and re-labeling books that some consider offensive may be the best compromise possible. But this is still a restriction of young people’s access to information, and that is not ideal.

    We’re interested in hearing more voices engaging this topic and hope the conversation continues here and elsewhere.

  5. Pingback: Whatever You Do, Don’t Read These Books « The Virtual Loft

  6. Dusty Matthews says:

    The Leesburg Public Library staff members have proposed a compromise. It has been approved by the Library Advisory Board and will be presented to the Leesburg City Commissioners at the meeting on Monday, September 28th.

  7. Scott says:

    I wish my life was so devoid of other things to worry about that I had enough free time to vigorously pursue such a non-issue as this one.

    Forcing blinders on a child teaches them nothing. The fact that these two are even taken seriously is the real problem here. We have a lot of real problems to solve in this world, and any moment of attention given to this issue is a true waste of time.

  8. We had a problem here in Australia where an artists painted a naked 13 year old girl in the name of art. He was charge with child pornography but was let off

  9. sare says:

    What is wrong with you people? Spend your time doing something worthwhile and not just critique teen novels, irrespective of where the books are stored, kids will still read them!
    Seriously gossip girl is a show and be thankful if your kids actually prefer to read, than watch a tv show.

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