Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies 8.1

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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12 Comments

  1. That letter from the librarian is humbling, inspiring and wonderful.

    That said, he makes one big error:
    Freedom of speech – the right to talk, write, publish, discuss – was so important to the founders that it was the first amendment to the Constitution – and without it, the Constitution never would have been ratified.

    This is a popular misconception. There were actually 12 articles proposed and passed by Congress as the Bill of Rights. Our current first amendment was third on the list, and only became first because the first two weren’t ratified by the states.

    If you’re going strictly on the order in which they were proposed, a system for apportioning Congressional representatives and a requirement that a Congressional pay raise couldn’t take effect until after the next subsequent election (passed in 1992 as the 27th Amendment) were both more important.

  2. That letter was beautiful. Librarians rock.

    I love when people play the ‘American Values’ card when talking about what amounts to censorship. It’s shocking to think that a decent portion of modern day Americans are -that- uninformed about exactly why this country was founded, and what the founders actually believed. America is (supposed to be) a giant marketplace of ideas, not an upstanding Christian moral beacon, whatever that is.

  3. Awesome letter. I can think of a lot of classic books that wouldn’t be “appropriate” for children too, according to that complainer’s logic. This is like the new book burning — that was “too much” so we’re into asking for the book to be put in a special roped off section with a bead curtain? Sigh…

  4. So, maybe it’s cell phones causing the autism? Someone should show this to Jenny McCarthy so she can go ahead and draw wild conclusions and start a media frenzy…

    I think that mothers that don’t use cell phones during pregnancy probably just don’t have much of a social life and so can spend more time with their kids. Therefore, less behavioral problems…

    =o)

  5. What a great letter. A few years back there was a spat here because the library had a copy of “Heather has two mommies” and another book about the child of two gay men. I can’t remember its title. Ultimatly the library caved the the psycho right wing church fascists and moved the book from the children’s section to the adult section. This wasn’t enough to appease the hate mongering christians. So the preacher of the largest baptist church in town stole the books from the library. He was fined but other than that nothing. His church just seemed to love it.

  6. How weird that I find the Librarian’s letter from SkepChick when it turns out the author is the director of my very own library system.

    What Jamie chose not to mention is that Douglas County is an exceptionally religious, exceptionally red county here in Colorado. Which, to me, makes his decision and subsequent communication on this subject especially important.

  7. You know, my wife has a nail gun. If staples work, then maybe a 10d nail to the forehead would really change your appetite.

    I can almost guarantee this procedure would significantly reduce your appetite.

    Permanently.

  8. The link between cell phones and children’s bad behavior may be questionable, but there is definitely a link between bad cell phone behavior and an increase in my blood pressure. Cell phones should be banned from movie theaters and fine dinning establishments until people can learn some form of etiquette. I am not interested in the party you went to last night, who your friends are sleeping with or the deviant sex acts they performed (unless you are inviting me to join in).

    Oh, and you damn kids should get off my lawn! *smirk*

  9. Love the librarian’s letter!

    In re: the weight-loss staples, practitioners of this woo need to make up their minds about what these are supposed to do! A couple of years ago, my MIL paid her hairdresser, who I’m sure went through lots of intensive training to learn how to perform these procedures (ha!), $50 that she really couldn’t spare to place a staple in her ear to help her quit smoking. She was told that it would also help her lose weight instead of gaining, as is common among former smokers. First of all, if this procedure “control[s] your stomach and large intestine,” how would that control urges to smoke? Maybe it has to do with chakras and chi. Oh, these crazy woo-folk! [eye-roll here]

    The Rest Of The Story: MIL still smokes AND has gained about 50 lbs in the past couple of years. The staple fell out after about 1 1/2 months, so the woo-folk could argue that she didn’t leave it in long enough, I guess.

  10. I think there’s a Larson cartoon about brain stapling. I’m pretty sure that would work, although I’m not entirely sure what it would cure, intelligence, anxiety, fine motor coordination, stuff like that.

  11. Hi there!

    As a librarian, I’m always acutely aware of the ways in which censorship can rear its ugly head. Fortunately, I don’t work in a public library, so I’m spared the front lines of angry parents and religious groups that other librarians are forced to deal with.

    It seems like every year, the American Library Association’s list of frequently challenged books is topped by the types of things that Christian groups find offensive. (“And Tango Makes Three”, “The Golden Compass”, etc) Last year’s winner was a true story about 2 male penguins in the central park who developed a pair bond with each other and “adopted” a penguin chick that they raised as their own. It’s a story about love and acceptance and not judging others. Which is apparently something that Jesus would have gone apeshit over.

    This librarian was apparently a lot more tolerant and accepting that I would have been, since I would have required at least 3 co-workers to pull me away from the keyboard as I immediately began writing a nasty letter back to the complainant telling her that homosexuality is perfectly normal, and that her imaginary friend in the sky is obviously an insecure bully.

    And then of course I’d be fired from my job, have bricks thrown through my window at home, and probably wind up working in a McDonald’s somewhere under an assumed name. So I’m really glad that we have librarians like Mr. Larue. :)

    — Craig

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