Wednesday, December 01, 2004

We Don't Have the Heart to Tell Him About Batman & Robin 

Via our esteemed colleague SpinDentist at the All Spin Zone: A crafty legislator has figured out how to trick every schoolkid in Alabama into reading more gay and lesbian literature:
An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.

A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda" . . . .

Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said . . . .

If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters.

When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups.

Allen said no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include nonfiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books like "Heather has Two Mommies," it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as "The Color Purple," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Brideshead Revisted."

The bill also would ban materials that recognize or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of Alabama. Allen said that meant books with heterosexual couples committing those acts likely would be banned, too.
Has there ever been such an ingenious scheme to boost the popularity of gay authors among today's MTV- and videogame-addicted youth? We are reliably told that in Montgomery alone, sales of Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, and the Iliad have quintupled since Rep. Allen made his announcement (sales of Mickey Spillane's Vengeance Is Mine remained more or less stable). Hordes of curosity-seekers have descended on local libraries, hoping to check out well-thumbed copies of The Well of Loneliness (Radclyffe Hall), The Price of Salt (Patricia Highsmith) and Sisters (Lynne Cheney) before the ban goes into effect. A number of undergraduates at Auburn, Alabama, and UAB have reportedly formed private foreign-language study groups in order to experience the forbidden thrill of reading the lyric poems of Sappho in the original Greek, and the sonnets of Shakespeare in the original English.

Family traditions being what they are in Alabama, the high-school production of Oedipus Rex will go on as planned.

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