Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin, book banner?

Forget Bristol Palin's pregnancy and daddy Levi Johnston's in-your-eye MySpace page. Senator Obama is right -- that kind of stuff should be off limits, although, let's face it, the story has a life of its own, thanks to the American public's obsession with familial soap opera.

Much, much more important is Sarah Palin's political record.

The New York Times today does its due journalistic diligence in a story about Palin inserting the wedge of ideology into her mayoralty of Wasilla, Alaska. This passage in particular made me shudder:

"Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

"Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. 'They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,' Ms. Kilkenny said.

"The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.

"In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were 'rhetorical.'”

Hmm. Firing the librarian sure sounds like a follow-through to me.


  1. That's scary.

    Not the type of person we need in control.

    It's one thing not to let your own kids read certain books, but to fire a librarian after such a conversation.

    I am wondering though, what does Palin say about this?

  2. Her political handlers apparently are not letting her respond.

  3. Can a mayor fire a librarian for any reason? That's so wrong! Not to mention, the very idea of book-banning is abhorrent.

    Another disturbing thing: Many books are "banned" from libraries simply because they aren't popular reading. I was told by a youth services librarian in Louisville, Colorado, that her budget depends on her circulation; thus she reluctantly only buys wildly popular books and videos, so that she'll be given more money for acquisitions. What about the nerdy kid who wants to read an arcane history book, birgraphy, or classic? He won't find them in many of today's libraries. But rest assured he can read or watch Harry Potter, or the Twilight Series...

    There is more than one form of censorship!

  4. It's called the censorship of the marketplace -- a corollary of Gresham's Law, in which the bad drive out the good.

  5. Sorry, but not buying it. This is probably just another story that the New York Times will have to retract and apologize for.

  6. I've heard this from several reputable sources. Book banning is scary; imagine what she could do to the Supreme Court given the chance!

  7. The larger matter of Palin scrutiny in the New York Times is ably explored today (September 7) by the Times' ombudsman.

  8. Book banning is wretched, and this is just another drop (more like torrential flood) in the bucket of why I don't like this woman.

    I'm honestly curious as to what books she wanted banned, and for what reasons. Not that there's EVER a good reason for banning books, but I'd love to hear some more of her circular logic.