Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (2014) s11e10 Episode Script

Public Libraries

Welcome to "Last Week Tonight!"
I'm John Oliver.
Thank you so much for joining us.
It has been a busy week,
from China launching a probe
to the dark side of the moon,
to Boris Johnson getting turned away
from voting in the U.K.
under his own voter ID rules.
But we're going to focus on the U.S.,
with the hard crackdown on students
protesting Israel's ongoing
military assault in Gaza.
At UCLA, cops fired so-called
"less lethal" bullets into the crowd,
and at City College
and Columbia in New York,
police swarmed campuses
in numbers so extreme,
this student summed it up
pretty well.
What do you think
about the NYPD moving in?
It's insane.
We have a right to protest.
We have a right! Look at that!
That's fucking crazy.
What are you gonna do
if you get arrested?
I can't really do much.
- Are you gonna go with the police?
- If they start arresting? I guess so.
Okay, first:
did that reporter just ask
"Are you gonna go with the police
if they arrest you?"
Kudos to that student for giving
the calmest possible answer
to what might be the dumbest question
ever asked on TV.
"If the guys with guns put you
in handcuffs and drag you to the jail."
- "Will you go with them?"
- "Yeah, I guess so."
Also, thoughts and prayers
to the loved ones of the one boomer
who was killed by hearing
that student say "fuck" on Fox News.
Somewhere, a family's
writing pee-paw's obituary:
"Paul John Roberts
passed away in his home
when his eyeballs, heart, and butthole
exploded at the same time.
He's survived by his wife
and three adult children
who no longer speak to him."
Police have broken up demonstrations
at over 80 campuses nationwide,
often under the pretext that it was
necessary to keep students safe,
and combat antisemitism.
And look, some Jewish students
have reported feeling unsafe.
And there have been scattered
examples of antisemitic rhetoric
among protesters
in and around campuses.
And that is clearly unacceptable.
But for what it's worth,
some Jewish student groups have
expressed support for the protests,
or even been actively
involved in organizing them,
to the point that there was
a Shabbat service
at the university gates at Columbia.
Also, these protests
have been overwhelmingly peaceful.
When there's been violence,
it's mostly been directed
at the protesters themselves.
You might've seen protesters at UCLA
getting attacked as the police stood by
or the multiple cases of police
inflicting violence themselves,
like in this footage of them
throwing a 65-year-old professor
at Dartmouth to the ground.
How exactly was she a threat?
The only crime I see that 65-year-old
tenured professor committing
is maybe sneaking a Brazil nut
from the co-op's bulk section.
Also, that woman is not only Jewish,
she's a professor of Jewish studies,
yet she's being
brutalized by police,
supposedly there to keep Jewish
people safe.
And to justify
their disproportionate response,
those in authority
have gone out of their way
to paint these protests
as something sinister.
Eric Adams, New York mayor
and future "Club Shay Shay" guest,
suggested students
were puppets of "outside agitators"
and implied there might be a larger,
nefarious scheme afoot.
Why is everybody's tent the same?
Was there a fire sale on those tents?
There's some organizing going on.
There's a well concerted
organizing effort,
and what's the goal
of that organizing?
Okay, first, of course
these protests are organized.
Most protests are organized.
You sound like an idiot.
When New Jersey sends us mayors,
they're clearly not sending their best.
Second, the ubiquity
of those tents on campus
can perhaps be explained by the fact
that they're incredibly cheap.
As a reporter found this week,
students searching Amazon for "tent"
would be prompted to buy
the green Camel Crown tent for $35
and offered one-day shipping.
In fact, if you search
"cheap shitty tent" on Amazon,
the first result is that very tent.
So, which explanation
is more likely here?
A shadowy force is engaging in a big
camping supply-related conspiracy
which was only foiled
by expert tent sleuth Eric Adams?
College students are broke and never
scroll past the first result on Amazon?
It's important that we consider
both sides equally.
The conspiratorial rhetoric continued
when an NYPD deputy commissioner
went on TV to fearmonger
about the big scary chains
they encountered on doors at Columbia.
This is not what students
bring to school, okay?
This is what professionals
bring to campuses and universities.
These are heavy, industrial chains
that were locked with bike locks,
and this is what we encountered on
every door inside of Hamilton Hall.
What are you talking about?
something students
absolutely bring to school.
That particular model is promoted
on Columbia's own fucking website,
which even sells them at a discount.
It's also called
the "New York Fahgettaboudit Chain".
Which is perfect.
Because that chain promises you
can lock up your bike in New York,
and then with total peace of mind,
you can "fahgettaboudit!"
But the nonsense didn't stop there.
The NYPD also posted some
of the damning evidence they'd found,
including a book on terrorism,
all caps,
which turned out to be this book,
an academic study
by a British professor,
and very much
not a how-to manual,
given that it asks questions
like "What can we do to stop it?"
As for safety, it emerged an officer
accidentally fired a gun
inside that building at Columbia,
with the police later explaining
it was only because
he was using it as a flashlight.
And why are you using your gun
for that?
There's a flashlight
on your fucking phone,
and you cannot tell me
a cop in New York City
doesn't know
how to use one of those.
You're on them
all the fucking time!
And again, I am not saying that
there weren't some individuals
in these large crowds
saying indefensible things.
But every protest has that.
Everyone who's ever been
to a protest
has at some point seen a sign
and thought to themselves
"Shit, not sure about that one."
"I'm here for abortion rights, do we
really need to bring 9/11 into this?"
But for the most part,
they were very much
in the tradition of campus protests
we've seen for decades.
Even the takeover
of a building at Columbia,
the event used to justify
the police raid this week,
is something that's happened
multiple times before.
In 1968, that building was occupied
to protest the Vietnam War.
In 1985, it was barricaded
for 3 weeks to demand divestment
from apartheid South Africa,
and in 1992, there was a blockade
over Columbia's plans
to destroy the site
where Malcolm X was assassinated.
The university suspended four
of the students involved in that one,
only to later invite one of them back,
Ben Jealous,
to speak at their commencement, once
he'd become the head of the NAACP.
And in the opening line
of his speech,
he reminded Columbia
what had happened to him there.
Whenever I can walk
out of Low Library
and not be led out in handcuffs,
it's a good day.
That's a pretty solid
opening line there.
I'd hate to have been the administrator
that had to invite him to speak there.
"Hi, Ben. So, you can talk
about anything you want, really,
like leadership, or gratitude,
or even forgiving us
for the whole handcuff thing.
It's really up to you,
but maybe that last one, bye!"
The point is, student protests against
injustice generally age pretty well,
and the efforts to criticize
or crack down on them tend not to.
It's alarming how much attention has
been focused on the protests this week,
rather than what
they've been protesting about,
which is what's been
happening in Gaza,
where it seems the Israeli military
is still planning to invade Rafah,
"with or without a deal"
in ongoing ceasefire negotiations,
despite the fact that'd put
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians
"at imminent risk of death".
And for all the concern
over schools here in the U.S.,
it is worth noting that, in addition
to the massive loss of life in Gaza,
more than 80% of schools there
are now damaged or destroyed.
What's happening there
is a catastrophe
that is absolutely worth
vigorous protest.
At a moment
when "student safety"
is the buzzword justifying
so much violence here in the U.S.,
it is worth hearing
what the safety situation is like
for a university student
in Gaza.
Personally,
I feel like I lost everything.
I lost my dreams, my future,
all of my dreams that I imagined.
Before seven months of now,
we just have a building and my
university to go and to study in it.
Now, we don't have anything,
because Israeli occupation
was destroying, destroyed everything.
Finally, thanks
for all American university
that stand by us and make effort
to prevent the war.
Thank you.
We are lost everything,
but we can't lose the hope
because of you,
because you stand by us.
Yeah. That is deeply moving.
And to answer the question
Eric Adams asked earlier:
"What is the goal
of all the student organizing?"
That's kind of the goal
right there.
To ensure
that the safety of that student,
and the hundreds of thousands
like her in Gaza,
in the face of this onslaught.
And I know people will try
and distract you from that goal,
with bullshit fearmongering about
camping equipment and terrorism books.
But if you're at all tempted
to fall for any of that,
may I recommend
you take a lesson
from one of New York's
most commonly available bike chains
and just "fahgettaboudit!"
And now, this!
And Now: Brian Kilmeade Unpacks
His Childhood Traumas.
- Geri, I'm digging the turtleneck.
- Thank you.
I like that, that's stylish.
It's my favorite time of year
for the fashion.
The perfect time to bring 'em out.
I used to beg my mom
not to have to wear 'em.
- Why?
- I felt like I was choking to death.
- I made a big mistake as a kid.
- What's that?
I bought the box,
the Bozo box as a costume.
Don't lose the Bozo label
when Halloween's over.
So people kind of really enjoyed
calling me that for quite a long time.
The first "Planet of the Apes"
I saw in a drive-in.
- Really?
- It scarred me as a child.
I was traumatized when Frosty
the Snowman was put in a hotbox.
- I was too.
- I saw the gloves and the nose.
When Frosty gets in the hothouse.
If you remember "Frosty the Snowman"
it's extremely stressful.
You heard about
the innovations with yogurt?
When I was growing up, they
couldn't figure out a way to mix it,
we had to do it on our own,
it would be at the bottom.
I didn't even know as a kid
you could make your own waffles.
Jello's scared me to a certain level,
knowing it starts as powder.
I was forced to listen to bagpipes
- Forced?
- Yes. I remember the pet rock.
I didn't get one,
we didn't have the money.
I had a MoonScope
as a kid instead of a telescope,
they told me
it was more expensive.
I never found the moon,
I would sit there looking
at the eyepiece, never found it.
I think I was lied to.
Moving on.
Our main story tonight concerns books.
Beloved works
like "The Great Gatsby,"
"Charlotte's Web"
and "The Berenstain Bears".
And you might think "Berenstain"
is misspelled there.
You might remember it as S-T-E-I-N,
but that's wrong.
It's a weird Mandela effect thing
a lot of people misremember,
but it's always been
the Berenstain Beavers.
It was always spelled
with an A.
Specifically, we're going
to be talking about public libraries.
Which lend books, but increasingly,
have become so much more than that.
You can check out books and DVDs
here at Placentia Library,
but now you can also check out
one of these.
You can also check out
a fishing pole and keep it for 3 weeks.
You can check out
a really neat telescope
and have a star party
with your family.
Alongside books and movies are things
like air fryers and bundt cake pans.
If you want to plant a garden,
we have seeds that you can check out.
I don't know of anywhere else that they
can borrow a mounted sandhill crane
and just study it up close.
I'll bet there isn't anywhere else
that you can borrow
a mounted sandhill crane,
because according
to taxidermy-dot-net message boards,
they're very difficult to mount!
When a user named Eric asked for
"sandhill crane mounting information
before I tackle these tall guys",
one person said
"so you know, you will use every curse
word when you are wiring the legs",
while someone called Greg
suggested contacting a magazine
that had covered the topic recently,
saying, quote:
"I am not a bird guy,
but I remember reading that article
and thinking it was fairly easy".
Which, shut up, Greg!
Sit this one out.
Eric's clearly stressing, and you're
telling him to call a magazine?
He's reaching out to his
community for support
and you're not that community
right now.
You're not a bird guy?
This is a bird guys only convo.
Okay, Greg? Fuck you!
The point is, at some libraries,
you can borrow pretty much anything,
from a fishing pole,
to a leaf blower, to seeds,
to a copy
of a "Barenstein Badgers" book.
Again, your memory is wrong.
"Barenstein Badgers"
was always spelled B-A-R,
there was never an E in there.
Not just that, though. Libraries offer
internet access, translation help,
notary services, printing,
and a bunch of other necessities.
They're also a refuge
for unhoused people,
or those without air-conditioning
or heating.
All of which explains why libraries
are incredibly popular,
garnering an estimated
four million visits every day,
mostly by young adults, women,
and low-income households.
As you probably know from the fact
that I'm talking about libraries now,
they're in trouble,
because they've become another
front in the ongoing culture war.
We've talked about how conservatives
have targeted school libraries,
but those debates have emphatically
migrated over to public libraries,
with residents spouting
talking points like these.
I do not want our children,
grandchildren seeing these books.
I feel they're damaging
psychologically.
It isn't left versus right,
but it's right versus wrong.
These books are wrong,
and they're destroying our community.
Books in our
taxpayer-funded libraries
make the jobs of human
and child traffickers easier.
Okay, that last one sounds
a little hard to believe,
unless one of the books
at the library
happens to be
"Child Trafficking for Dummies".
But those aren't isolated instances.
The American Library Association
documented efforts to censor
over 4,200 unique book titles
last year in schools and libraries,
the highest level they've recorded,
with the number of titles targeted
for censorship at public libraries
rising by 92%
from the previous year.
Bomb threats have been called in
to libraries across the country,
librarians themselves have been the
recipients of some pretty nasty abuse.
I had heard people saying
that I was a pedophile,
I was grooming kids.
People in my profession
horrible things.
I can say unequivocally
we're not pedophiles or groomers,
and I can say
that on behalf of our staff.
That is not why we go
into public service or librarianship.
Yeah, of course not.
That is why you go into the clergy.
Everybody knows that.
We all know.
So, given all of this, tonight,
let's talk about public libraries:
why they're under attack, where
these challenges are coming from,
and what the consequences might be.
And let's start
with how public libraries operate.
'Cause generally, they receive
the vast majority of their funding
from local government sources.
And they're typically overseen
by a local library board,
which can either be elected,
or appointed
by members
of the local government.
And librarians actually
get rid of books all the time,
through a process
known as "weeding".
Weeding is done
for all sorts of good reasons,
like a book being out of date,
severely damaged,
or simply so weird no one wants
to check it out anymore.
Books like "Body Watchin' is Fun!",
"Latawnya, The Naughty Horse,
Learns to Say 'No' to Drugs",
the Christian child-discipline classic,
"God, the Rod, and your Child's Bod".
Fun fact: a new copy of that is
currently selling on Amazon for $214.
If you don't want to pay that, you
better hope your local library has it.
Or you can actually just borrow
my copy here instead, it's fine.
But what we're talking about tonight
isn't "weeding",
it's books being removed,
or relocated
from one section to another,
purely for their content.
And most libraries already have
a "book challenge" protocol,
allowing anyone who feels that
a book violates its selection policies
to submit a formal
"request for reconsideration",
after which,
staff will review the complaint
and decide whether to leave it,
reshelve it, or remove it entirely.
And you should know,
there are some legal limits here.
You can't demand a book be banned,
even if it is "to protect the children"
and that's because,
through the years,
the Supreme Court has recognized
that "speech cannot be suppressed
solely to protect the young
from ideas or images
that a legislative body
thinks unsuitable for them."
But there's an exception
when it comes to obscenity,
which for minors is defined as material
that appeals to their prurient interest
is offensive to prevailing standards
about what is suitable for minors,
"and lacks serious literary, artistic,
political, or scientific value".
The problem is,
some have tried to apply
that standard incredibly broadly.
Take what happened
in Huntington Beach, California,
where the city council
mandated that library books containing
"any content of sexual nature"
be moved away from anyone under 18.
At the direction
of the Huntington Beach City Council,
librarians at the Central Library
are starting to sort
through thousands of books
in the children's section.
Their task, according to officials,
is to relocate books
that contain, quote, "sexual content".
Library staff
began in the health section
and pulled books pertaining
to the human body and puberty.
We also saw books
about boats that were being moved.
A peek at the pages show a child
in a bathtub playing with toy boats,
and a sketch of early explorers.
Yeah, it's ridiculous.
And it wasn't just shirtless rowers
and kids in tubs that got flagged.
That resolution ultimately relocated
books like "Own Your Period",
"Puberty Is Gross
But Also Really Awesome",
and "Everyone Poops",
to the adult section of the library.
And it is ridiculous to do that,
when you're keeping Shel Silverstein
books in the kids' area,
books which contain actual
author photos like this one.
If a kid borrows "Runny Babbit",
reads it, and sees that photo,
don't be surprised if their question is
"Mommy, what's big dick energy?"
And that is not an isolated case.
In one town in Texas,
officials removed three books
from the "I Need a New Butt!" series,
which is a children's book
about a boy who needs a new butt
because his has a crack.
I haven't read it, don't spoil the end
by telling me if he gets one or not.
They also pulled four books
about farts starring a goose,
a snowman, a heart,
and a leprechaun.
You gotta be pretty stupid to believe
that they are harmful to children.
And it does seem that you can make
a killing writing books about farting.
Because there are so many of them,
including, and these are all real,
ones about farting flamingos,
farting unicorns, farting turkeys,
farting princesses,
farting dragons,
and of course, Gary,
the farting gingerbread man.
And while those instances
were one-offs, increasingly,
the lists of books challenged
can be suspiciously similar.
Because challenges are often
coming through highly organized groups,
often conservative,
and extremely religious,
who are compiling and sharing
lists of books to oppose.
Up until 2021,
the vast majority of challenges
only sought to remove
or restrict a single book.
But now, 93% of them involve
attempts to censor multiple titles,
with more than half
involving 100 or more books.
And that starts to make sense when
you see how these groups operate.
Take Clean Up Samuels,
which is sadly not a group
organized around the collective goal
of washing as many guys
named Samuel as possible.
It refers to Samuels Public Library
in Front Royal, Virginia.
The group's held events
at which people filled out
over 500 forms challenging
nearly 150 books,
with one event promising
beer and babysitting.
Which might be the most divorced
dad activity I can think of.
"Okay, kids, get in the car,
I need to go protect your innocence
by drinking beer
and looking at babysitters."
Those book challenges
heavily targeted books
with LGBTQ+ characters or themes,
with people frequently admitting,
when asked
if they'd read the books in full,
that they hadn't,
with answers ranging from "No",
to "Who that is normal
could get through it",
to "I looked at the summary,
it told me all I needed to know".
And that is possible because these
groups often find problematic books
by scanning websites
and Facebook pages that list them,
like Mary in the Library,
Rated Books,
and, perhaps the most prevalent,
BookLooks.
And for a site set up
as a moral crusader,
it is a bit weird that in their logo,
the B and the L are fucking.
Definitely fucking, right?
I know sometimes, I project
horniness when it isn't there,
except for that Shel Silverstein photo,
because I'm dying on that hill,
but I'm having a genuinely
hard time seeing anything in that logo
that isn't a strong B
taking a willing L
and absolutely breaking its back.
BookLooks rates books
on a zero to five scale
from least to most objectionable,
sometimes including a handy chart,
noting the amount of times
that certain words are used.
For instance, this is the chart
for the book "Wicked",
and I'll just say,
if there was a party game
where you had to guess
a book or movie
based solely on one of those charts,
you could sell, no exaggeration,
10 million of those games.
Okay, so let me see,
it's a novel from 2001.
24 fucks.
So, it's not "Life of Pi".
Not "The Other Boleyn Girl".
Hang on, nine dicks?
Wait, is it "Choke"
by Chuck Palahniuk?
Yes! 24 fucks, yes!
I love this game!
Even our book
"A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo",
which has been challenged
a bunch in libraries,
is criticized for featuring
"alternate sexualities;
and controversial political
and social commentary",
citing "The illustration on this
page depicts two male rabbits
holding paws as a human
would hold another person's hand.
The rabbits are discussing
how much they love each other.
And want to marry one another."
You know, filth!
But that is clearly nonsense.
If there's anything controversial,
it's that the animals
dress up for weddings,
but at other times,
they're mostly naked,
except for this badger,
whose arms turn into sleeves.
And even then, the problem
isn't the implied nakedness,
it's just the lack
of consistency there.
To be fair, some titles on these lists
do contain explicit content.
In some cases,
they're books about puberty.
In others,
they may be meant for teenagers,
and contain references to sex.
Which is exactly
why they're not shelved
with children's books
to begin with.
Libraries generally
have an adult section,
a young adult section,
and a kids' section.
It is not like teen books
with explicit content
are shelved right next
to "The Berensteen Bees" books.
It's always been spelled E-E-N.
Your memory is just very bad.
But the content often gets framed
in extremely misleading ways.
For instance,
the book "Let's Talk About It"
has been repeatedly challenged.
It's billed "the teen's guide to sex,
relationships, and being a human",
and here's how one mom in Iowa
argued for it to be restricted
at her local library.
When I initially read this book,
I was filled with anger.
"Sending or getting
an unwanted saucy something"
"from a partner or individual can be
the highlight of your day, period."
"It is thrilling, sexy, and fun."
"The online world
is also a chock-block full"
"of pornography professionals
and amateurs alike,"
"sharing their sexy
adventures online."
"There is nothing wrong
with enjoying some porn."
"It is a fun, sugary treat."
I have to pause because no matter
how many times I say these words,
it scares me.
First, "porn is a sugary treat",
sounds like the tagline for an upcoming
X-rated spin on gummy bears,
an adult film that either exists or
will shortly after this episode ends.
But those words are in the book.
And if you go on BookLooks,
you'll see they're quoted
on their review page.
But if you actually
read the book itself,
you'll see that they are surrounded
by a lot of careful advice.
That one line about sexting
has a ton of context around it,
with advice
like get "prior consent,"
don't share or spread
the photos you receive,
and "wait till you're a legal adult"
to do it.
As for that "sugary treat" line, it's
part of a long, thoughtful discussion
that includes,
among many other things,
that porn can create
"unrealistic expectations",
"the people you see on camera
deserve your respect,"
and if the amount of porn you watch
feels like it's impacting your life,
then it's probably time to pull back
and give it some thought.
Which is good advice!
And in a country where "17 states
provide abstinence-only sex education"
it might be the most honest discussion
about porn some teens get,
especially if they have
the kind of mom
who has a fucking panic attack
at the very idea of it.
And while she will say
that she just wanted the library
to require parental
permission to access the book,
which is still a big barrier to
a teenager who might need to read it,
there've been other attempts to try
and get it out of libraries altogether.
And you do get the sense that people
who want to censor these books
can have no real idea
of what's inside them, or, indeed,
if they're even at the libraries
they're protesting at all,
as happened in Idaho.
Five years ago, this was anointed
the best small library in America.
Today, the trusties a facing a recall.
The director just resigned.
Do you feel that you've given in?
That you've been defeated here?
Part of me does, yes.
But they start showing up
at your house,
guns on their hips and Bible
tracts in their hands.
Activists demanding that the library
ban more than 400 books.
Like "Gender Queer".
Even if we do nothing to you,
eventually,
if you don't repent of wanting
to harm our children with pornography,
that's up to God.
Things need to change. Otherwise,
you bring curses upon yourselves,
from the most high.
- Are any of those books here?
- Not a single one.
Yeah. It's true.
Activists demanded
that books they hadn't read
be removed from a library
that didn't have them,
which as far as protests go
is about as meaningful
as marching to the Hollywood sign
to demand Frankie Muniz return
his Oscar for "Schindler's List".
He's not there, he wasn't in that,
and the very fact you're protesting
this tells me you're probably
not familiar with the material.
And even after that group
was told the library
didn't have any of the 400 books
they wanted banned,
they demanded a policy promising
not to order controversial books,
or, if they did, to place them
in an adults-only room.
They also asked
the library to judge books
"under God's standards
and not of the world's standards".
You know God.
The freak known for building
a nude garden he could watch all day,
the guy who commissioned
an all-animal fuck boat,
and who sat back and watched
while his son got nailed?
Am I misunderstanding the Bible
by taking things out of context?
Forgive me, I haven't read it.
I looked at the summary.
It told me all I needed to know.
And it is worth taking a moment
on the book they mentioned there
"Gender Queer",
because it is the most frequently
challenged book in America
for the last three years running.
The memoir of an author's struggles
with gender identity,
but it's often reduced, out of context,
to some of its most explicit passages,
one of which, you may remember,
was read aloud in the Senate
last year by John Kennedy.
"I got a new strap-on harness today.
I can't wait to put it on you.
It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly.
You're going to look so hot.
I can't wait to have your cock
in my mouth.
I'm going to give you
the blowjob of your life.
Then I want you inside of me."
That clip is just a perfect mix
of being horrendously disorienting
and kind of delightful.
It's like watching a dog
walk on its hind legs
and then watching
the same dog say
"I can't wait to have
your cock in my mouth".
It is not unreasonable
to say that shouldn't be shelved
alongside the picture books in the
children's section of the library.
And you know who agrees with that?
The author of the fucking book.
I don't think
the book is for children.
But I do think that it is appropriate
for teen readers,
and also that libraries
have books for all ages,
and you shelve them
with signage,
and people browse and find the books
that they need in a library,
and not every book
in the library is for every reader,
but they still need
to be available.
It's not a children's book, which
is why it's not shelved with them.
And that author raises
an important distinction there:
some books aren't appropriate for
5-year-olds, but might be if you're 16.
Those are two different phases of life
that we don't treat the same way.
It's why a 16-year-old driving
a car is perfectly legal,
and a five-year-old driving a car
is a news story.
And yet, for some,
keeping books like "Gender Queer"
out of the kid's section, where,
again, it isn't, still isn't enough.
Children are very literal.
They're very impressionable.
They're going to look
at those pictures
and they very much look
like children in the pictures.
Sex isn't for kids.
It has serious consequences.
We should not be encouraging them
to engage in sexual acts.
In Lapeer, the book
is shelved in the adult section,
but Parkes says
it's still attractive to children.
It's beautiful, it really is.
It's nature.
So, I think this would attract
any child
you know, it's cartoonish.
But it's in the adults section!
If a child finds it,
it's because they're somewhere
that they're not supposed to be.
So, if anything, the kid should
get into trouble, not the book.
And honestly,
that is where the rod comes in.
He's eating cookies on the cover.
He needs to be stopped!
The argument is basically
"This can't be on library shelves,
because a kid could somehow find it".
But that is something to which,
this understandably exasperated
librarian in Louisiana,
has a pretty good response.
I have parents who want these books
out of the library
because they don't want
adults to have access,
because what if my child
goes in the adult section?
If your child is in the library
by itself, or their self, sorry,
they probably have a phone,
in which case, my library
is the least of your problems.
This debate ends the second you
remember the existence of the internet.
If your child has a phone,
they already have access to the most
sexualized images you could imagine,
by which of course I mean,
this uppercase B
taking L on a one-way trip
to pound town
like they're the last two letters
trying to start a new alphabet.
Thankfully, not all these challenges
are successful.
That mom's efforts to get
"Let's Talk About It"
restricted at her local library failed.
But in many places, even if
that happens, the fight isn't over.
These groups will then campaign
to replace members of library boards,
sometimes doing so
with wildly misleading claims,
like in this ad, endorsing
two conservative board candidates.
- Hi, mom! I'm home!
- Hi, honey! I'm in the kitchen!
How are you today?
How was school?
We went to the library today
and there's a special room for kids,
and this funny lady,
she read us a book,
and she showed us
all the pictures in the book.
- Mommy?
- Yes, honey?
What's anal sex?
So, there is lots wrong with that,
including that no kid hears the words
"anal sex" and then is like
"I'm gonna ask my mom
about that later".
No way! You go to your friend
with the oldest older sister
and sit with her
the whole bus ride home.
Also, where the fuck
was she going with that dish?
I'm not trying to Monday-morning
quarterback her process,
everything else about her
dishwashing is totally normal,
you get dressed
in your regular chores outfit,
no gloves and a spotless sundress,
check and check,
then you wash dishes
without any soap.
That all makes sense.
But why would she hold a soaking wet,
un-soaped dish instead
of putting it back in the sink?
You gonna put it away?
It's too wet for that, lady.
Is it heading for a drying rack?
If so, why would it be
so far away from the sink?
Move your glass
with one flower out of there
and put a drying rack in its place,
you dopey freak.
But the thing is, the two candidates
that ad was supporting won.
And who is on the library
board matters.
In Campbell County, Wyoming,
the library system's executive director
refused to remove 17 books
centered around the experiences
of LGBTQ+ people.
And I will note, not one
of the requests to remove the books
had come from a parent
whose child looked at, or checked out,
a book their parent thought
was inappropriate.
Not one.
While the library board backed her,
the county commission
then quickly appointed
four new members to the board,
who then moved to fire her.
Although, before the vote,
they did get this impassioned speech
from a local resident.
When you start outlawing books
because of your personal
religious and moral beliefs,
in this country, you're going
against the constitution,
you're going against
what we were founded for.
And you're personally
an affront to myself
and most of the people I know.
This is a shitshow,
and I'm embarrassed for this board.
Thank you.
I have to say, usually when you see
a white guy with a bushy mustache,
holding a microphone
at a town meeting, you get worried.
But he proved my expectations
wrong there.
Kudos to you, guy-I'd-otherwise
assume-stormed-the-Capitol.
But for all the support the argument
to defend the library director
got in that room,
a little later, the board did this.
I make a motion to vote
for Terri Lesley's position
to be terminated as the Campbell
County Public Library director.
All in favor.
There you have it.
Yeah, they fired her.
And for what it's worth,
you shouldn't be allowed to fire
someone while wearing this hat.
That was bought
on a beach day in Cabo.
You screamed "How much, por favor?"
and, "How much dinero?"
The guy claimed he was giving you
a deal while charging you double.
And you were like "Gracias,
I'm gonna wear this
to the meeting where I fire
a librarian despite public opposition,
the Cabo hat I got
for 'muy caro, pendeja'.
That means on sale!
Gracias, senor! Muy bien!"
The point is these groups have
all sorts of levers they can pull.
If all else fails, they can even try and
cut the library's funding altogether.
In Jamestown, Michigan,
community members
voted to defund a library
after an intense campaign by residents
who accused it of "grooming children"
and "promoting an LGBTQ ideology"
despite the fact that of roughly 67,000
items in the library's collection,
only around 90 of them
had LGTBQ themes.
Yet that vote eliminated
84% of their annual budget.
So, the library was immediately
under threat of closing.
And at a board meeting afterward,
one librarian pointed out
this was a natural consequence
of voters' actions.
I am shocked that the people are
surprised that the library will close.
You can't vote to eliminate
funding for the library
and say
you don't want it to close.
You can't say you're doing it
just to send a message
and not expect there to be
consequences to your actions.
It's not a symbolic move.
It's a death sentence.
And I hope the community
is prepared to live with that.
Exactly. Why wouldn't the library close
if most of its funding is cut?
Any establishment, whether it's
a business or a government service,
needs money to operate.
If you don't believe me,
just visit your local Circuit City
and ask them to explain it to you.
Thankfully, last November,
there was a vote to restore that
library's funding through next year,
and it passed comfortably.
And that is the thing here:
protecting libraries is a fight,
but it's also winnable.
It means standing up to these bullshit
attacks wherever they occur.
And they are occurring a lot.
This year, more than 100 bills have
been introduced in state legislatures
intended to ban or restrict material
in school and public libraries.
Some of which are bonkers.
Just last week,
the Alabama House advanced a bill
"allowing librarians to be arrested
for the content they allow on shelves".
And Arkansas and Oklahoma
have already passed laws
to to prosecute librarians
for distributing "obscene" content.
This madness speaks to the need for
libraries to be vigorously defended.
And I know it is not shocking
that an episode of this show
would advocate
to support your local libraries.
It's pretty much implicit
in our whole vibe.
My suit, glasses, and desk scream
"support your local libraries",
to which the rest of my body would say,
out of respect, "a'shush".
But depending on where you live,
you might need to pay attention
if people start showing up at your
local library board meeting
and reading ear-catching parts
of young adult books.
Because while it is understandable
for parents to want to have a say
in what their kids
can check out from the library,
it is not their right to have a say
in what can be checked out at all.
And it frankly doesn't feel
like a coincidence
that so much of this conversation
concerns LGBTQ themes,
as it seems
this is just the latest way
to try and push that community
out of public spaces,
to send a message that their lives
and stories aren't welcome,
and by extension,
to tell anyone growing up questioning
that the answers
are off-limits to them.
All of which is a long way of saying
libraries badly need our support,
so they can continue to serve
the diverse needs of their communities,
while also, of course,
lending out air fryers, seeds,
and copies
of "The Berensteam Cheetahs".
We all loved those books as kids.
And before we go tonight, if there
are BookLook-type organizations
doing a report on this show,
I'll save you the trouble
and do the chart myself.
10 fucks, three shits,
three dicks, and three cocks.
Fuck off, BookLooks!
Look! I just made it 11.
That's our show, thanks for watching.
Now, if you'll excuse me,
I have something that I badly need to
return to the library before midnight.
Good night!
I can't wait to have your cock
in my mouth.
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