I’m hoping someone in the SCLM actually does some digging on this; it strikes me as a disturbing trend. It doesn’t bother me as much as George W. Bush’s spending the 2000 presidential debates bragging about all the people he had executed, but it does bother me nonetheless:
WASILLA — Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.
According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.
Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job.
I’m not holding my breath on this; after all, relatively few people care about libraries, I realize. But I’m certainly going to keep my eyes open to see if any real reporters dig in on this. And please note, O readers, that I’m not saying that Palin is in fact a book-banner; I’m just wishing that the SCLM would look run down some leads and give a fuller picture of this. (By the way, when Internet searching for this, search under “Palin book ban” or something of the like; a search for “Palin librarian” will yield a whole mess of perverts’ blogs waxing vulgar about their “sexy librarian” fantasies and Palin’s fit to them.
Also, since people keep asking my opinion when I don’t have one yet, I did a bit of Internet digging during my lunch hour this afternoon. That’s when I turned this up. I also saw a number of reports that Palin campaigned for mayor of a small town on an anti-abortion platform but none yet that she’d pushed for any actual policy as governor, and in fact a couple sources say that as recently as two years ago she would not answer questions in a gubernatorial debate about abortion policy.
I know my good friends at the CRM are quite impressed, but I’m starting to wonder whether this is a gimmick candidate. As far as I’m concerned, Palin so far looks like a typical Republican politico–she pushes the hot buttons during campaign season and then forgets about them (to turn her wrath on public librarians, some of the few people in this nation less powerful than college English teachers) once in office. Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I think that abortion seems to be off the table for yet another election cycle, and book-banning might just be on the table.
In other reading news, Steve Jobs once again indicated that he’s just too hip for books and other such non-Apple technologies in a NYT interview:
Mr. Jobs can be like that when he assesses the competition.
Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I don’t like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I know, I’m always doing the double-disclaimer: I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, neither Mac nor PC, neither capitalist nor communist. It’s that Socrates thing again, I’m sure. Or the fact that Republicans and Mac-heads are jittery about such things. But back to ebooks and such, I still heart my Sony reader, and I imagine that other folks dig their Kindles just as much. The portability and readability of such a collection (310 public domain books and counting that fit into a small, light, elegant reader that I carry with me everywhere, effectively making my backpack’s smaller pocket a small college library) is enough to commend it to me, even without the bells and whistles of the Kindle. I can only imagine that a Kindle would be even cooler.
Finally, to my goodly readers: I promise that, when we start reading Republic in my freshman English classes on Tuesday, I’ll have some good philosophical posts coming in the days that follow. I’ve not turned into an exclusively election-watching blog. I promise.