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23 January 2008

F6 quoted in News-Sentinel regarding SHORTBUS

Yes you read correctly, (does happy dance) the "local gay-oriented blog" mentioned in Kevin Leininger's article on 22nd of January, (copied below) is none other than this one right here!

F6 originally picked up on the story from Dan Turkette @ Fort Wayne News and then felt obliged to report and review the situation regarding the local controversy started by Mike Hinkle with the Allen County Public Library over the film SHORTBUS. Dan used and cited an article by WANE TV and a letter written by Jeff Krull, ACPL Director, to an unrevealed female patron regarding censorship and the resources and review policies if the Library. Leo Morris, long time editor of the News-Sentinel, also threw some wisdom into the frying pan and we had to take a moment and applaud him for his discourse. We also gave four paws of approval to Justin Roebuck, for his comments regarding the movie and its validity in the general discourse of sexuality in modern America. It would also be wise to note that there are plenty of comments all from different vantage pointes on this topic via F6, Dan, Leo and others.

Earlier this evening, after shopping at Wal*Mart, I happened to catch the end of The Big Show with Pat White which I ended up getting on to talk about this issue for the last three minutes of the show, when I then realized they were citing/quoting me in their review of the story, as it had unfolded to this pointe, during the two minute back and forth dialog with Pat is how I found out about Kevin's article:

It's not library's job to police morality
But its choices reflect local community, officials say.

Less than 50 years after Jeannie's belly button scandalized network television, a film containing sex acts that make “Deep Throat” seem prudish is threatening to do the same for the normally sedate Allen County Public Library. But does the library's decision to buy a single copy of director John Cameron Mitchell's 2006 movie “Short Bus” mean taxpayers are subsidizing pornography, as Mike Hinkle of Fort Wayne complained to News Channel 15 last week? Or is the availability of what Variety magazine called the “most sexually graphic American narrative ever made outside the porn industry” simply a response — as library officials suggest — to dramatic changes in American culture and the technology by which it is distributed and consumed?

The answer to both questions is uncomfortably easy: yes. The hard part is in knowing what — if anything — can be done about it.

“We reflect the culture, but we don't try to drive it (because) the influence we could bring is not great,” said Director Jeff Krull. “It's a tough call to say when something is over the edge, because the line moves.” But has the line really moved that far in this “City of Churches”?

Adult Bibliographer Kathy Witwer, who annually screens thousands of items for possible inclusion in the 3 million-piece collection, said Fort Wayne's culture does influence the library's policies. Even though American Library Association opposes the use of Internet filters on library computers, the Allen County library uses the devices to block access to sites containing pornography or other objectionable materials. Adults can ask the filters be removed, but must request a specific site to prevent “surfing the Web” for porn that could be seen by children.

That crucial point has mostly been lost in this debate. The public can — and should — debate the library's selection criteria, and complain when appropriate. But those concerns should be tempered by the library's efforts to limit children's access to questionable materials. The library does not carry X-rated films, and anyone wanting to check out R-rated movies must be 17 years old. Nonrated films like “Short Bus” are treated the same way, as are the copies of “Playboy” magazine. [CORRECTION:] Contrary to last week's report, Krull said, the library does not carry copies of harder-core magazines such as “Penthouse” and “Hustler.” According to a policy adopted in 1992, the library's collection is designed to include “all points of view on current and historical issues and inclusive portrayals of human experience. ... Partisan or doctrinal disapproval does not result in exclusion or removal of a work from the collection.”

[F6 Quoted:] Many items are added at the request of the public, and the author of a local gay-oriented blog claims to have requested the acquisition of “Short Bus” “so I could review it ... and broaden everyone's queer horizons.”

Witwer said she's uncomfortable about the prospect of being a “censor for Fort Wayne's kids,” and she's right to feel that way. Graphic sexuality is only one of many things people find offensive, and some people have suggested the Bible and other religious texts be removed because of the “wall of separation between church and state.” Why allow “Short Bus” and “Playboy” but not “Hustler”? Krull said “Short Bus” was a legitimate film reviewed by serious critics and Playboy often contains articles by noted authors. The library is also the community's repository of knowledge and culture, both good and bad, and to remain relevant must compete with the Internet and other readily available sources of even more graphic material.

“Short Bus” is not available at Blockbuster Video, however — even though many R-rated and unrated films are. “We try to be a family store,” said Chad White, manager of the store at 6404 W. Jefferson Blvd., who also imposes age restrictions on certain films at the request of account holders, who must be at least 18.

It's not the library's job to protect adults from anything that might give offense. And good parents know it's their job — not Krull's — to equip their children to avoid or resist negative influences.

Even so, the sexual revolution has created too many victims of abortion, broken families, disease and other miseries for us to smugly criticize the days married TV couples with children were forced to sleep in twin beds. Adults can't legally smoke in a Fort Wayne bar or drive without wearing a seat belt. But at least you can still check out an explicit tax-funded skin flick at the library. It's a reflection of our culture, all right — and of us.
I would now like to take a moment to thank Kevin and Pat personally for their treatment of these very delicate topics and issues. While one may disagree in certain percentage with Kevin's concluding opinion, I must give him credit for fair and balanced presentation and for correcting certain misinformation (for reference) in the original news stories and cross blog coverage. And as always Pat, thank you for letting the other vantage pointe be heard as well.

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give medals 4 killing men but 4 loving men they wish you were dead?

give medals 4 killing men but 4 loving men they wish you were dead?
thanks to the sacrifice of many the scourge of Dont Ask Dont Tell in the land of the free and home of the brave will be gone by the end of June!!!!