Library Board Members Censors Newspaper


soy_mustang writes "I guess this board member did not realize that there is a process for this. But this board member has been very anti-growth for the library.

Full Story."
The story says 3 Cook Memorial Public Library patrons criticized library board member Jack L. Martin for removing copies of a controversial weekly newspaper from the library and throwing the issues in the trash.
Martin has defended his actions, calling the Reader's Guide - the suburban version of the Chicago Reader - "pornography." He had one vocal supporter at the meeting, a Vernon Hills resident who said "smut" did not deserve to be displayed publicly. More Here.


I wonder which word was in the headline. As for that word being obscene, it strikes me that only an entire work can be ajudged obscene; not individual words. Plus, pornography is not necessarily obscene, and, yet again, it is not illegal. Three people cannot possibly constitute a representative sample by which one may determine community values, etc, etc, etc. . . .

Do you have a court-case for 'trashing with intent to prevent others from reading == theft'? Is it federal? What level? Supreme Court maybe?What if paper is libeling, and you want to prevent people from tarnishing your good name? Not a defense, eh?-- Ender, Duke_of_URLˇ

(just clarifying) Some pornography is not obscene. Pornography that is obscene is illegal. Your statement wasn't completely clear to me.Art that is obscene, is also illegal. Miller test, right?Community values are decided in the court of law, ie: it's a crap-shoot.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

Our Boston Public Library board and BPL President Bernard Margolis delegated R. Kowal one of the BPL Directors to censor, delay, deny and use punitive additional fees to deflect access to public city documents at the library.’ü

Fair enough. Sorry for misinterpreting you.

I don't think anyone was arguing that it was any less a free speech case. We were just clarifying what happened, because the original article was vague.

Regardless, he was plainly trying to stifle speech in the process. Whether a paper is free or not is not the point. A prof at the Medill School of Journalism said that if it was a whole truckload versus two or three papers, there would be a greater impetus for a free speech case. That's ridiculous. Using monetary worth or quantity to decide whether or not free speech has been violated is a dangerous yardstick.

Anyone can take _a_ copy of a free newspaper dropped off in stacks at public locations, but taking _all_ copies, for the purpose of preventing others from having access to the publication, has been found be theft or interference with First Amendment rights before.

The word was "motherfucker." I say this with authority because I wrote the article, though I did not title it.
The whole article can be read at my site here:

The Reader's Guide is a condensed version of the Reader, with a couple of the feature articles/columnists and all of the ads/entertainment/review sections. They drop stacks off at suburban locations just like they drop the Reader in the city.

The article says he removed thirty copies of the paper. Was it a library subscription, or was it more like a stack of free newspapers in the community area of the library? I don't know about the suburban paper, but the Chicago Reader is dropped off by the hundreds all over the city. Anyone can take a copy and do whatever they want with it - line their birdcage, recycle it, even read it :).

(just clarifying) Some pornography is not obscene.
Pornography that is obscene is illegal.

That is
correct. Confusion derives in large part from people failing to
properly use terminology. The ultra-conservative element uses
terminology in an obfuscatory fashion primarily out of
intellectual naviete, although it is certainly in their best
interest to deliberately confuse issues. They wouldn't be able
to promote generalized hysteria if they employed proper
analytical techniques and used words to mean what the word

Media outlets misuse terms out of simple
sloppiness. A prime example of that is the way the press
uncritically reports child molesters as being pedophiles. Not
all pedophiles are child molesters, and not all child molesters
are pedophiles.

Part of the problem is that a lot of things in
life can be slotted into more than one category. Consider the
idea of "roles" in psychology, for instance. At one and the same
time, you are somebody's son, brother, uncle, nephew, boss,
co-worker, subordinate, etc. Which role you play at any given
time depends on who you are interacting with. Many works can
be both artistic and pornographic in the same way, and how the
work is perceived depends on who is looking at it.

Art that is obscene, is also illegal. Miller test,

Right. For those not familiar with the Miller
test, there is a
brief description here

Community values are
decided in the court of law, ie: it's a crap-shoot.

And this brings us to another part of the problem. There is
really no way to differentiate between art -- or sometimes even
medical illustrations and scientific fact; biology textbooks have
had pictures of the vagina censored -- and porn. Even though the
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Miller test must be used to
determine if a work is legal or proscribable, all such
determinations are subjective. There is no measurable quality
that can be used. So something could be found legal in
California and proscribable in Tennessee and Kentucky. A
situation federal reactionaries have been exploiting since before
the internet. However, I believe that the Miller test is the
best of a bad situation. If you try a work in a court of law, at
least it is being subjected to a review process. This means it
is more like selection than like censorship.

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