Friday, May 20, 2022


We were assured that America's new book banners aren't really book banners -- they just want certain books out of school libraries, and don't want access to the books prohibited altogether. Maybe so. But they're beginning to move beyond school libraries now. Publishers Lunch reports:
The Virginia Beach Circuit Court issued preliminary orders finding "probable cause to believe" that two books -- A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas and GENDER QUEER by Maia Kobabe -- are deemed "obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors" under Virginia state law. The authors or publishers have 21 days to respond to the allegations.
Gender Queer is of course, a frequent target of attacks. A Court of Mist and Fury (the second of four books in the fantasy series A Court of Thorn and Roses) is a less frequent target; it does appear to be spicy ("His fingers slid down, slow and brazen, straight through the core of me, and every point in my body, my mind, my soul, narrowed to the feeling of his fingers poised there like he had all the time in the world").
The orders are the result of agitation by two local politicians: Attorney Tim Anderson, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, petitioned the court on behalf of his client Tommy Altman, a candidate in the Republican congressional primary, Book Riot reported. Anderson and Altman have requested temporary restraining orders against the sale of the books, which they name as being available from the local Hampton Roads "Barnes and Nobel [sic] and through Amazon," as well as lending through Virginia Beach Schools, looking to "enjoin them from selling or loaning these books to minors without parent consent," Anderson said on his Facebook page.
In addition to being an attorney, Anderson is a gun shop owner (naturally). He was once ordered to take on fifteen pro bono cases after it was discovered that he'd impersonated a judge in a phone call to his office staff. He has also defended state senator Amanda Chase, who was censured last year in a bipartisan vote for, among other things, defending the January 6 insurrection in Washington.

Altman is an combat veteran and owner of Sandbridge Tattoo, where the work product might occasionally strike some viewers as ocassionally strike some viewers as not particularly family-friendly.

If you want a quick sense of Altman's politics, I can tell you that the headings on the "Issues" page of his campaign website are GOVERNMENT OVERREACH, CRITICAL THEORY, 2ND AMENDMENT, ELECTION SECURITY AND VOTER INTEGRITY, BORDER SECURITY, PRO LIFE and PRO MILITARY, PRO POLICE.

More from Publishers Lunch:
The TRO motion for A COURT OF MIST AND FURY requests "stopping 'the sale or distribution to minors by any person who publishes, sells, rents, lends, transports in intrastate commerce or commercially distributes or exhibits the book...'," according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The order references revisions to Virginia legal code that went into effect on January 1, which states "When an order to show cause is issued pursuant to this article...the court may issue a temporary restraining order against the sale or distribution of the book alleged to be obscene." Anyone "interested in the sale or commercial distribution of the book" can file a response defending the book, and unrelated parties can file an answer amicus curiae. Once a response is filed, a hearing will be called to present evidence and expert testimony. If no one files a response, the court may judge that the book is obscene, except for a "restricted category of persons to whom the book is not obscene."
So, yes, we're a few feet farther down the slippery slope.

The initial suits are part of a much larger plan (or plot). In a Facebook video, Anderson said, "As parents, you should be now considering, instead of going to school boards, going to courts. We have identified a path to bring courts online and parents who are interested in bringing these fights need to now start taking these complaints to their courts."
Full book bans are coming. These people may proceed in a stepwise fashion, but they won't stop until they're stopped.

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