Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Protest Letters to Vancouver City officials needed

Dear readers,

Please have a look at this article in the Vancouver Sun, outlining the stupidity and hatred with which some library staff have aligned themselves in a desperate desire for controversy. They have confused "freedom to read", with public subsidy for antisemitic fantasies and crazy conspiracy theories.

It's not as if criticism of Israel is anything new in the meeting rooms of the Vancouver Public Library. This is hardly a topic that has been forbidden that we need to bring out in the open in the name of "freedom to read". What does seem to be forbidden at the Vancouver Public Library are pro-Israel speakers and a range of conservative books.

Please take a moment to write a note of protest to the City of Vancouver Mayor and Council (mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca), the Chief Librarian (paulwhi@vpl.ca), and the librarian responsible for public events (janicdou@vpl.ca)

h/t Pastorius via Elder of Ziyon

7 comments:

Charles Henry said...

This is the write-up for the event at the library's official site:

http://www.vpl.ca/cgi-bin/Calendar/calendar.cgi

"A talk by the author/editor of The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America. Greg Felton has been a journalist since 1993 and has won several awards for investigative reporting and column writing. He now specializes in Middle East politics and Canadian politics.

This event is held in conjunction with Freedom to Read Week."


They hide their disgraceful guest behind the most innocuous of descriptions... he's going to give "a talk", indeed..!

thanks for the email addresses, I'm going to get busy right away. This is completely ridiculous.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Trupeers, I enjoyed your response to Terry Glavins article. Thanks.

Sean Orr said...

I know our internet relations aren't exactly friendly, but in the interest of debate, if this book is so out there, why lend credence to it by banning it? I see Glavin's article as an attempt to bridge the gap between hateful conspiracy theories and legitimate criticism of the state of Israel; an attempt to blur the lines between the two. It is quite obvious that Felton's so called theories are far out there, if only as judged by the other books listed by the same publisher. I don't see it as very different than the pope saying that all Jews need to convert to Christianity. Please don't dismiss me with a personal attack, I'm truly interested in discussion.

sean orr said...

Wait a second, you already said what I said above, but on Glavin's site: "We need to ignore and marginalize those with insane conspiratorial fantasies, by showing them how pathetic they are to free and able thinkers, not turn them into little martyrs in their sad corners of unreality". But now you are calling for letters of protest?

truepeers said...

Sean,

I don't want to ban the book, or put the guy up for thought crimes.

What I'm pissed off about is that the librarians see fit to use their limited public resources of space and time (and money?) to give this guy a platform to speak. He seems to believe in some pretty ridiculous and hateful fantasies.

It is one thing for librarians to maintain an open environment where all kinds of ideas can be debated. But you can't defend such an environment by declining to have any standards. A responsible professional had to be able to make judgment calls about what is an offense to public decency. I think the librarians have failed in this instance and need to be held to account.

What's more the idea that anti-Israel speakers are somehow a precious commodity we don't normally hear from is ridiculous. They have frequently appeared at the VPL, which has also provide space for a guy seling 9/11 conspiracy dvds. This gives one the impression that the librarians aren't as neutral as they seem but are somehow predisposed to be taken in by a Judeophobic fantasy. Maybe it gives them a little thrill, like they're getting another fix of an anti-daddy ritual that they keep playing over and over in their minds.

Just my guess.

truepeers said...

bcf,

thanks again and thanks for the link.

Dag said...

I'm never able to continue with the lesson that the obvious isn't always clear to all. I forget. I have to get those frequent reminders. In this case:

The Corporation of the City of Vancouver, in the person/s of library staff have decided that the public, as an exercise in seeing the vanguard of free speech for the public, as personified by librarians, as promoted by librarians, and as decided by librarians, promote a daring "reading week," as if it wouldn't otherwise happen without such librarian-Guardianship, will witness such daring and bravery when librarians allow and or promote a mentally ill writer to be seen and heard in public, i.e. in the library itself. Wow, says I.

How daring are these fearless defenders of the right to read? How fearless the librarians of the City? Is there no idea too dangerous and too frightening for them to disallow the public access to? Well, yeah, just about half of what goes on in the world upsets them, it seems. But nevermind; back to the fearless defenders of the public's right to read: In the most obvious attempt to seem daring while being even safer than the stereotypical librarian, our library is hosting a mental patient. Wow again, says I. That's likely my last wow of the evening. The reality that glares at us all is tawdry and cheaper than a nickel novel with a missing cover. What could be safer for a librarian than to pretend to defend free speech and the right to read than to have a nut case come to make an obvious fool of himself, a man so obviously insane that only the equally insane will find anything for him but contempt or, in better men than I, pity? Is this lunatic interesting or informed or intelligent or even controversial? No. Hes a grab-bag mind of mental illness. He's such an obvious caricature of an anti-Semite that he's on the face of it a laughable figure. So where, I ask, is the daring? Where the controversy? Where the pushing to the limits the right to speak and engage in ideas unpopular? A rambling and encyclopedic mind of personality disorders speaks? Uh huh. And...?

That's not daring in the sense it's meant to seem to be. It's daring the fury of the public who will see this as exactly what it is: a cheap attempt to seem daring while being so utter timid that one might scream, if only that were allowed in public without the security guards coming at a run. To "allow" a man to publicly speak nonsense is not daring. It could hardly be safer.

No one is asking that this fool's work be banned. Well, no one among democrats and those of us who value freedom for others and ourselves. What I would expect from a librarian dedicated to furthering freedom to read is exactly what the librarians will not do: allow for controversial opinions to be hear and disseminated in the libraries. How daring is it to allow a fool to make a fool of himself in public? But how daring is it to allow a man such as Thomas Sowell to give a reasoned and brilliant analysis of contemporary social conditions among Black Americans?

It is conventional across the board, even among anti-Semite Leftists and those gullible enough to pay them heed, that anti-Semitism is a bad thing to speak in public qua anti-Semitism. No controversy in allowing one to do something innately wrong even among secret or not so secret sympathizers and/or promoters. This poor lunatic is such a cartoon of a neo-Nazi that he will be seen by most if not all normal folk as a stage villain, perhaps even arriving with a curling waxed mustache. And that is what we get?

Why not have a speaker many will find challenging to refute or even to rebut? Why not an honest person engaging in honest debate about honest realities? Well, because that would be daring, would be controversial, would upset many of the Leftists who come to use the libraries for their anti-Semitic hate-fests. Yes, I refer to those of us here at Covenant Zone and our guests and our affiliated bloggers and like thinkers.

Instead we get cheap theater that will satisfy no one and who will only piss off the deeply silly. It's not the crazy guy who is a problem, it's the librarians who can't distinguish between honest debate and an obvious ploy to seem daring.

Get a genuinely controversial speaker. I dare the librarians of this city to even consider it.