When it comes to calls for books to be removed from libraries certain images usually come to mind. Mostly these involve middle aged white conservatives waiving the confederate flag with one hand and holding a beer can in the other. He (because it's usually a guy) will probably have a swastika tattooed somewhere on his person (Possibly his forehead), and he will be indulging in some non nonsensical rant about how allowing children to read Harry Potter will encourage bisexuals to use voodoo to write pro-immigration message on Starbucks coffee cups.
For the most part, this is a pretty accurate image (If you believe CNN, 103% of all white men love swastika tattoos and ranting about immigration). But, recently the narrative has become a little unstuck. At least where I live.
All things considered, I come from a pretty conservative town. And, all things considered, there are a lot of books that aren't in either the school library or the town libraries because white conservative men (and women) demanded that they not be there. Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, His Dark Materials, and any and all Manga, for a start.
However, in recent years, the number of books that conservatives have demanded be burned (in some cases, literally) has been eclipsed by the number number that liberals have been demanding be similarly treated. And when I say "eclipsed" I don't just mean that they have been demanding a few more books be removed from the library. They have surpassed it by a wide margin.
In most cases the justification for this has been relatively simple. The liberals - mostly snowflake\millennial kids form townie families that have moved into the area over the last few years - don't want to see anything that might upset them. The don't like racism, so they demanded that the school dump To Kill a Mockingbird. They also demanded that A Time To Kill be removed, even thought it highlights the senselessness of racism, as well as the novelization of Blade Runner. Because they equated the replicants to a minority group, and this upset them.
They did pretty much the same thing with all of the history books that showed pictures of Adolf Hitler, or the swastika. They said that the school library should be a "safe space" and that knowing that these books were there, or that other people might be reading them and decide that maybe becoming a Nazi was a good idea, traumatized them.
However, last year a book burning incident arose that left me scratching my head.
Apparently, the Lorax is Homophobic?
At the time I remembered having read the Lorax as a child, and I was pretty certain that it didn't have anything homophobic in it. But, knowing that the townie kids had a tendency to over react, or to misinterpret things - In one instance a girl claimed to have PTSD after seeing another student reading a book with a picture of Hitler in it, because she was afraid that reading the book would turn the student into a Nazi. It later turned out that the picture was of Oliver Hardy, and had absolutely nothing to do with Hitler - I dug our copy our of the attic and read it, and re-read it again, and again. But couldn't find the homophobia.
Thinking that maybe the homophobia was in a later version of the book (my copy was brought when the book was first released, and is significantly older than I am), I looked up the modern text online, and found that it was almost identical. Still, no homophobia.
So, filled with morbid curiosity (You get this a lot when people encounter townies) I went along to the PTA meeting to see what was getting their panties in a bunch.
It turns out that I needn't have gone to the trouble of reading the book ... because the townies hadn't read it either.
What they had read was an erotic fan fiction that shipped the Once-ler and the Lorax together.
Right now, you're probably thinking "WAT?????" (I know I was), but it doesn't end there. The fan fiction was actually based on a single scene from the 2012 animated movie of the Lorax. A scene that wasn't in the original book. Apparently, this upset the townies.
Yes, they were upset because a book written in in 1971 did not include a homosexual relationship from a 2017 fan fiction, which was itself based on a 2012 movie.
In my mind there was an obvious logical disconnect between these things. You're probably seeing it too. But the townie kids just didn't get it.
They gave a series of impassioned speeches denounced anybody who supported homophobia as being fascists, and read out a series of harrowing statistics about murder and suicide rates connected to homophobia (all of which later turned out to be fake). Then they reacted with outrage when they were asked to explain how a book written in 1971 was homophobic because it didn't include a homosexual relationship from a fan fiction written decades later.
After about 15 minutes of this they stormed out, screaming that the Principal was a murderer, and that it would be their fault when the Lorax inspired homophobic murders started.
It probably didn't help matters that they tried to make a dramatic exit by wrecking up the place. Well, at least that's what I think they were trying to do. One of them started making noises like a cow trying to poop a bowling ball, and started kicking empty chairs around. While another one kicked a fire extinguisher. Which promptly fell off the wall and landed on their foot. I'm told that it broke two of their toes, and that there was very little sympathy for them because of it.