Houston Mayor puts lock on racy book

The Houston Chronicle reports Porn queen Jenna Jameson calls her autobiography a "cautionary tale," and Mayor Bill White is taking precautions about making it available to Houston library patrons.
White recently ordered that the library's dozen copies of Jameson's best-selling How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale be removed from open shelves.

In making his decision, White sidestepped the committee process that Houston's libraries typically use to evaluate complaints about items in their collections.

"We're trying to take action quickly, and we didn't see a need to go through a long bureaucratic process," said White's spokesman, Frank Michel.

Update: 01/27 08:21 EST by R:Link fixed.

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Admissions First

Okay I will admit to having read this book, and I would not want to have 10 year olds getting their hands on it.

But I think that is why libraries have children and adult sections, the only time someone should have to fill out a request or ask to be given a book that is not on the shelves is when you are dealing with rare books, or things that have been put into storage for space considations.

Re:Admissions First

You say "10 year olds" but what about 12, 13, 14 year olds? What about kids who are going to be *looking* for this kind of stuff? Some kid hears about it and goes into a chatroom and tells a few hundred of his closest friends and they tell a few hundred of their closest friends and then their all looking in the biography section of their own libray for the same book.

Adult sections act as a form of camoflage, if you want the controversial stuff you have to really search for it. Internet word of mouth makes books like this standout like neon.

Re:Admissions First

If they hear about it in a chatroom, then they have already seen nude pics of Jenna Jameson. If they hear about it in school, then they have already seen pics of her. You cannot make then unsee.

Uh

Re:Internet word of mouth

Even better than "word of mouth", have the mayor make them put it behind the desk! Nothing will attract the children more than telling them they can't have it.They should've made it required reading, that way most of the kids would've done their best to avoid it like the plague!I'm only half kidding here, I'm sure his move to rid the shelves of this book will only make it more popular.

STATUS; LIB USE ONLY

Heh, kind of gives a new meaning to the status listed in the catalog, "LIB USE ONLY"I hope they're just buying it for the articles.

Re:Internet word of mouth

I'm sure it will make it more popular, the same way guns, cars, cigarettes, and alcohol are all much more attractive to kids because they can't get at them right away. Tough noogies.

Re:STATUS; LIB USE ONLY

Wish I could mod this up for "teh funnah"

Re:Admissions First

Internet word of mouth makes books like this standout like neon.

No, censorship makes books like that stand out like neon. If it weren't for all the hysterical screeching by raving fools with an axe to grind, the kids wouldn't have half as much to spread around by word of mouth. And what about young adults who are looking for such stuff? Their lives are not yours, it's none of your business. They are not going to grow up to be blood-lusting psychopaths just because reactionaries like the Houston mayor say so simply they are afraid of tits and ass.

Re:Uh

I think that mayor has a lot of work to do.

Re:Uh

Anais Nin vs "How To Make Love Like A Porn Star"

Does anyone here really not see the difference? Seriously.

Re:Uh

Oh, yeah, Anais is baby stuff--no disagreement there. Did you look at that list? "The Anthology of Fetish Fiction?" All the Zane titles (Sex Chronicles, The Indoctrination of Soror Ride Dick). Searching under Fetishism, you get "Footsucker;" ten titles under "computer sex," including how-tos; "The Mammouth Book of Lesbian Erotica;" "His Tongue." Well, and then there's the really filthy stuff--"Spongebob Meets the Strangler"--that's got S/M written all over it; and "Spongebob Squarepants Laugh Your Pants Off."

But, seriously...have you ever read Zane? The Sexual Life of Catherine M? Really, if the mayor is gonna start making collection development decisions, he'll be emptying shelves. I haven't read "Porn Star" yet, but my guess is that the title is the most provocative thing about it.

Re:Uh

From what I understand the title describes the content, its part bio part instruction.

The point is what you said about the title being provocative. And yes, maybe the library should be pulling some of those other titles. There are plenty of books out there with provocative content but only an adult with adult experiences would know enough to look for them. Jenna Jameson's name recognition takes away the censorship that's built into a lot of other adult-oriented books.

Re:Uh

There are plenty of books out there with provocative content but only an adult with adult experiences would know enough to look for them.

The average age of the patron asking for any given Zane title is probably 14. Do you really think only adults have "adult experiences?" I had a 15 year old girl asking me for baby name books last week.

Re:Uh

Then pull the book. If a library is going to invest in a collection of popular erotic fiction that's easily identifiable as nothing more or less than erotic fiction then it should be limited in who it can go out to.

Why? ask that 15-yr-old girl looking for baby name books.

Re:Uh

(gasping for breath) What's erotic? Eric Jerome Dickey? Or is he just steamy? Is steamy erotic/offensive/verboten to some people? Do we ban steamy? Or do we go strictly by LOC subject headings? Write me up some rules!

Write me up some rules!

Rule #1: If Greg doesn't like it, it's no good for anyone.Simple enough for ya?

Re:Write me up some rules!

Since Greg is the defender of censorship I ask what about Judy Blume? Her stuff tends to be racy and in the childrens section you can find where people confused about what books are have placed Wifey. I am not sure what era you are posting from but in the modern world it is an unfortunant truth that at age 10 kids are already MUCH more knowledgable about sex than they should be, by the time I was in 5th grade at age 11 I knew what it was, the functions involved, and had seen pictures and at the time there was no net access in my house, and I did not find it at the library, and my parents did not possess any porn. Librarians cannot censor and must fight any censorship, it is the only reasonable stand to make, otherwise we regress to the book burning, mind controlling, deep south of the early 1900's.

Whenever that type of regression occurs intellectual capacity declines, anyone can name 10-15 major inventions of the 1800's and 1900's guess how many came from the backwords, redneck, racist south? NONE. That is what comes of denying reality.

Greg, I sincerely hope that you are not a Librarian, because your thought processes are not in line with spreading information.

Re:Write me up some rules!

"Okay I will admit to having read this book, and I would not want to have 10 year olds getting their hands on it." - kylere

Care to explain your own beliefs?

Re:Write me up some rules!

Just because I would not want to have ten year olds reading it does not mean I have the right to remove it from availability. Nor do you.

If it were up to me the USA would have voted libertarian rather than for the losers nominated by the Republicans and Democrats, but I do not get to make other people vote like I want them to, neither do you.

You are not special, your views are not the only views and you do not have a right decide what should and should not be allowed. Everytime a person decides that they have the only right answers, they are WRONG.

Re:Uh

[ROFLMAO] You guys kill me. Its like the same conversation over and over again.

Blake: Like or dislike has nothing to do with it. I haven't read Zane or Jenna Jameson but I have read Anais Nin and Roquelaure (yes kylere I am a librarian, I've taken the time to read a little something of everything). I have no problem having erotic fiction in the adult collection if there is an adult interest for it but if its only going out to teens *then its not serving its purpose* and is simply taking up shelf space. Either limit it to the intended audience or pull it. Its not in any library's mission statement to directly undermine the values of a community.

Rules Rochelle? Sure we can have that conversation, if you actually think rules are a legitimate option, which I don't think you do. The most over-rated function of a librarian these days is reading reviews. The simple fact is whenever it comes down to actually having to make a decision that might require some type of integrity most librarians will say "its the parents responsibility" and walk away from the problem.

The fact is that the mayor shouldn't be pulling books. The fact is the library either shouldn't have bought this book or taken appropriate actions to make sure this book wasn't going out to anyone under 18. The fact is that most librarians today find that idea offensive which is why the fact is that our profession is currently on a whole incompetent and working its hardest to become irrelevant.

Re:Uh

[ROFLMAO] You guys kill me. Its like the same conversation over and over again.

It's not LIKE the same conversation over and over again...it IS the same conversation. Before I choose the "agree to disagree option," I have a question for you. I looked at your library's catalog, and it is one of the squeaky-cleanest collections I've ever seen. However, the system of which you are a member is filled with some truly surprising choices, including XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits (which is checked out til April 2005!?), and the usual non-literary raunch, such as Zane. Would you provide ILL service to someone requesting one of these titles, including a minor? Or do you have an ILL policy that allows you to say no, along the lines of "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?" You can "protect" your patrons with a collection development policy, but I'm just curious what you would do for a patron who requested such material outside of your collection.

The fact is that the mayor shouldn't be pulling books. The fact is the library either shouldn't have bought this book or taken appropriate actions to make sure this book wasn't going out to anyone under 18.

"This book." What about other books? Who decides? One person? A committee? Is it an "I know it when I see it" decision? You claim that "rules" are not the answer, but you also assume that there is someone in every library who would make the exact same decisions as you, which is not the case. What about true crime books? Many of these titles are purely salacious and fetishize violence. They are also a YA staple. Would those go in to the "18 and over section"?

Re:Uh

You are not talking of integrity, you are talking censorship. Integrity as a librarian means fighting against censorship, not for it.When you finish going through every book determining what ages are allowed to read what books then I recommend you publish it as your personal recommendations but the second you enforce them as the right ones, then you sir, become a scoundrel to the very profession you proclaim.It is the responsibility of parents to guide their children, the social issues we face are in many ways made much worse by the disengagement of parents from the process of rearing a child. A village raising a child is all fine and well, but when the parents effectively orphan the child to the "well wishing" village then we produce horrible adults.You say the library should not have even purchased the book, that is as misguided a thought as any others your have put forth. Just because Michael Moore is a lying, fact-twisting moron and Rush Limbaugh is a lying drug-addled moron does not mean that libraries should restrict purchasing their books. Because to do so would be censorship and their viewpoints are much more dangerous to society as a whole than the garbage ghost written for Jenna Jameson.I will have to drop this thread and let you go on with your smug and closeminded world view, I realize that once someone has shut out reality and began to base all their decisions on fantasy they cannot be helped.

Re:Uh

Caution: "I looked at your library's catalog, and it is one of the squeaky-cleanest collections I've ever seen."

I'm responsible for what I say and do, you're responsible for what you say and do but analyzing each others collections brings in a whole bunch of people sets including staff, community, and trustees, that could easily give us more headaches than I want to think about.

To respond to that statement however, your judging a book by its cover. There's plenty of items on the shelf that are far from squeaky clean, they just don't advertise it. Which is part of the point of this whole conversation.

ILL? I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For once I'll use the famed 'chilling effect' arguement and say that most kids won't feel comfortable asking for it. We're not that degraded a society yet.

When did I claim rules are not the answer? My point was that I'm not going to waste time trying to discuss what kind of rules when the people I'm discussing it with don't believe in the rules to begin with. Unless your willing to say that you would support some kind of policy on the subject there's no point in debating what kind of policy.

Re:Uh

Okay...Uncle! I'm ready for the part where we agree to disagree, or I'll spend my three-day weekend trying to keyboard with boxing gloves on. ;-)

Re:Write me up some rules!

If Greg doesn't like it, it's no good for anyone.

Back before the internet, electronic message mailers had a tagline feature, not too much unlike the one for these comments. Back then a popular tagline was: Save the easily offended: ban everything.

As I have said often enough here at LISNews: There is nothing that cannot be found offensive by someone, somewhere.

Paper bags, Doctor Seuss, Where's Waldo. . . .

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