I’m not sure who elected this woman to be the moral compass for all of humanity – oh wait, she appointed herself (must be a religious nut – that complex seems to run rampant among the devout) – but JoAn Karkos has been causing quite a stir with her little crusade against the children’s book “It’s Perfectly Normal” by award-winning children’s author Robie Harris.

Karkos, a tax-paying resident of the city of Lewiston, Maine, walked into both the Auburn and Lewiston public libraries last year and checked out their copies of this book, with no intention of ever returning them.  In fact, she was quite forthright about this – she wrote a letter to each library, included a check to each to cover the cost of the books, and claimed that the books are pornographic, and that they should not be read by anyone.

Wouldn’t that be like me shoplifting an ugly pair of pants from a store, then sending the store a note and check for them?  (P.S. I’m a total fucking smegtard.)

Her note to Rick Speer, director of the Lewiston Public Library, reads as follows:

Mr. Rick Speer,

It is with great disappointment to discover that American Public Libraries do not have adequate discernment of books appropriate for youth to read.”

It’s Perfectly Normal” is a book I rented from both the Lewiston and the Auburn public libraries. As warned, the book is extremely offensive to the dignity of person hood. Since I have been sufficiently horrified of the illustrations and the sexually graphic amoral abnormal contents, I will not be returning the books. Therefore, enclosed to your library is a ckeck for $20.95, the cost plus tax for purchase price of the book.

I suspect the overseers who reason what is acceptable for youth to read might not be interested in my detailed list of objections to this so-called children’s material — this is unacceptable material that even adults find offensive. However, feel free to contact me if you desire.

JoAnn Karkos

She has, of course, ignited a huge media circus in Maine, or what accounts for a media circus in such a rural place.  As of this writing, a judge has ordered Karkos to pay $100 in fines and to return the book by Friday, August 29th at 4 p.m., or she will be arrested.

I am quite certain that this woman believes she is a modern-day civilly disobedient Thoreau wannabe; she even said as much as she was leaving the courtroom.

OK, I’m all for people sticking their neck out for what they believe.  But this woman is just plain nuts, believing that she is doing god’s work by stirring up all this controversy – which, ironically, has only sparked more interest in this book. (Fervor isn’t always thought out well by those in the midst of it. )

Doesn’t this wrinkled woman understand that most kids know all this shit already?  That every ride on the school bus can be a sort of sex ed lesson, talking about pee-pees and hearing all the older kids in back talk about blow jobs and hand jobs and you name it?  Where would she prefer that children get their sex ed, from the fucking Bible, which advocates incest and rape?  Where’s the dignity in that?  In her own words, Karkos says that “bashfulness is a natural protection for children… and when that is violated, they’re much more open to predators.”  A book is violating some sense of bashfulness? What fucking planet is she living on??  I’d say that the kid who doesn’t know shit about sex and doesn’t really know what is OK or not OK for them is, most likely, a child of religious wackos and/or an altar boy, who’s never been talked to about it by their red-faced parents and is more open to predators than those kids who know what’s up and are in touch with their bodies and their feelings.  If any entity has ever attached shame to sexuality, the all-time winner would be religion, period.  Wouldn’t we rather that the facts about sex and sexuality be presented plainly, and let all the dumbshit parents of the world inject their own sense of morality into it, whatever the flavor might be, without imposing that morality on the rest of us, for chrissake??

I am torn, because as much as I’d like to see this bifocaled bitch should get thrown in the slammer for being more dangerous to society than all of the drug dealers already unfortunate enough to be in there – I also think that because this woman wants to go to jail in some public stand in defense of morality (ho hum), then she shouldn’t be given that satisfaction.

What d’y’all think?

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Book publishing giant Random House and children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson are under fire from all the conservative freaks who apparently don’t like the word “twat” and all that it implies. So, the great Dame has buckled to pressure and has changed the offending word to “twit” in her latest work, My Sister Jodie. You can read more about this story here.

Once again, they’re bitching about words. (May I refer you, once again, to the mighty Frank Zappa, from an earlier post?)

If I type the phrase, “I’m going to kick that girl right in the twit”, you know exactly what is implied by the word “twit”. So why not just say “twat”? If you drop a bowling ball and exclaim, “Oh jeezum crow, that freaking hurt!”, why not just say, “Jesus Christ, that fucking hurts like fucking hell and I think I just broke my goddamn foot!”?

Words are tools, that’s it. A means to an end. I don’t believe any one word is more holy or more sacred or more offensive or more potent than another. Do I go around at my place of work and swear like a sailor? No (maybe under my breath occasionally), only because I have been beaten down by the moral code of society and don’t have the balls to be like my uncle Roger, who would shake hands with anyone and say, “How the fuck are you?” He was just a really friendly guy who felt the same way about language as I do – that it’s not the words you need to worry about, it’s the intent. Like George Carlin said, don’t worry about the word “nigger” – worry about the racist asshole who’s using it. It’s like watching an R movie edited for prime time TV, and hearing Steven Segal kick the living shit out of his wiseguy victim, and hearing said victim scream a poorly dubbed-in “oh gosh!” Please. Don’t treat us like we’re brainless idiots (although there are innumerable such idiots all over the place).

I have not read Wilson’s new book, but she seems to be, by all accounts, a highly acclaimed, socially-conscious author, whose older works deal with issues that are of interest to preteens and teens – dating, peer pressure, teen pregnancy, etc. etc. Can we just let artists and writers be artists and writers, and do their part to help enlighten the rest of us heathens?

And don’t these over-protective fascist parents and scaredy-cat conservatives realize that all they are doing, by making a huge deal out of this, is promoting the offending material even further, and boosting sales?

It saddens me that Wilson “doesn’t want to offend her readers or her readers’ parents”, to quote the BBC article. Of course, Wilson was ultimately motivated by British grocery chain Asda‘s decision to not carry the edition with the word “twat”.

Come on, people – don’t be offended by the word “twat” – be offended by the censorship that threatens every single person who can form a sentence or a thought of their own.

Frank Zappa was absolutely right (as was George Carlin) in his assertion that the battles over censorship are less about morality and more about words, plain and simple. This is lively stuff, humorous and thought provoking. Long live the memory of this musical and intellectual genius!