Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ridiculous Lawsuit Demands Destruction of "Baby Be-Bop", $120K, Resignation of Mayor

The Milwaukee branch of the Christian Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal claim against the the city of West Bend, Mayor Kristine Deiss, the West Bend Library Board and Library Director Michael Tyree, arguing that the young adult book Baby Be-Bop includes words that "are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people" and that "can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike". The claim demands the destruction of the book, the resignation of the mayor, and $30,000 for each of the 4 plaintiffs.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing and/or clean up that coffee you just sprayed out of your mouth...

Where do we start?

First off, who the hell is the Christian Civil Liberties Union? A Google search doesn't reveal much. The only relevant hit is a random business directory listing for a similarly named org based in Kansas. It is impressive that they've been able to expand to establish a "Milwaukee branch" without any Web presence whatsoever.

Now, who are the plaintiffs? Robert C. Braun of West Allis, Joseph Kogelmann of Milwaukee, Robert Brough of West Bend and the Rev. Cleveland Eden of Milwaukee. Hmmm....only one of them lives in the city of West Bend. The rest are all in Milwaukee County. Not sure what kind of standing they have to file such a claim, or why they are using the West Bend Library for their young adult reading in the first place, especially when the same book is available in the young adult collection of numerous branches of the Milwaueke Public Library. Wait a minute, didn't the article say each of the plaintiffs are "elderly". Yep. Huh, wonder why they're reading young adult fiction in the first place?

I mean, I'm sure they actually drove to West Bend and read it. Good Christians wouldn't be deceitful and just file a lawsuit claiming "their mental and emotional well-being were damaged by the book at the Library" if that weren't the case. Surely....

But what of the accusations against the book itself? Generally, they seem to be concerned about books that are "obscene or racial in content and promote violence." Hmm.... In particular to Baby Be-Bop, they describe the book as being “explicitly vulgar, racial (sic) and anti-Christian.” They continue to claim that "specific words used in the book are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people" and that the "words can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike."

Words...damn WORDS! They always take the fun out of life. If we could only black out those "specific words" that are "slanderous to all males" (whatever the f**k that means), we could get on with our good Christian lives.

So, what remedies to these good Christians seek? An community reading group to try to gain a better understanding the book? An invitation to have the author come and discuss it? Convene a panel of young adult readers to tell us what they think about the book?

Nah. Says the plaintiffs: "we want it out or destroyed". With any luck, we'll be able to witness its burning in a pyre suitable for St. Joan of Arc.

And more than just destroying the offending words, they want the mayor to resign (because, as we all know, it is the mayor who decides what books are in the library). They also want a grand jury convened to investigate whether the book should be declared obscene (an excellent use of taxpayers money; glad 3 non-residents suggested it).

And to top it all off, about $30,000 per plaintiff will make all the "mental and emotional well-being [that] were damaged by the book" all better. I'm sure the good folks in West Bend will be happy to provide $120K to put their minds at ease.

This really is hilarious.

And, this really is frightening, as it shows how quickly we can tumble down the slippery slope of threats to intellectual freedom.


  1. What can we do?
    This is getting ridiculous. Of course Ginny wants this to happen, and yes she did call for banning. I am unbelievably annoyed. I am trying to convince my husband to move to West bend so I can legally help in the fight. Why do people think they have a right to tell me what my kids can/cannot read?

  2. I had a feeling that something like this would happen. How much money is all of this going to cost the city now? For someone who claims to want less government spending, Maziarka is certainly ensuring that West Bend will have hefty legal bills. Oh wait...she has nothing to do with this. It's just a coincidence. Yeah right.

  3. Still has me laughing....your entertaining post, that is. I sure hope the four gentleman can verify they checked out that book from the West Bend library.....should be an easy enough thing to check.

    Now excuse me.....I have to check my bookshelves for books that have words in them that are offensive to me as a woman, a mom, a wife, a brunette, a green-eyed get the idea. Then I can see what libraries carry these titles and sue them.

    It is interesting to see that Ginny Maziarka claims no connection to this group behind the lawsuit, yet sees fit to post the info on her blog which carries all things WBCFSL. Like Eema-le says, I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

  4. Everyone made good points. This is silly, and hopefully will be seen as such by the courts, should it get there. While I was flipping out over this ( I'm better now...:)) I told my husband about it. He's a lawyer. He looked at me like I have three heads. Then he giggled. Probably at how annoyed I was, but also at how ridiculous this is. Maybe this lawsuit will be enough to get people out in droves to finally shut down the petition from the Maziarka's. Regardless of whether they are connected to the lawsuit or not, they are assumed to be connected to it, and that's not a bad thing. Maybe the city should take the 120,000 and give it to the librarians and the mayor for a much needed vacation.

  5. The lawsuit won't go anywhere. The book easily fails the obscenity test, and I think libraries might actually have protection from that particular statute.

  6. Concerned West Bend Citizen,
    I thought the terms of the suit were so ludicrous, I also did a Google search trying to learn more about this "Christian Civil Liberties Union" to see if it was real or not. By playing with search terms, I was able to find a few things. In the past, they sued the West Allis library for refusing a Creation Science education event, they attempted to block the purchase of a home for a released sex offender, and sued Ebay on behalf of a South Carolina woman for $100 million (Ebay refused to do business with her because she lacked a credit card or checking account, so the CCLU said that it was discrimination against a Christian). I don't think that last one got anywhere.
    I'm not a lawyer, but this suit sounds too outlandish to actually get anywhere. It looks like West Bend has become a lightning rod for this sort of thing...

  7. Does anyone have any idea how much Maziarka and her crusaders have cost the citizens of West Bend? Legal fees paid by the school district to their attorney to fend off Maziarka's homophobic rant about protected classes being included in the harassment policy (interesting she stood on the grounds of infringing on free speech on this one - she said including homosexuals as a protected class would take away other students' rights to free speech - convenient to use the Constitution when it suits your purposes), fees paid to the school district attorney when Maziarka went after homosexuals themselves in the district, the city attorney concentrating on the library issue (when there are more IMPORTANT things to tend to) - this has added up to tens of thousands of dollars we've paid because Maziarka can't tolerate anyone who doesn't believe her version of the Bible. Has anyone filed an open records request with any of the school district administration to find out what Ginny's been up to? I'm sure she only shares what she finds interesting from her many ORR requests - there must be more information that doesn't suit her fancy. Same with the mayor, library board, and city council - ORR are available to anyone at any time. I'm glad that there are citizens who are standing up to the bully. It's high time she meets resistance and opposition because the majority don't believe in her mission. West Bend citizens, unite to shut the bully's crusade down!

  8. Well, I think I am going to file a lawsuit too. I want every book on Christianity, ahiest, islam, buddism, satanim and any book regarding any kind of faith removed and or move to a more appropriate section. Oh, I don't want to forget the books about how to make a homemade bomb in their garage. Hunting, I don't likr hunting, harlequin romance novels, oh so many things I may choose to file a lawsuit against the library. and I am not a person who gets offended easy.
    Can you imagne Ginny using our arguement of free speech to protect the books on Christianity? Wouldn't that make things fun.
    Her group says they arenot aligned with the CCLU complaint. REALLY? One of the men is like a side holster for a loaded gun of that Vivk Elison how ever you spell it from vcy's show in focus. He calls everytime there is a gay issue. I have talked with him and he boasts he has picketted school, libraries in the Milwaukee area.

  9. I agree, the harlequin romance novels must go. :)

  10. ok, now wait a minute. Go easy on the romance writers.:) A friend of mine makes a very nice living as a romance writer.
    What is happening with the council meeting tonight? Will anyone of you have access to the results before the am?

  11. people have a LOT of extra time on your hands. God is our ultimate judge (even if you don't belive that now..Judgement Day will come to all) so stop judging Ginny. My goodness..she's only trying to help keep children be protected from sexual things that are not decent for them to see/read at a young age! Why is that so horrible? Where do you draw the line at what is wrong and right? Is nothing wrong? It seems you accept everything. And if that's so..than why have a legal system at all? Attend to your families, work hard and trust in God with your time. Please stop ridiculing and judging! That isn't our job.

  12. Greggswife - stop judging Ginny???? Where is that coming from? You're talking about the queen of mean and eternal damnation herself! "Attend to your families, work hard and trust in God with your time. Please stop ridiculing and judging! That isn't our job." Where on earth are you coming from???? The very person you are attempting to defend does exactly what you're telling other people NOT to do. It's no wonder people steer clear of fundamentalist Xtns - they're pictures of pure hypocrisy as you've so aptly shown here! On another note, I'm sure you believe that Maziarka has the right to voice her opinions - and that's what happens here. Voicing opinions - if you don't like it, don't bother visiting!

  13. Why does this make you angry? Caring for the children of the community is a good thing-not judgement. I don't understand how reading this type of material would be beneficial for children. We have censorship on R-rated movies that are deemed inappropriate for children under 18. How is this different?

    God Bless you.

  14. 1)It is not your job, place, or right to care for anyone's children but your own.

    2)Not everyone thinks that these materials are objectionable.

    3)Rating systems for movies/music/etc. are voluntary and are undertaken by private businesses. The library is not a private business, it's a governmental entity, and therefore cannot censor materials.

  15. Greggswife:
    Why does this make ME so angry? Personally, I do get just a little miffed when my rights under the US Constitution are me crazy. If any of the requests Maziarka has made were passed, whether it would be the initial request of banning books, or the current request to change library policies concerning how books are categorized based on someone's subjective opinion about how sexually explicit materias is, my rights as a parent and a library patron would be violated.

    You and Ginny Maziarka can use the excuse that this action she's taken is "for the children," but if that were truly the case, there are many worthy local agencies that help children in need that could use additional funding and volunteers. There are many more pressing concerns facing our community's youth other than what books they are looking at within our library. There are many non-partisan, non-judgmental actions that could be taken to improve the community for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political views, etc. Stop hiding behind the idea that this complaint was made to protect the children. This campaign was launched because Ginny Maziarka and now WBCFSL doesn't like some material in the library and wants to do whatever they can to censor it from others.