Special Action To Increase Responsible Education (SATIRE)
In an unprecedented case settled in Los Angeles today, children under eighteen have been banned from the public library.
Concerned parents and teaching officials filed suit earlier this year, arguing that there should be parity between movie theater and library admission policies. Restricted movies, they argued, prevent minors from being subject to violence, profane language and strong sexual themes — the public library should provide the same protections to their constituency.
"I saw a sixth grader with Das Kapital in one hand and Lolita in the other, " said Diane Jenkins, organizer of Parents Opposed to Literature In Consumer Environments (POLICE). "We might as well let them into Fight Club and Midnight Cowboy if we're going to allow that."
Other concerned parents testified similarly at the hearing.
The case arose after a research study last year concluded that literacy is on the rise in the U.S. With more kids reading — unchecked — more controls need to be in place, particularly as less experienced or younger, impressionable children could be adversely affected by the unrestrained dialogue that we call Western Literature.
The POLICE intend to expand their campaign to include book stores as well, where minors have been reportedly lurking in the self-help and philosophy sections in undue numbers. Roger Lapin, manager of a Los Angeles Barnes & Noble indicated that "there has been an increase in young teenagers hanging around the store. They meet for coffee at Starbucks then come over here and start reading."
From Aristotle to Darwin, from Hemingway to Haley, they're reading at rates never-before-seen. And what's worse, claim the POLICE, they're starting to believe what they read. "This has the potential to spiral out of control, " said Jenkins, "I'm just glad that the courts have taken the first step to protect our children from subversive values."
© 2005 Sorrell