I shall warn you now that if you’ve been in agreement with my view on controversial subjects up until now, that this might be the post that makes you go, “dumb bitch.”
I’ll accept that.
Here’s the deal. You’ve heard of Joseph-Beth Booksellers over there on the South Side, right? Well, they’re involved in a little disagreement with Jan Beatty, a poet from Wilkinsburg, over a reading she wishes to do from her latest volume of poetry Red Sugar— a collection of poems with an erotic bent to them.
At first Joseph-Beth didn’t want her to read there unless they could pick which poems she could read. She cried “censorship.”
Joseph-Beth was worried that the children in the store would hear her over the microphone as she read her poems. So they offered her two other choices. Do a book signing without a reading. Or do a booksigning and a reading but without the microphone.
Beatty still cried “censorship” and refused their offer.
Miss Beatty? Do you even know what “censorship” means? Because I thought it meant the suppression or deletion of speech or writing.
Is someone from Jo-Beth burning your books? Is someone from Jo-Beth refusing to put it into print because of its explicit nature? Is someone taking a big black Sharpie and blacking out the words that offend? Is someone holding a hand over your mouth?
No. They’re saying hey, we’ll be happy to let you read whatever poem you want if you just do it quietly so that the children over there reading a tension-filled book about whether or not Winnie the Pooh will ever find that lost jar of honey will not have their ears bombarded with poems of sexuality and violence, which is exactly how you yourself described this book. This way, unless they stand near you and hang on your every word, they won’t hear what the critics described as “unflinching, vulgar” or “a gorgeous sexual book.” Or “she writes about women who are subjected to the worst vulgarities and subjugations, and the often furious way they respond.”
“I don’t understand them. I like the store and they say they support writers. Now they are censoring me.”
Asking you to speak quietly is NOT CENSORSHIP, you self-important windbag.
If you’re disagreeing with me so far, let me ask you, if you invited Ms. Beatty into your home and your children or nieces or nephews were in the room and Ms. Beatty began describing a sexual encounter she had the other night, would you not believe it to be your right and perfectly acceptable to say, “Hey, Jan. Can we take this into the kitchen? Little ears …” Of course you would! It’s NOT CENSORSHIP!
And do NOT expect me to change my views just because they let Ron Jeremy speak in the past. Is it at all possible, Burghers, that perhaps they learned their lesson from that and said, you know what? Let’s not broadcast this stuff next time.
It’s within Jo-Beth’s rights to determine who will speak in their store. It is within Ms. Beatty’s right to protest and feel upset about it. And it is within my right to tell Ms. Beatty that she’s being highly unreasonable and if she would just get her head out of her ass, she’d see that.
Beatty added that Joseph-Beth is presenting best-selling author David Sedaris next month, “and he’s pretty raunchy. Nobody’s telling him he can’t read there.”
Jan, are you even listening? They said you can read there! Why isn’t that getting through to her?
“My position is that the store needs to contact me to apologize and to let me read with no strings attached,” Beatty said.
Oh, for the love of God. Stop being a spoiled child who is throwing a breath-holding temper tantrum because she wanted the Sally Poops-a-Lot doll and instead her Mommy bought her the Frankie Pees-A-Lot. Stop pouting. Stop holding your breath until you get an apology that you do not deserve. Go do the reading, do it without the microphone out of respect for the fact that you don’t own the frickin’ store, and maybe just maybe you’ll win you some new fans. And maybe I’ll be one of them.
Okay, Burghers, you know how much I value your opinions and you have changed my mind in the past, you have. I gotta tell you, I really tempered my reaction here because If I’m being honest, my first reaction was to tell Ms. Beatty to take the microphone and shove it up her ass. But I didn’t. I totes took the high road, eh?
I’m completely open as to why you think my viewpoint is erroneous. Just play nice. Instead of writing, “PittGirl, you are a dumb bitch.” you can write, “PittGirl, with all due respect, you are a dumb bitch. Won’t you kindly shove it up YOUR ass.”