There are 174,000 books in the West Bend Community Memorial Library, but Robert Braun, 74, of West Allis, Wis., just wants to burn one — “Baby Be-Bop,” by Francesca Lia Block.
“We will have demonstrations if they don’t remove it,” he said. “It has to be out of the library. If that doesn’t happen, I will be out there burning.”
Braun and three fellow members of the Christian Civil Liberties Union have filed a claim against the West Bend Library for stocking “Baby Be-Bop” in its young adult section. The book, which is about a teen struggling with his homosexuality, is “explicitly vulgar, racial and anti-Christian” and is “inappropriate for the elderly and their minor grandchildren, and degrades the community,” according to the complaint.
Braun said he found the homosexual content particularly offensive. “They call one character ‘faggot’ with every swear word you can think of … and they use the N-word,” Braun said.
The complaint asks for “damages and demand for relief pursuant to Wisconsin Statute Section 893.80.” Specifically, the plaintiffs, only one of whom lives in West Bend, are asking for $120,000, and that West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss resign and the “racist book be removed and publicly burned or destroyed as a deterrent to repeating this offensive conduct.”
How did they arrive at exactly $120,000 dollars in what one assumes is punitive damages. $140,000 might sound greedy, but on the the hand $115,000 would be letting them off easy. Then they could be talking about compensatory damages – the mere existence of bound paper with printed words has caused real injury or harm. But wait a darn minute, Braun read the book and would probably claim he is as sane and as in general good health as before he read it – hence possesses the commonsense to try and protect those folks out there who do not have his intestinal fortitude. Braun might be a walking miracle, a fleshy fortress of resistance that he shares with his brethren at Christian Civil Liberties Union. So that they can read everything that might taint us lesser humans minds. Even though my KJV of the Bible portrays an almighty being that gives everyone free will, Braun and friends are determined to relive us of that terrible existential burden.
“But, if this network is constantly changing, the question is how do memories stay put, how are they formed? It has been known for some time that an important step in long-term memory formation is “translation”, or the production, of new proteins locally at the synapse, strengthening the synaptic connection in the reinforcement of a memory, which until now has never been imaged,” says Dr. Wayne Sossin, neuroscientist at The Neuro and co-investigator in the study. “Using a translational reporter, a fluorescent protein that can be easily detected and tracked, we directly visualized the increased local translation, or protein synthesis, during memory formation. Importantly, this translation was synapse-specific and it required activation of the post-synaptic cell, showing that this step required cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments, the parts of the two neurons that meet at the synapse. Thus highly regulated local translation occurs at synapses during long-term plasticity and requires trans-synaptic signals.”
For such a spectacular discovery the photos are less then thrilling. I would have imagined something like a axon with a little explosion, some enzyme flying off into a dendrite.
How readily our thoughts swarm upon a new object, lifting it a little way, as ants carry a blade of straw so feverishly, and then leave it….
Virginia Woolf from The Mark on the Wall