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Friday, May 04, 2007


And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
We're only sayin'
You're doin' fine,
Oklahoma O.K.

Welcome to day seven of the Bartlesville standoff. It’s been four days since I first sent my letters to the committee that didn’t read and then banned Bermudez. I continue to hear nothing.

You have not been silent, though, I’ve long lost count of how many letters have been written. Many of you are copying them to me, putting them in the comments here, or over in the comments at Brotherhood2.0. I have read every single one, and they are, on the whole, pretty amazing. I see that both Meg Cabot and Neil Gaiman have picked up on this little saga of mine, along with several other writer friends and various blog friends I have yet to meet. There are too many links to list here.

I have news that they have gotten your notes and mine, though . . . even though they do not reply. There is a little rumble in the air in Bartlesville, friends. I’m not 100% clear on what is happening, but I think that our friend (she is friend to us all) Ninja Librarian Susan Hunt may be in some kind of trouble because of this. I don’t know that for certain yet, but if she is . . . you can be certain that there will be an unleashing of the hounds.

Please stay tuned on this subject for Susan’s sake.

The only update I have right now is that the library’s two copies of Bermudez (awaiting banishment) have vanished! One was checked out by a reader and not returned. It has presumably been whisked away to safety. Hooray from you reader.

The other one is with committee head Janet Vernon, who apparently hasn’t given it back.

Oh, you naught Bartlesville minxes! Now you’ve really ruffled Free Monkey’s fur. And by fur, I mean his plush coating. And by plush, I mean kind of knobbly knitting. Now you’re just adding insult to injury. Stealing public property—even BANNED public property—is very naughty indeed! Please give the book back to the library, so that it may be put into a lead box, or whatever it is you do with dangerous materials like novels that feature a positive, clean portrayal of homosexuality.

Until then, I’m going to be sending down copies of the book to Ninja Librarian Susan Hunt. I don't know what she can do with them, but they are hers, not paid for by tax money.

As some of you may have seen from J. Green’s Brotherhood2.0 video, tomorrow is TELEPHONE DAY! Yes, tomorrow, both J. Green and I will be trying to get through to the committee members on the phone. You will undoubtedly see these efforts on Brotherhood2.0.

I hope they pick up the phone. Otherwise I will have to GO to Bartlesville, where Free Monkey and I will perform selected scenes from the musical Oklahoma outside of their office windows. And believe me, you don’t want that. Free Monkey REALLY likes Rogers and Hammerstein, and my dance interpretation of the cowboy walk will never leave you.

Don't make me unleash my dance on you!

And just so you know that this has not totally consumed my life and that it isn’t going to be the only thing I talk about for the rest of my days . . . I can tell you that I will be posting a video that has nothing to do with this very soon. Also, more monkey, more pirates, more everything else that you know and love. (Or at least tolerate with extreme good will.) Also, if you want to see me and/or Free Monkey in person, I will be at the Princeton Teen Book Festival this weekend.

But again . . . please stay tuned for news about Susan and any potential developments.

And please . . . KEEP UP THE NOTES! Something is happening! Onward!

Once again, the addresses are:

Mrs. Janet Vernon, Executive Director of Secondary Instruction
Dr. Richard Rosenberger, Executive Director of Human Resources
Mr. Chuck McCauley, Principal of Bartlesville High School

UPDATE: another Bartlesvillian, Ninja Librarian Beth, tells me that this still hasn't even hit the local paper. So, if have a moment and the inclination, please drop a copy of your letter to the local newspaper editor.

We need your letters!

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Blogger Becs said...

I have been in Term Paper Hell for the last few days and so am a bit behind on the Bartlesville Book Banning saga. Ohhhhh, if they do anything to Ninja Librarian Susan Hunt, all hell will break loose. Seriously. They can't do crap like this and get away with it. And we all stand behind you, Maureen and NL Susan. You guys ROCK!!!! And I have, as of now, five copies of Bermudez in my possession, and possibly several more on the way. One will go to my high school library, others are getting passed around. We are spreading it!! HAHA!!!

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Hm, tisk tisk on those who ban books. Though, this does bring about a bit of irony.

1) My best friend used to live in Bartlesville for her father's job.


2) My junior high school [in Texas, mind you] is putting on Oklahoma! as our musical this year. We have some mean cowboy walkers that may be able to show you some moves.

2:50 AM  
Blogger fahrenheit451moderator said...

I am a librarian who has been following the challenges and bans to books over the past few years. I thought you might be interested to know that I have included a post on our web log. http://pelhamlibrary.blogspot.com/2007/05/maureen-johnson-confesses-to-being.html

We challenged people from around the world to read banned and challenged books from February until June 30 and a number of challenged authors have taken on our challenge, including Meg Cabot, Deborah Ellis, and Maryrose Wood. You and your readers might also consider this as a way of keeping the censors away and now they can read your book for this challenge. Keep up the fight.

2:54 AM  
Anonymous shaolin_librarian said...

Keep kicking ass (can I say that here?) and don't give up!

4:57 AM  
Anonymous kiersten said...

this is america. you know.. freedom of speach? i dont understand why everyone is so homophobic. i haven't read the bermudez triangle yet (it's comming in sometime next week) but from what you say, i see no reason for it to be banned. i think that the people in Bartlesville might think twice before banning a book again.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

If you go to Bartlesville and launch an Oklahoma filibuster that would make Rogers and Hammerstein and Mr. Jefferson Smith proud, please make sure that Free Monkey videotapes the event.

If the library has a marquee-type sign, rearrange the letters.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Jordyn said...

So yay!!!
I think I shall send another letter their way.

Even though, morally, I am opposed to homosexuality, I am also morally opposed to book banning.
Which is really what the whole thing is about, right?

5:28 AM  
Blogger Cassandra Mortmain said...

Hi Maureen!

Excellent use of Mr. Smith there. Jimmy Stewart is really just the perfect man. And I second whoever said that if you perform the Oklahoma filibuster, Free Monkey *must* videotape it.

I just forwarded along the letter I sent to Bartlesville on your behalf yesterday, thinking you might enjoy reading it. Either way, I wish you and Ninja Librarian Susan the very best.

Oh, and you'll know me as (past) margaret from Brotherhood 2.0- this is my blogger name for my as-yet quite underdeveloped blog.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Chelsea said...

-shakes head- I usually <3 my school library, but if they removed any book like that....-mimics backhanding something-

But then againl...they have Anthony Rapp's book, which describes his early sexual expieriences with other men....-shrugs- What can I say? New York (even Central New York) is usually more liberal than most.


5:43 AM  
Blogger CSInman said...

I'm usually too lazy to send letters, but I couldn't resist the chance to make a Nazi joke.

This whole thing is ridiculous.

But hey, maybe I should have been more mature about it and just thanked them for introducing me to another great blog and a stack of books to read.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Maureen,

Just dropped by to let you know I sent a short message to all three of them saying:

I am a senior in high school and have spent four years hearing from parents, teachers, and fellow students that school is where you learn about life. To censor a book just because it has homosexuality in it is not only ignorant, but grossly intolerant. If America is all about the First Amendment, then how can your school possibly allow something like the book-banning to happen when it is nowhere near questionable material. Please reconsider your decision.

Thank you,

A Supporter of the First Amendment

Hope it helps ; )

8:27 AM  
Blogger Tobias said...

hmmm, actually I would like to see you perform scenes from "oklahoma" in front of their windows! but besides that; it was to be expected that our ninja-friend would suffer (one way or another) from this. but of course it's ridiculous that it might happen. now I don't know much about the rights of employees in the USA (besides that it's usually crap) but isn't there a law against such stuff?

I'm looking forward to the vlog

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just say, that America, to my knowledge, is the ONLY western country to ban books?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Malcolm Tredinnick said...

All seriousness aside, I was relieved to see that when I clicked on the "improper dancing" link at the end of this post to see what other horrors might be lurking under the same category, there was only this post.

It's going to quite some time until I can close my eyes without seeing that dancing picture and the caption beneath it in my mind.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Becs said...

Here's a link to my letter of protest.

GOOD LUCK CALLING THEM, MAUREEN AND JOHN!!!! Ya'll will kick some ass, I know. :D :D

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Holly Black said...

Have made you an LJ feed: maureenj2blog

Tired of having to type in your URL.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I CC'd you on my letter to the editor.
I just want to say that my already quite-excellent Friday was only made better by the fact that you included a picture from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I loved that movie! (But seriously, who doesn't live Jimmy Stewart?)

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Meghan said...

If you do end up going to Bartlesville (say, tonight), you should crash their production of the musical Oklahoma. I wonder if that's a requirement for all OK high schools to put on that musical...

11:50 PM  
Blogger Becs said...

Woohoo!! I just heard back from a writer at the Bartlesville newspaper! They're doing a story!! :D

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha... i went to HS in Oklahoma and we, too, put on the musical. i was Laurie. ;-) i'm writing all three of them a letter of my own today...

12:47 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

Excellent that the paper is going to do a story. Book banning happens behind the scenes, out of public view more often than not.

If "community standards" are going to be upheld then it is only fair that the community be aware of what is going on.

Short-term this is going to be a moment of glory for the mother who challenged the book. Publicity may invigorate her (remember, she is very needy or this would not have happened.)

It always surprises censors, though, when they discover not everyone agrees with them and publicity will allow other local voices to be heard.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Laura! I'd like to say that Beth has been also very supportive of this. She has been a good provider of information. You may want to talk to BHS librarian Kim Lashbrook. As far as I know she is very supportive of this too.

Our musical of Oklahoma is actually tonight! How funny, and this year is the centennial of Oklahoma, so if you performed Oklahoma, we'd be pleased, but you might make the drama and choir kids a bit angry.

One quick comment, after I got off the phone with you, my sister freaked out and wanted to say that she loves your books.

Thanks for the wonderful interview!

-Laura from the Bartlesville High School paper.

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Maureen!! Sorry off topic but I LOVE your video for Hank's birthday..that guy that danced was hilarious!! I would have told Hank Happy Birthday if you asked me :)

2:27 AM  
Anonymous cep program said...

thank you nice sharing

3:38 PM  

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