Bell County: What’s in Your Public School Library? (Part Three)
Part One of this series highlighted the battle over sexually explicit content (excerpts included) in public schools while the second installment addressed the ongoing information operation deployed by advocates seeking to keep traditionally adult content in children’s libraries.
This final piece analyzes American content moderation systems currently in use along with uncomfortable truths regarding the sexualization of minors.
Content moderation v. censorship
The left loves when media or other platforms and industries ban the speech or other activities of those with whom it disagrees. While that’s called censorship and it’s a violation of the Constitution, practical levels of content moderation occur daily. And they’ve long been seen, in many cases, to have a productive place in American society.
The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications through cable, radio, television, satellite and wire. The limitations on the FCC’s power to restrict or ban speech begin with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While the FCC cannot censor broadcasts, it can impose certain restraints with regard to indecency, obscenity and profanity on the air.
The Motion Picture Association rating system sets age restrictions for movies. Jack Valenti, former Chairman and CEO of the MPA, established the system in 1968.
“Jack forged a dynamic program that would provide American parents with a reliable and easy-to-use tool to help them make viewing choices for their children, while also protecting the First Amendment rights of filmmakers and the creative process,” current MPA Chairman/CEO Charles Rivkin writes of Valenti’s effort. “He also had the good sense to form a partnership with the exhibitor community, represented by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), which is on the front lines of American families’ reactions to movies and ratings.”
The Recording Industry Association of America uses its “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” label for music albums and digital/online music downloads (including podcasts) containing sexually explicit or violent references in lyrics, foul language or drug/alcohol abuse references.
Akin to the MPA, the RIAA says this of its system:
The PAL program is a voluntary initiative for record companies and artists, permitting them greater freedom of expression while also giving them the opportunity to help parents and families make informed consumption decisions.
Record companies work directly with artists to decide which releases should receive a PAL Mark to indicate explicit content or otherwise be identified as explicit. In some instances, the artist may re-record certain songs or revise lyrics because a creative and responsible view of the music demands such a revision.
The PAL program was established in 1985 as the RIAA worked with the National Parent Teacher Association and the Parents Music Resource Center (Tipper Gore) to address concerns about explicit content in sound recordings.
The organizations reached an agreement that certain music releases containing explicit lyrics, including explicit depictions of violence and sex, would be identified so parents could make intelligent listening choices for their children.
Similarly, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was founded by the Interactive Digital Software Association in 1994. The rating system has evolved with the video game industry and is currently divided into three parts: Rating Categories, Content Descriptors and Interactive Elements. The ESRB cites its primary mission as “to help parents make informed decisions about the video games and apps their children play.”
Why aren’t school libraries another venue in which minors should be protected?
And seriously, what’s up with the schoolbook publishing industry and its education-industrial complex (EIC) compadres? Why can’t (or won’t) these stakeholders play a role in their industry’s content moderation process?
Not just a lack of interest, but resistance to aiding parents in content consumption decisions for their children is troubling. Is it ineptitude? Laziness? Or is it ideologically driven with the nature of that ideology pointing in a dark direction?
Who benefits from the ongoing availability of sexually explicit content in public school libraries? Whose interests do sexualized children serve?
The curious motives of provocative book promotion
When sexually explicit content advocates cite these books as reflective of community standards, one has to wonder to what community these people belong?
Then there’s the who, what, when, where and why. The who and the what are easy. It’s the kids and the books. School children exposed to adult-themed, sexually oriented books. The when and the where become more troubling. K-12 students are generally fall into the 5 to 18 age range. These are formative, impressionable years. And as for the where, it’s in the schools – venues that for years have positioned themselves as safe spaces. And finally the why. That’s the tricky one.
If someone argued that any reading material can be an enhancement to learning skills, that would at least be an arguable position. Yet today’s “educators” never address that point. So then why are these books in these libraries? If not to improve reading skills, what’s the motivation? The goal?
Explicit book advocates argue the importance of exposing children to diverse sexual and gender orientations. Why would any rational adult think a contemplative presentation of this information to a young audience wouldn’t stimulate an action-oriented response? Or maybe that’s the point.
With growing numbers of school personnel arrests on sexually related charges, the why points in another disturbing direction. Think back to the chicken and the egg dilemma. Consider school personnel as the chicken, sexually explicit library content as the egg. Is one contributing to the other? And not to say in all cases, but perhaps in at least some. The answer, to us, is unknown, but the question is worth asking.
And then we come to “Sound of Freedom,” the cinematic outlier that was a struggle to make, release and place in theaters yet it’s holding its own if not even financially outpacing some of the season’s top box office draws.
“Sound of Freedom” tackles the disturbing and heart-wrenching topic of child sex trafficking. It addresses the sexualizing of children, some at grotesquely young ages.
Per the movie, Mexico is the biggest supplier of child sex industry workers with the U.S. its biggest consumer. Are we trying to compete with home grown workers? Perhaps horrifying to say, but one has to wonder.
Make no mistake. The U.S. has a pedophile problem and shouldn’t we be doing all possible to protect children from such exploitation?
- On average, a child enters the U.S. sex trade at 12 to 14 years old. Many are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.
- Most of the time, victims are trafficked by someone they know, such as a friend, family member, or romantic partner.
- Predators can rent a child for a single sex act for an average of $90. Often, that child is forced to have sex 20 times per day, six days a week.
- Trafficking usually occurs in hotels, motels, online websites and at truck stops in the U.S.
- About 50,000 people, primarily from Mexico and the Philippines, are trafficked into the U.S. annually.
- According to the Federal Human Trafficking Report, “In 2018, over half (51.6%) of the criminal human trafficking cases active in the U.S. were sex trafficking cases involving only children.”
- Traffickers use social media platforms to recruit and advertise victims of human trafficking, according to anti-trafficking advocates.
Traffickers in the US usually traffic people that they know, according to statistics from Polaris, an anti-trafficking organization that runs the US National Human Trafficking Hotline. Polaris describes the “top three recruiter types” as family members or caregivers, intimate partners, and employers.
Tim Ballard, upon whom the Sound of Freedom was based, said this to The New York Post:
“I spent 10 out of 12 years on the Southern border and to know what’s happening, you have to understand the economy of pedophilia,” he said. “The US is the number-one consumer of childhood rape videos in the world. We are now in the top one or two for production. It used to be more foreign based.”
He described to Nancy Flory at The Stream how “woke ideology is running parallel with pedophile doctrines.”
“We’re sexualizing our kids. …We’re giving kids pornography and calling it sex education. I used to arrest people for distributing material to children. … Now it’s celebrated. So these little minds, the brain’s not even [developed] yet. They’re becoming sexualized beings.”
Taking children to strip clubs isn’t acceptable. Exposing them to pornographic movies, at least for now, is another taboo. Why are these activities forbidden, yet sexually explicit books are okay simply by virtue of being in a public school library?
All three examples involve content or activities of a mature, sexual nature from which our society has traditionally shielded minors. Some schools have invited adult-themed drag queen performances into their facilities. While unaware that we’ve started showing pseudoporn movies, what would be the EIC response? If it happens on school property it’s okay?
And how far do we go? Are today’s library book topics just the beginning? Incest and sexual assault are already in the books. What’s next? Hyper-sexualization at an early age helps foment a dangerous downward slope life trajectory. One that can have lifelong consequences.
The education-industrial complex always tells us “it’s for the children.” At a point you have wonder just what “it” truly is that they’re seeking to do.
The books in our district listings include links to either sample text (when available) or additional content descriptions.
Lou Ann Anderson worked in Central Texas talk radio as both a host and producer and currently hosts Political Pursuits: The Podcast. Her tenure as Watchdog Wire–Texas editor involved covering state news and coordinating the site’s citizen journalist network. As a past Policy Analyst with Americans for Prosperity–Texas, Lou Ann wrote and spoke on a variety of issues including the growing issue of probate abuse in which wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to loot assets from intended heirs or beneficiaries.