Friday, March 18, 2005

Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been?

Probably trying to emulate Congress, which fiddles with baseball and steroids while Social Security, a burgeoning budget deficit and Iraq burn, the El Segundo city council has decided its local library has to come up with new names for some of its rooms. Here's the story from The Daily Breeze (and don't shoot them for being the messenger):

Agatha Christie and Jack London books are easily found on the shelves of the El Segundo Public Library, but the City Council has deemed the two celebrated authors too un-American -- literally and figuratively -- to attach their names to new meeting rooms at the library.

Council members Tuesday rejected the recommendations by library staff members and supporters, sending them back to the drawing board to widen the list of authors.

Councilman John Gaines made the first objection, asking why Christie, a British citizen, and London, a onetime socialist, were selected.

"I've read a lot of (Christie's) books," he said. "I'm a murder-mystery man, but can't we pick an American?"

Mayor Kelly McDowell echoed Gaines' sentiments, asking staffers to select less politically charged authors.

"I don't want to make a political statement by naming a room, period," he said. "I don't want to use one whose politics, in my view, weren't in line with American ideals."

But don't they know the English are part of our coalition? I mean, if they decided to call it the Jean Paul Sartre Room, that would be one thing (and lead to too many No Exit jokes), but Agatha Christie? Is it because Vanessa Redgrave played her in Agatha back in 1979, and that just politicizes things too much?

In a related story, lumber giants Pacific Lumber Company and Georgia-Pacific have filed a rare joint suit declaring that Sonoma's 800-acre Jack London State Historical Park must be condemned due to its socialist associations. "London put the RED in old-growth redwoods," claims a joint statement. "The least we can do to protect America is cut all these trees down." The two companies hope to settle the case and rev up those chainsaws by August 2005.


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