Friday, August 07, 2009

Pre-Ban Books.

Shootin' Buddy and I were reminiscing in the car about Big Little Books. I whimsically thought it might be fun to re-read a couple that I remembered from my childhood, especially the one where Lassie and her master find the frozen mammoth in Alaska, and then a tree falls and pins the man to the ground and Lassie... anyway... I thought it might be a lark to track some of these down and re-read them and see how they'd aged.

I assumed they were probably collectible, and it turns out they are.

What I didn't expect is that they'd technically be illegal. That's right: The Safety Nazis, the GreenShirts, are banning the sale of old children's books in the name of safety.

I don't think I've ever felt quite the quiver of rage I felt at that moment.

I will adapt to my cigarettes getting messed with; I will improvise and overcome if you want to take my bayonet lug away; but I am this close to saddling up and busting caps over The Wizard of Oz.

Keep your slimy, regulation-encrusted hands off my childhood, you bastards. I'm not kidding.

44 comments:

karrde said...

I suspect that a few lawyers and lobbyists from Big Toy Industry and Big Book wanted to crowd out competition from small manufacturers (and resold items).

They took advantage of the need to do something about imported toys with too much lead...and suggested a law with a suspicious absence of the word imported.

I'm with you, though. This is too much.

When will we start hearing about the dreaded Book Show Loophole?

Brigid said...

I have a very well read, original Grimm's Fairy Tales with Lithographs that Dad sent to me while cleaning up my room. They'll pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Turk Turon said...

Liberals love to tweak Conservatives for being "book banners". Trying to ban "The Wizard of Oz" because it promotes witchcraft?! But liberals do it, too.

Just go into any public library and ask if they've got a copy of the original "Doctor Doolittle" books. If they have them at all, you're going to need a researchers' credentials to see 'em.

The author loved African animals, but was less enthusiastic about African people. The reprints available now have been bowdlerized.

It's a happy irony that today we associate Eddie Murphy with Doctor Doolittle, and not the racist white animal lover from the original books.

Ken said...

Remember President Jackson's words to Mr. Justice Marshall.

They are words to live by.

fast richard said...

When I first heard about that CPSIA law last fall, I didn't think it could be as bad as people were claiming. It has turned out to be even worse than the early worries. If you sell a banned item at a private garage sale, any plaintiffs attorney has standing under the statute to sue you and collect damages. Banned items include almost any childrens item.

Even little rhinestones on childrens clothing are illegal, because they are made from glass that contains lead. Any library that is still lending out childrens books published before 1986 is probably violating the law, and those books cannot be legally sold. Those reduced size motorcycles and atvs that children under 12 can ride, even repair parts for them, are now illegal.

On a related note, about censorship. Last year, when the left was claiming Sarah Palin wanted to ban books, I checked on the availability of a favorite childhood book. I could find nothing similar in local children's libraries. I did however find a used copy of "Musket to M-14" by C.B. Colby on Amazon. It had been removed from a school library just a few years ago, and would now be illegal to sell.

og said...

Good lord. When do we get out the rope?

Oh, I'm sorry, was that rage filled?

I'll show you some rage you statist sons of bitches.

Jay G said...

I'm with og.

Rope. Tree. Politician...

BryanP said...

Okay, is this different from what is described here?

docjim505 said...

But it's for the CHIIIIIIIIILDREEEEENNNNNNNNN!

/ sarc

crankylitprof said...

Books contain thoughts. Books encourage thought.

What Nanny State wants its serfs to actually think?

Rat-fucking, shit-slurping, goat-felching, cum-burbling trout-fuckers.

Tam said...

BryanP,

That's exactly what is described there.

That regulation had had all kinds of ramifications: I've seen my advertiser base change, for instance. A couple of my regular advertisers were little Etsy shops that carried home-knit infant clothing and blankets and such. Don't see those anymore...

Joanna said...

BryanP: Anything political on Snopes, do your own research. They're great for "OMG will Coca-Cola dissolve my dentures?", but not so much for "What's really going on here, congressdudes?"

theirritablearchitect said...

Well, it's good to know exactly what your hot-button is, now isn't it.

Usefull information for the coming...er, nevermind.

Tam said...

I know where my lines are, and always have.

I just don't see any particular need to engage in giant internet circle jerks about it.

When they cross my line, you'll know, and it won't be because I'm writing about it.

BryanP said...

Joanna, I don't depend on one source for anything if I can help it, but in this case they link to this clarification which, if I'm reading it correctly, states that the lead rules only apply to new production. My existing ancient hardcovers of the Narnia books are perfectly to sell if they showed up in a used book store, but a new production run has to certify that they didn't use lead based inks.

I'm ready to jump on idiocy wherever I find it, (particularly where books are concerned) but I like to double check and make sure I'm not going to get jerked up short with an Emily Lutella style "Oh. Nevermind."

theirritablearchitect said...

"When they cross my line, you'll know, and it won't be because I'm writing about it."

Yes, but now I know what to feed you.

What was that thing about rage, yesterday?

Tam said...

The problem with the books is that they are almost certainly above the lead limit:

"The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties. "

Old Grouch said...

@BrianP,

You are reading it incorrectly. The new rules apply to anything SOLD that (some third party thinks) might wind up in the hands of children. Specifically including used books.

Assuming you're seriously interested and not trolling, go read Megan McArdle's Atlantic post and its associated links, especially these comments: 1, 2, 3.

Ever since this bill passed, we've been getting this "nothing to see here" sh*t from its proponents, but guess what: As the regulations have come down, it's turned out to be even worse than predicted. Who'd-a thunk it?

og said...

"When they cross my line, you'll know, and it won't be because I'm writing about it."
I got your back. If you need it. Whcih i doubt.

Don said...

They're not required to test for lead, but they are held responsible if what they sell exceeds the limits. This is like saying that you aren't required to install a speedometer in your car, but you will be prosecuted if you exceed the speed limit.

We're still sorting out which childrens' resale shops will survive around here. There are still two or three in the area, so maybe they'll make it. The rest folded and made no attempt to conceal the reason.

Kevin said...

I feel the same way about this law. It has effectively banned dirtbikes marketed for children too - I can't get a new 50cc bike for my kids, because you know, they might chew on it or something.

Old Grouch said...

And Tam, the problem isn't that all old books are "almost certainly" above the lead limit (although we know that lead was used in some inks used in printing some books). Many old books, especially ones without color printing, are perfectly safe.

The problem is that unless you can show test data that any book you sell is lead-free, you're a target for any activist with a law degree.

BryanP said...

OldGrouch, I'll be sure to go read that when I have a moment. And no, I'm not a troll. I have an unfortunate compulsion to play devil's advocate though, which sometimes makes people think I'm a troll. As a result my left leaning friends think I'm a heartless conservative and my right leaning friends think I'm a bleeding heart. Go figure. :)

OA said...

Ken said...
Remember President Jackson's words to Mr. Justice Marshall.

They are words to live by.

9:09 AM, August 07, 2009

Unless you were an indian...

Be careful what you wish for, especially if your beliefs place you in an increasingly small minority.

Old Grouch said...

@BrianP,

No offense intended.

Folks who have been following this issue have deemed the Snopes treatment a "known unreliable" since at least February.

There's been lots of discussion at Volokh, most recently here.

Don Meaker said...

My all time forbidden book..."The Matchlock Gun" where a young boy defends his mother from wild indians with the old obsolete matchlock as Dad is away performing his militia service.

John A said...

So... I went to -
http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA09/brief/leadfinalrule.pdf
[misleading word, "final" - it is still more "interim" if not "preliminary"] to take a look. Specifically, "Older Books" section.
. . .
Firstly, the CPSC has only applied an "injunction" saying, mostly, that as long as you don't sell older books to children under 12 (sell to adults is OK) you don't have to worry unless the injunction is lifted/reversed. Except, if you distribute them to kids, as libraries do, you are acting illegally. Except libraries do not have to worry. Despite distributing to kids...

Also it says, referring to another place, that every "part" of items must by itself be within the lead limit. Again, excepting parts of books (e.g., the glues in the binding). Maybe. As long as the part is bound over.

. . .
In short -
The agency is still trying to figure out what it has to cover, what it should cover, what it need/should not cover...

Joseph said...

Question about "lead based inks"....has any harm actually been shown to have come from them? I don't mean could it happen, but has it happened?

mts1 said...

So you're supposed to ditch those glorious old National Geographics of years gone by (those vivacious reds must be chock full of lead) when they no longer have a place in your life? You can't give them to anyone who might have a child around them?

Back in WW II, someone found his neighbor's behavior suspicious, so they referred that to the FBI, and found out they were German spies. What was the behavior? They threw out their National Geographics when the new issue came to the house, like any other magazine. Only a true American knows, no one throws out National Geographics.

Now this bunch wants us to. The act of an undercover enemy combatant. Wow.

OA said...

Joseph said...
Question about "lead based inks"....has any harm actually been shown to have come from them? I don't mean could it happen, but has it happened?

7:16 PM, August 07, 2009

Given how many people throughout history have had a bullet lodged someplace where it couldn't be prized out yet managed to live long and healthy lives, I doubt lead based ink matters much in the mind (or body) of anyone but a bureaucrat.

Anonymous said...

Ken said...
Remember President Jackson's words to Mr. Justice Marshall.

They are words to live by.

9:09 AM, August 07, 2009
OA Said...
Unless you were an indian...

Be careful what you wish for, especially if your beliefs place you in an increasingly small minority.
------------------

Yeah, it's always best to take the side of the majority, nobody should ever fight for what they believe in (even if that makes them part of the minority), that just wouldn't be proper Socialist behavior. ::sigh::

Tam said...

"Given how many people throughout history have had a bullet lodged someplace where it couldn't be prized out yet managed to live long and healthy lives..."

Solid metallic lead isn't easily absorbed into the bloodstream; this is how the human race survived almost two thousand years of lead drinking water pipes and lead toy soldier figurines.

Various oxides of lead, and airborne or ingested lead, are much more likely to contaminate the bloodstream than a solid lump of metallic lead encapsulated in a cyst somewhere in the body.

OA said...

That's not what I meant at all, melodramatically sighing Anonymous git, but hey, thanks for twisting my words around to have a totally different meaning.

Seriously, are you so dense you couldn't grasp the meaning? Ever cracked open a history book and read about persecution befalling people for having views outside the newly accepted mainstream? At that point bad things happen when the leader decides to ignore the court(s) when they pass rulings that say things like "you can't round them up". Or are you some lonely, lard-assed internet commando that actually wishes to go through such things because you think you'll finally get your chance to shine?


Tam said...
Solid metallic lead isn't easily absorbed into the bloodstream; this is how the human race survived almost two thousand years of lead drinking water pipes and lead toy soldier figurines.

Various oxides of lead, and airborne or ingested lead, are much more likely to contaminate the bloodstream than a solid lump of metallic lead encapsulated in a cyst somewhere in the body.

8:27 AM, August 08, 2009

Who isn't well aware of that? However, I highly doubt lead ink is going to take anyone down before all the other toxins that are ingested daily do. Cripes, a tube of toothpaste is more toxic.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

"We deal in lead, friend."

perlhaqr said...

It was the wind up for the evil "mangle old engines" Cash for Clunkers program. First they destroyed the children's clothing and toys secondhand market. Then they destroyed the secondhand motive power market. What next?

Anonymous said...

OA Said...
That's not what I meant at all, melodramatically sighing Anonymous git, but hey, thanks for twisting my words around to have a totally different meaning.

Seriously, are you so dense you couldn't grasp the meaning? Ever cracked open a history book and read about persecution befalling people for having views outside the newly accepted mainstream? At that point bad things happen when the leader decides to ignore the court(s) when they pass rulings that say things like "you can't round them up". Or are you some lonely, lard-assed internet commando that actually wishes to go through such things because you think you'll finally get your chance to shine?
---------------------

LOL! Hit a nerve perhaps?

OA said...

What are you, eight? Did you stick your fingers in your ears and say "nanner nanner" whilst you read it?

You got my meaning wrong. Butch up and live with it rather than acting like a child. Hell, maybe even act full-on adult and apologize.

Anonymous said...

Nahh... you're more fun to read when you've got steam coming out of your ears.

Anonymous said...

To say nothing of my astonishment to learn the same of Mark Twain's entire repetoire (Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and many others) and such classics as Brer (sp?) Rabbit, Little Black Sambo, and a number of others. Isn't this book purging similar to what Joseph Stalin did in post revolution Russia. Obliterate opposing points of view.

It's good to cross your path again, Tamara. The best to you.

Anonymous said...

Remember when the comsocs bureaucracy does it, it's okay...

Anonymous said...

Our local library system had its annual sale and I picked up a bunch of beautiful, barely worn children's books for a song because they were clearing the shelves "jut in case." Everything from fantasy to history to nature stuff. It's sad.

LittleRed1

wrm said...

We're getting container loads of USA ex-school and ex-library books, and Rotary (I think) are distributing it.

So I guess we can't complain.

But it sucks.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Karrde, it wasn't 'Big Business' who lobbied for this bill. see here for the list of culprits.

Snopes is a completely unreliable source on this issue.

Recently, the CPSC 'clarified' their regulatory guidance on books, and it's still illegal to sell books for children that were printed before 1985. No, nobody has ever gotten any elevated blood levels from the books, and it is unlikely they could for a number of reasons (see here, for a longer post I wrote pointing out that toddlers chew on book corners, illustrations in toddler books are more usually centered on the page, that 12 year olds do not eat their books, yet the law treats their books just the same, that the few illustrations containing lead generally are limited to a single color, not the entire illustration, that as part of the substrate, there is no indication that the lead would leave the book and enter a child's blood stream, that saliva alone does not break down lead anyway and cause it to enter the blood stream so licking and sucking wouldn't result in elevated lead levels. But it doesn't matter- this law actually has written into the law a requirement that risk assessment cannot be considered- only how much lead is in a product- NOT how likely it is a child could get it (the lead in bikes, for instance, is in parts like tire valve stems, but that doesn't matter, the bikes are illegal).

The Rainbow Fish may also be dead in the water.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Oh, and Karrde, the reason the law leaves out the word 'imported' is because it is apparently illegal to single out imports for extra testing, which Congress knew perfectly well. They never intended to single out imports from China for lead testing.