My favorite part of the story was the reaction of a so-called professor at the University of Texas. From the Washington Post article:
According to Natasha Kern, Jones's agent, Spellberg went on to hire an attorney and threatened to sue if her name wasn't taken out of the book's bibliography. "She said it would endanger her family," said Kern, who said Spellberg then contacted several Muslim Web sites and told them to oppose the book's coming publication. Earlier this month, Spellberg wrote in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that the book was "provocative" and followed a tradition of anti-Islamic writings that "use sex and violence to attack the Prophet and his faith." She did not return a phone call or e-mail message for this story.
Wow! Hiring an attorney to get her name out of a bibliography. That must be the first time a professor has ever tried to sue not to get cited. Spellberg must be tenured and not need the citation. Of course she used the time-honored excuse of worrying about her family. She very well might be worried, because the evidence seems to indicate that there are Muslims out there loony enough to go through the bibliography at the end of a novel and systematically kill every one of the living authors. I mean, if you'll wear a bomb and detonate yourself in a public square because you think forty virgins are going to be jumping on you in heaven a moment later, then you're pretty much crazy and stupid enough to be convinced of anything, now aren't you?
I can't sympathize much with this defense, though, considering Spellberg's next action--contacting Muslim websites and telling them about the book. Hardly a purely defensive move there, was it? That was an act of aggression against intellectual freedom. One expects this kind of thing from academia, but it usually comes from the left. Censorship and repression from the right are just as unpleasant. If the book was about Jesus having sex and some Christian professor acted like that, she'd be hooted out of the academy as an anti-intellectual, totalitarian rube she obviously is. Oh well, I guess they like that kind of thing down in Texas.
Does this count as a "challenged" or "banned" book? Probably not, since it's not some parent trying to get a manual of gay sex eliminated from the second grade curriculum in some hole-in-the-wall in Florida. Here we have an actual case of a book not being available at all thanks to the idiotic, illiberal actions of a "professor" and other cowards and morons. Threatened terrorism leading to self-censorship. It's a sad world we live in when we allow liberal values to be overrun by a bunch of violent nuts.
Maybe this book can join the list of so-called "banned books" next month during "Banned" Books Week. Problem is, lots of libraries put up displays of these so-called banned books, but they won't be able to with this one. The totalitarians and religious nuts have won this time. Makes me proud to be an American.
Intellectual freedom means the freedom to think like us.