‘Facts Are Stubborn Things’ (To Quote John Adams)


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To the Editor:

Much has been published in local newspapers and posted online regarding the letter of petition sent to the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Public Library dated June 16, 2023 requesting that a certain book should not be displayed in the Teen/Tween room of the library. All of the push-back from a few local people and journalists to this request has been both inaccurate and purposefully deceitful.  It has been made a political issue by disputatious partisans all of whom view the situation through a left-wing lens.  In the cases of the Hartford Courant’s reporting, the op-ed published in the New London Day, and in numerous online postings, the fact that no book ban was ever requested or sought has been blatantly absent.  Anyone associated with the Republican Town Committee of Old Lyme who was a signatory of the June letter has been personally attacked in one way or another.  It is time that the general public knew the facts and not be further misled by the hysteria being dispersed.

Here are the facts for your consideration:

  1. No book bans were ever sought or requested.

  2. The letter clearly requests that the library’s Board and Management review the appropriateness of one specific book or books of similar sexual content being available on the shelves in the Teens/Tweens room of the library. 

    The letter states:

    “To be clear, we are not advocating banning any books. We are mindful of the conversations taking place nationally.  Our concern is specific to the age-appropriate content within the Teen/Tween room ….  We request a proper review of the materials in the Teen/Tween room in hopes that no other content like this is available in that space.”

    Contrary to accusations about this letter, the letter makes no mention , nor was there any intended reference to the LGBTQ+ Community.

  3. The two authors of the book specifically cited – “Let’s Talk About It” – are Erika Moen and Mathew Nolan. Ironically if you visit their website, entitled “Oh Joy Sex Toy,” you will be asked to affirm that you are at least 18 years old.  Furthermore, the website states boldly that the book, “Let’s Talk About It,” is for people in Grades 9-12.  For reference, Teens are considered 13-19.  Tweens refer to children that are between the ages of 8 and 12.  Most children in Grades 9 through 12 are between the ages of 14 and 18.

  4. Various opinions published recently attacking the concerned citizens from the June 16, 2023 letter have identified the book as a document focused on sexual education.  Yet neither author of this book has any educational or psychology training credentials on the subject of sex education supporting such a finding. These authors are cartoonists.  On the “Oh Joy Sex Toy” website, the authors are presented in writing as “married comic creators” on a mission to demystify sex for adults.  The operative words here are: for adults.

  5. The ardent defenders of keeping this book or others like it on the shelf in the Teen/Tween room apparently did no research.  They appear to believe that age doesn’t matter.  They feel they should decide what other people’s children should be reading.

  6. Old Lyme Republican Town Committee members have been viciously denigrated  because some of them signed the June 16, 2023 letter of petition. Some of those people’s children have been attacked on line by other kids whose parents believe all the lies disseminated about book bans.  The Republican Town Committee has officially with intent remained silent on this issue until now.  The Republican Town Committee in Old Lyme saw this as a legitimate concerned parent and citizen right matter, not a political issue.  We presently feel compelled by the vitriol and dishonesty being sown from the left to set the facts out for the public at large. Here are the facts:
    • The Old Lyme Republican Town Committee has no argument with these books being available to adults, or for adults , so inclined, to provide to their children.  The Republican Town Committee members do not support book bans, never have. There is no evidence to the contrary.

    • The Republican Town Committee members completely support the equal rights of all in the LGBTQ+  community. There is, again, no evidence to the contrary.

    • The position by the Republican Town Committee on this matter is that the availability of such books should be age-appropriate.  We support the fact that availability of such books should be left up to the discretion of parents.  Why should the Librarians or the Board of our public library make these decisions without consulting with parents?  Why can’t the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Public Library, funded to the tune of 44% by the taxpayers in Old Lyme, be willing to have the public weigh in on the suitability of books for young children?  Such openness in the future with parents who fund the library in large measure would be prudent and community- building.  Such a partnership would engender transparency.  It would avert disputes and prevent misinformation from being spread.  Parents from all political persuasions should participate.

For the public’s information, here is some of the specific content from the book in question, “Let’s Talk About It”:

  • Pg. 164            “A great place to research fantasies and kinks safely is on the internet!  There are tons of people and communities out there that share your interests and have all kinds of advice.”  This promotes pornography to minors which is illegal.

  • Pg. 119            “Circle your butthole with your finger, pausing anytime a spot feels extra good.  Dip just the tip of your finger inside.  Let your anus pull it in when it is ready.”  Really? Do you think this instruction is appropriate for an 8 or 12 year old?

  • Pg. 119            “Dive deeper with your finger or a butt plug!  Just make sure any objects you put up there have a flared base; otherwise, your hungry heinie can gobble it up …”  This is not sexual education for young children!

  • Pg. 164            “Look up interviews with your favorite porn performers, go to the sites they recommend, and pay for your porn.”  Again, this promotes pornography to minors which is illegal.

If you believe this kind of information is appropriate for children that are between the ages of 8 and 12, you must be part of an extremely small and misguided minority.

Let’s ask the public library to defend placing such books on the shelves of the Teen/Tween room. Given the content of this book, it doesn’t seem plausible that a viable defense can be made.

Our constitutional based republic supports citizen’s rights to question what any level of government does, even libraries supported financially by Town government. Yet members of the RTC and others who signed the June 16th letter have been called Fascists by detractors. Similarly, our First Amendment rights codify your free speech to support the government or the public library.  We at the Republican Town Committee stand firm in our unequivocal support for those rights for all.  So to call people who question decisions made by a public entity Fascists is demonstrably irresponsible.  In fact, the right to question the government or a public funded entity like a library, wholly contravenes the concept of fascism.  Private citizens have the right to question such things and agree to disagree.  So let’s have a civil, fact-based discussion, not a mud slinging fight characterized by dishonest accusations.  Stick to the facts; facts are stubborn things.

R. Andrew Nixon
Old Lyme, CT

Nixon is the current chair of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee