The annual Wearable Art Show, hosted earlier this month by the Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council, featured a book ban protest by several defiant local librarians.
The performance was praised by the Alaska Association (AASL) of School Librarians, which posted a video of the two-minute performance on its Facebook page.
“Congratulations to the Ketchikan AK Librarians who made a statement at the 2024 Wearable Art Show,” the AASL stated. “Advocating for the #FreedomToRead doesn’t just happen at school board and city council meetings.”
The politically-motivated performance opened with the unfurling of a large banner emblazoned with the words, “Nolite Te Bastardes Caborundorum,” a faux Latin phrase found in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” An announcer interpreted the sign for the audience, yelling out, “Don’t be silent and don’t let them grind you down.”
Six women wearing long red gowns and Puritan head dresses, then stood silently on the catwalk. In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” nearly identical clothing is used to symbolize female fertility with handmaids being forced to wear red dresses and capes in public to indicate their primary role as assigned baby producers in a patriarchal futuristic society in which women try to gain individuality and sexual independence.
For the performance, the women put red tape over their mouths as they solemnly walked down the catwalk, defiantly threw back their gowns and revealed their varied undergarments, consisting of a gaudy corset, native regalia, a long night gown, a “freedom” dress and knee-high leather boots. Their costumes included signs emblazed with statements such as, “Read” and “Bans Off.”
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
Like many school and public libraries throughout Alaska and across the nation, the Ketchikan Public Library has been mired in heated controversies over the past couple of years due to local librarians’ insistence on hosting drag queen performances for children and placing highly sexualized books in its youth section, all in the name of “intellectual freedom.”
This past July the Ketchikan City Council rebuffed the city’s head librarian by voting to relocate a graphic teen sex book out of the youth section and into the adult area. The book, “Let’s Talk About It,” was deemed “pervasively vulgar” and “educationally unsuitable for minors,” due to the fact that the book encourages kids to explore sexual fantasies online and pay for internet porn, while including explicit images and references to various sexual acts.
Most local librarians and their leftist supporters were outraged by the city council’s actions, and have been exploring possible ways around the decision, as indicated in the minutes of recent Library Advisory Board meetings.