Thursday, November 13, 2008

Iowa Stubborn

Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books.

Dirty books!

Chaucer!
Rabelais!
Ballllllllllllllllllllll-zac!

Yes, we got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T, that rhymes with P and that stands for PORN!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Every time I hear about something happening in Iowa I conjure that blasted Music Man movie, particularly the "Iowa Stubborn" number. I haven't been to Iowa in twenty years, and even then we just drove through on the way to someplace else. For all I know people are still picking a little, talking a little, and picking a little more there.

Right now, Brenna Lyons has reported the people of Greene, Iowa are picking and talking about a small publisher to whom they have denied housing, presumably on the basis of the nature of her books. Summarizing part of Brenna's post:

Terri Pray and her husband Sam are part owners of Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions. Terri and Sam were set to buy a house in Greene, Iowa. They had their loan approved, the bid on the house accepted, but Greene has a requirement that they have to have the final sale approved by the town. They weren't approved.

Now, why were they turned down? Terri and Sam, as I noted, are part owners of UTM/FSP. A portion of the business is run out of their home and a part out of the office, as it is with many indie presses. Between the two sides of the company, they have dozens of books out and contracted, everything from straight genre military fiction, horror, and fantasy to erotic romance of all sorts. To be honest, the lion's share of their books aren't even erotic. They have several major gaming franchises, including Honor Harrington gaming. They sell t-shirts and even audio CDs.

ONE book, out of their entire stock, is a M/M erotic romance anthology, titled SACRED BANDS. While the townspeople of Greene, Iowa found the M/F erotic romance perfectly acceptable, they called the M/M erotic romance "gay porn." Some of them further stated (now, mind you...these aren't older people...these are 30-45-year-old people, which makes it all the more deplorable, in my mind) that publishing SACRED BANDS was "morally corrupt" and that choosing to publish the anthology demonstrated "questionable business practices."

They lost their house, because (out of hundreds of items available from their business) one book is M/M erotic romance. The deliberations ended with the comment that Greene, Iowa didn't want to be "known for harboring a publisher of gay porn."

Now, let me assure the fine folks of Greene, Iowa that one homoerotic anthology does not a gay porn empire make. From what I know of Under the Moon, gay romance and homoerotica is not their focus. Assuredly, when I think about gay porn I'm not associating it with any particular locale, much less Iowa. I'm usually thinking of two hot guys humping each other. The backdrop is immaterial. If anything, Iowa is know more for corn, not porn.

Yes. Juicy, sweet, phallic corn. Slathered in creamy butter and served by a shirtless man-god with a six-pack off which I could bounce quarters.

Sorry. Iowa. Right.

Never mind that I find it odd an entire town has to approve of a potential homeowner's purchase, the mere wording of their rejection bothers me. "Harboring a publisher of gay porn" lends an unnecessary seediness to this situation, as though the town were being asked to allow released convicts inside their borders. The Prays are simply people with their own business. They ask only to buy a house, not for all to Greene to buy their products. Regardless of whether or not you like to read books of an explicit nature, it is not illegal to write, publish, or sell erotic works to consenting adults.

Hearing news like this concerns me. I, too, am an author of explicit books. Much of my work is done inside my home. I would certainly hate to be turned away from buying a home or renting office space because of the nature of my books. If you've seen my house, too, you'll know it doesn't look any different from other houses in the neighborhood. There are no twinkle lights shaped like scrotums hanging from the eaves, I host no wild orgies, and my typical work wear is not a corset and fetish heels, but sweatpants and a t-shirt. The imagination aside, my life is pretty boring.

Damn it.

I don't know if the Prays and Greene, Iowa will come to a reconciliation, or if they'll "touch noses for a week and a half and never see eye to eye," but I do hope the Prays will be able to find a community that will welcome them. I hope, too, I can get the score of this frickin' movie out of my head.

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