Podcast: On Being Among the Banned with Author J. J. Austrian

Pride month is more than celebratory in a time when book bans are on the rise in the United States, and 26% of the titles banned “have LGBTQ+ characters or themes,” according to PEN America. With politicians like Ron DeSantis determined to make “anti-wokeness” part of the Republican brand, this neologism for hate-speech has taken the form of book and media censorship in school and public libraries around the country. One of these banned books, entitled Worm Loves Worm, was written by a close friend named J. J. Austrian, who joins me for this episode of the podcast. Illustrated by Mike Curato and published by Harper Collins in 2016, Worm Loves Worm is a story for young children about two earthworms getting married and trying to figure out which is the bride and which is the groom while navigating the not-so-helpful advice and opinions of the other bugs and critters in attendance.

Show Contents

  • 01:22 – How does it feel to be among the banned?
  • 03:42 –  The creation of Worm Loves Worm.
  • 08:12 – What children get from Worm Loves Worm.
  • 09:36 – It’s not about sex. Indoctrination to what?
  • 12:23 – Attacks on the transgender community.
  • 15:03 – Did you expect the backlash when the book first came out?
  • 18:34 -Is it hard not to look at the negative comments?
  • 20:19 – The “shotgun wedding.”
  • 21:50 – Increase in attacks since it was first published.
  • 24:10 – More worried about middle grade and young adult readers.
  • 28:10 – Ever criticized for writing about a subject that’s not your subject? (outside your lane)
  • 34:45 – Do you have Woke Mind Virus?
  • 37:15 – A conversation about satire.
  • 44:33 – How banning can affect the author.
  • 47:44 – The victim’s narrative.
  • 50:15 – Hope for the future?
  • 52:44 – The Printing Press and the Internet
  • 57:05 – Love is love.
David Newhoff
David is an author, communications professional, and copyright advocate. After more than 20 years providing creative services and consulting in corporate communications, he shifted his attention to law and policy, beginning with advocacy of copyright and the value of creative professionals to America’s economy, core principles, and culture.

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