Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brace Yourselves . . . A Personal Rant About Small Minded People!!!

In my professional life I work with the public -- all kinds of people, and for the most part it is an uplifting and positive experience. In a world that is expanding in one sense and getting smaller in another, it just seems that we do everyone a disservice if we can't think beyond our own little worlds and our own comfortable morality or both.

This is about a published author, Judy Mays, whose erotic romances have been published by Ellora's Cave and Changeling Press. Her books have been published since 2008-2009 and she has been writing all these on her own time. Judy Mays is not her legal name--she has been writing under a pseudonym in order to keep her private writing completely apart from her family and community life, and it also gives her a far greater assurance of privacy.

Guess what? She is a 10th grade English teacher and she has been teaching high school sophomores for 25 years. Her students have praised her for the linguistic horizons she has opened up for them . . . have even managed to get some of them to really like language. She has won teaching awards. Yet when one of her students accidentally spied a picture of her on the internet, identified by her pen name, he thought she looked like his English teacher and told his mom - - who promptly checked it out, had a fit, and began demanding that she lose her job because she was corrupting the morals of minors, one of whom was her son.

GIVE ME A BREAK!! Did Ms Mays ever use any of her books in her classes? NO! Did she advertise her books and give her students a discount? NO! Did her private writing activity ever even go near her everyday, make-up-the-lesson-plans profession? NO! Of course not, because what she does on her own time never even went near what she did professionally in that school system. And yet this mother and a number of others with the same narrow, judgmental, cockamamie attitude demanded her dismissal as a teacher.

As if that weren't enough, the local media picked it up -- and I understand it even went national--and they found their prurient story of the week, all the while involving Ms Mays in the vortex of criticism and the small-minded judgment of that Pennsylvania community. (I had to laugh when I found an interesting post on Shiloh Walker's blog wherein she gave that radio/TV station all her personal information.) It is mind-boggling that any thinking person would take this seriously. But perhaps that is the critical ingredient that is missing: thinking.

I know that the United States is a very large country. Traveling from one end to another and living in a number of different communities throughout my life have convinced me that some areas are very accepting and open-minded--the live-and-let-live kind of thinking. Others are truly provincial and very enclosed. My hubby was raised in Iowa, and I have often said that the reason he is bald is because that was the only way to get all the Iowa corn seed out of his hair. He comes from a long line of Iowa natives, and I can tell you that although they always knew intellectually that there were 49 other states, at least in hubby's family, there was no life outside Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, or Waterloo--the localities where most of them lived. I know of a very good friend who moved from California to upper Wisconsin--an area where he was born and raised. But he had been gone for 35 years, and when he and his wife moved back, it was as if he had never been there. He could live there and spend his money there, but hell would freeze over before he had any valid opinions to offer about anything in their town.

There is now a Facebook page where fans can show their support for Judy Mays, and I noticed that her blog and several other personal avenues of contact for her have been deleted. Don't blame her!! But I went on Facebook and was delighted to see so many authors, many of whom are now protecting their pseudonyms rigorously--taking pictures of themselves down off the internet--and who are well-aware that there are barracudas out there who have the capacity to make life impossible for them and their families, and who are offering support for her with a particular kind of understanding.

I have not heard the upshot of this for Judy Mays. I sincerely hope that the school board has some thinking persons who can effectively move past all this. But the truly sad part is that she is forever tainted with this, especially those who are really good pointing out the things in others they don't like, but are remarkably unaware of their own inconsistencies. The old truism states: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." I also am a firm believer in karma and even as it is expressed in the Golden Rule: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." I fear for that mother and others who have delighted in this move to humiliate a very good teacher and a person who has worked for 25 years to insure that their children are well-educated. I sincerely hope there is no one living in that community who is even more small-minded and turns on them. Wouldn't that be justice?? The real justice would be if all this attention resulted in Judy Mays' book sales going through the roof. Hopefully some good comes out of all this and that through it all, the hurt doesn't do damage to a really talented lady and one who has obviously always had a heart for people.

Thanks for stopping by DIK. I have enjoyed the three days of sharing with you. As always, keep on reading and enjoying . . .


Katalina Leon said...

I was deeply saddened to hear what Judy May's has been subjected to.
Why would anyone assume Ms May's writing was harming underage children? It sounded to me as if there were no connection at all.
Ms May's writing is her creative work, aimed at an adult audience and covered under every Americans right to freedom of speech.
Do we as a country really want to put romance authors on the pillory and deprive them of a livelihood they performed well at for 25 years?

Chris said...

I'd love to read a follow up story about Judy Mays to find out how things have turned out. I've wondered...

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