Arthur Saginian | Jousting Continues Over Book

Letters to the Editor
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Re: Diane Zimmerman, letters, Oct. 12.

Good morning, Ms. Zimmerman. I would think by now that even you would not be surprised by what I write in my letters, but I’m always looking for an opportunity to break new ground. So, grab a pole, jump on your horse, and let’s see who can knock whom to the ground. Are you game?

Well, where should I begin? Let’s start at the beginning. I was raised in Hollywood, California, in the 1960s and I had already seen my share of hippies, pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts, drug pushers and the generally “insane” by the age of 10. My first recollections of such go as far back as the age of 4 or 5 — I woke up very early. I grew up in a world of dense diversity, colorful and noisy by any standard. Oh, but I didn’t grow up alone in that festering cesspool of human indecency. No, there were thousands of us (you know… children).

I recall finding some books written by the notorious sex research couple “Masters and Johnson” in my parents’ bedroom. You may have heard of them. I would have been about 11 by then. I remember pouring over them. I was fascinated. Those books, although a bit on the clinical side, also offered some illustrations. I’m a visual learner, you see, and I just love illustrations.

The book, “This Book Is Gay,” targets the 14- to 17-year-old age group. That’s smack in the middle of high school (from which it was apparently banned). The illustrations, even those in Chapter 9, strike me as what I would call “cleverly comical.” But that’s the beauty of it because that’s exactly what the author was intending — to make it look fun and adventurous for “first-timers,” which it should be. Yes, even THAT stuff and at THAT age. Sorry, Tim (Whyte), but in my mind there are no “lines,” partly because I was raised that way and partly because I never saw the need for any. Even the tagline on Amazon says, “This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.” It has 91% (thumbs up) and 9% (thumbs down) on Amazon’s reviews. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

I followed two rules while parenting our children: 1) Answer any question no matter how awkward; and 2) Never give them anything to rebel against. Both are now successful and happy adults (free of neuroses, quirks and idiosyncrasies).

Come on in, the water is fine. Or, as Lois Eisenberg once so eloquently put it, “What are you afraid of?” 

Arthur Saginian

Santa Clarita

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