Controversial Magazine With Critical Satire of Bush Administration Gets Rescued As Thousands of Librarians "Bombard" Printing Company

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Angry Librarians Come To The Rescue of Controversial Humor Magazine Critical of Bush Administration

In an episode reminiscent of the attempted destruction of Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men” by publisher HarperCollins, the Vice President of a midwest printing company recently notified the publisher of RAVEN Magazine, a controversial humor magazine for men, that he refused to print it due to content he alleged was “slanderous” and contained “reverse-racism”.

“It was shocking” said RAVEN Magazine publisher Zane Valenti, “because I thoroughly explained the magazine’s tone and type of content to the Vice President months ago before accepting their print bid, and did so to avoid exactly this problem. I had warned her that the humor was very irreverent and often critical of the current White House administration. She assured me on each point that there would be no problem.”

The owners of BrioPrint of Minnesota took issue with a satirical cartoon showing Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in Nazi uniforms, a comic strip depicting the Bush administration as racists on a southern plantation using Colin Powell in slave’s clothing as a mouthpiece to deceive the UN into supporting Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and a parody of Mel Gibson’s ideas of more new movies that reinforced negative stereotypes like those of the Jews in his “Passion of the Christ”.

“The problem is that press time with printers needs to be reserved weeks in advance” said Valenti. “To search for a new printer from scratch meant that the magazine issue wouldn’t be released until well after the Presidential election, hurting the relevancy of much of the content. We explained to the printer that they didn’t have a legal right to refuse the job now and the owner said he’d give us the outcome of his reconsideration in three days.”

Similar to the campaign that saved Moore’s “Stupid White Men” book which went on to make its publisher millions of dollars, thousands of librarians from across the U.S. came to the rescue as they shared the story of RAVEN Magazine and the conservative printer through their internet list services and bulletin boards.

“Starting the very first day, we were BOMBARDED with phone calls, non-stop from upset librarians. It was so disruptive my staff couldn’t get anything else done”, said BrioPrint owner John Marino.    His company also received thousands of emails and faxes urging him to honor his company’s printing agreement with RAVEN and to uphold the spirit of the First Amendment.

By only the second day, staff at BrioPrint were telling the upset callers that they would print the magazine after all, but the calls kept flooding in as the news went via the internet from the California Library Association to the 10,000 member American Library Association.

“We were totally blown away by the commitment of these librarians and how strongly they felt”, said publisher Valenti, “and are grateful for their help. I guess one lesson here is that if you take freedom of the press lightly, don’t let the librarians find that out”.

RAVEN Magazine is not available in stores because the content has proven too controversial for newsstand distribution companies and retailers, and can only be received via mail by ordering it on the magazine’s website. The controversial RAVEN Magazine issue that was at the center of the dispute can still be ordered now at Contact information for the magazine and its publisher can be found there also.

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Scott Rhodes
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