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The Tale Of The Princess Karen

, , , , , | Right | May 15, 2020

I work in a library. It is a few days before we expect the state to announce a lockdown. We are allowing all patrons to come in and borrow books and movies without penalty fees to last them the duration of the lockdown.

Every nervous parent suddenly coming to terms with having to handle their spawn at home all day, every day, raids our children’s DVD section, and all the popular animated and Disney films are gone completely. I remember a mother checking out specifically because she is renting one of my personal favorite movies, “The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya,” a Japanese animated film.

I see her come storming in the next day, right up to me.

Patron: “You guys f***** up! You f***** up real bad!”

Me: “What is the problem, ma’am?

Patron: “You had this smut in the kid’s section! I started it for my son, and within minutes, some tramp is getting her boobs out! This is disgusting and I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

For context, the movie is about an old couple finding a magical baby in the woods. The magic extends to the old woman regaining the ability to breast-feed, which she does so early on in the movie. It’s a totally innocent, natural scene, drawn in stylistic charcoal and not sexual at all.

Me: “Ma’am, the movie is rated G for all audiences. I have personally seen the movie and it’s a perfectly innocent and normal scene. I admit that the movie does cover some heavier themes compared to American animated films, but it’s still suitable for most children.”

Patron: “How dare you assume what is good for my child?! We are a God-fearing family and I demand this filth be taken off of your shelves!”

Me: “I will take a note of your complaint and bring it to the attention of our manager. We are expected to go into lockdown tomorrow, so please feel free to take another movie, instead.”

Patron: “I maxed out my book loans yesterday. Give me some more and I won’t make a scene.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I am not authorized to do that. I will call my manager and see what I can do.”

Patron: “You do that. I am going to find my new books and an age-appropriate movie for my child.”

She says that last sentence almost spitting with contempt. I call my manager and explain the situation, and after laughing, the manager says I am allowed to rent her three more books. The patron returns with some books and a movie and I relay what my manager said.

Patron: “Fine. I’ll take this movie and these books.”

The movie is a PG action film that, while generally family-friendly, does contain way more violence than the Japanese animation. The books, however, are all trashy romance novels, and the three she’s selected are “Bedded For Pleasure,” “The Playboy’s Passionate Pursuit,” and “A Naked Desire.” I scan them out.

Me: “I hope you enjoy a smut-free lockdown, ma’am!”

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