Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Bookish Hero

Sometimes the most unlikely people prove to be the bravest. In my hometown of Oklahoma City, an exceptional man has died, a guy who walked the walk when it came to defending art and free expression. Lee Brawner, who steered Oklahoma City's Metropolitan Library System through a ridiculous 1997 controversy surrounding The Tin Drum, died yesterday at age 70.

The Oklahoman reports that Brawner's staunch commitment to a free and open library system earned him a flurry of honors, even when a loopy anti-porn group pressured Oklahoma City police into confiscating video copies of Tin Drum, an Oscar-winning foreign-language film:

"Brawner, who served 28 years as the system's director, was honored in 2003 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library Endowment Trust. The award later was named for him.

"Brawner received many awards during his career, including the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award, which he won in 1998 for his devotion to intellectual freedom and educating Oklahomans about the dangers of censoring library materials, said Kim Terry, manager of marketing and communications for the Metropolitan Library System."

We will miss you, Lee.


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Brit said...

That case made Oklahoma internationally famous.

For being retarded.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Red Dirt said...

Anyone who ever interviewed Brawner knew him to be a fine gentleman who put up with a lot of nonsense in a very calm, cool, collected way.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Conrad Spencer said...

Here's to hoping his legacy is remembered in the coming months. There are moves in the Legislature to restrict "gay-themed" children's books in libraries receiving state funds.

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