Right Wing Nutballs never give up on banning books

Somewhere amid the current outbreak of parental fears over Covid vaccine mandates, misguided attacks on critical race theory being taught in elementary schools and the fistfights and yelling at school boards, we’re seeing a renewed attempt to ban textbooks…It’s not that parental challenges to textbooks are new, but the intensity is prompting the Department of Justice to act.

Justice is seeking ways to address a “spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school boards, administrators and staff; against teachers, administrators and school board members in heated conflicts over Covid safety policies and curriculum content.

That, in turn, has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and leading Republicans attacking Justice and offering to defend parental rights to decide that curriculum match their community values, even if it means banning books.

Titles like The Catcher in the Rye, A Brave New World, Lolita and Lady Chatterley’s Lover are among the classics barred from schools or libraries over time. Now there has been a shift. The American Library Association’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020 showed that the books challenged the most concern “racism, Black American history and diversity in the United States.”

Uniform national standards aren’t the hardest thing in the world to create and order. Even in a nation barely competent as the United States. Finding politicians with sufficient backbone to stand up to archaic bigotry, racism and religion, is the hard part.

13 thoughts on “Right Wing Nutballs never give up on banning books

    • p/s says:

      “This institution [University of Virginia] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Thomas Jefferson (letter to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820).

  1. Footnote says:

    “Animals only follow their natural instincts; but man, unless he has experienced the influence of learning and philosophy, is at the mercy of impulses that are worse than those of a wild beast. There is no beast more savage and dangerous than a human being who is swept along by the passions of ambition, greed, anger, envy, extravagance, and sensuality.”
    Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466~1536) De pueris statim ac liberaliter instituendis declamatio (1529), translated by Beert C. Verstraete as On Education for Children https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Desiderius_Erasmus#English

  2. Comstockery says:

    “G.O.P. Attack Involving Toni Morrison Novel Inflames Virginia Contest” (NYT update 10/29/21)
    A new online advertisement released this week by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, features a mother who pushed to have Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” banned from her son’s English curriculum eight years ago, citing the book’s graphic scenes. When that failed, she started an effort that eventually became a bill passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, but that was rejected by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat now running to win back his old job.
    Left unsaid in the ad was that the mother and her husband are Republican activists, that their son was a high school senior taking advanced placement English when he read the passages that supposedly gave him nightmares, or that he later went on to work briefly in the White House under former President Donald J. Trump and now works for the G.O.P.’s congressional campaign committee. Also unmentioned was the novel in question: a Pulitzer Prize-winning fixture of the American literary canon — by a Nobel Prize-winner, no less — whose harrowing scenes conveyed the horrors of slavery, a subject with obvious historical resonance in Virginia. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/27/us/politics/beloved-toni-morrison-virginia.html
    …While the effectiveness of Mr. Youngkin’s ads may not become clear until polls close on Tuesday, there has been one clear beneficiary of the controversy: As of Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Morrison’s 34-year-old novel was one of the top 50 best-selling books on Amazon.”

    • Ante up says:

      Gov. Greg Abbott told the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday to investigate criminal activity related to “the availability of pornography” in public schools, saying that the agency should refer such instances “for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”
      Abbott’s request comes two days after he asked the agency, along with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the State Board of Education, to develop statewide standards preventing “obscene content in Texas public schools.”
      While those standards are developed, Abbott wrote to the TEA in his letter Wednesday, “more immediate action is needed to protect Texas students” against that inappropriate content, which he said is “a clear violation” of state law. https://www.texastribune.org/2021/11/10/abbott-pornography-texas-school-books/
      p/s: “I know it when I see it.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

  3. Cultural Revolution says:

    “Sedition trial opens in Hong Kong for group held over kids’ books : A group of five speech therapists faces up to two years in prison if found guilty of sedition for writing books for children.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/5/sedition-trial-opens-for-hong-kong-speech-therapists
    “These are very simple story books but inside they have some information and some material inside which [has a] seditious intent, which brings hatred against the government and administration of justice and inciting violence to others,” Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the National Security Department told reporters following the group’s arrest last year.
    In response to the arrests, the Hong Kong’s Confederation of Trade Unions said at the time that “today, a children’s book is defined as seditious. Tomorrow, any metaphors … could be read as seditious words, and everyone in society is on edge.”
    The Confederation of Trade Unions and the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists were later forced to disband in September and October 21.
    They were among the 58 civil society groups that have shut their doors since national security legislation was imposed in June 2020, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

  4. 451 says:

    Florida teachers forced to remove or cover up books to avoid felony charges
    State’s new bill goes into effect prohibiting material unless deemed appropriate by a librarian or ‘certified media specialist’ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/24/florida-manatee-county-books-certified-media-specialist
    Scrutiny of teaching material in Florida schools heightened under the leadership of the rightwing Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, whose administration says it is actively working to “protect parental rights”, which includes a prohibition on childhood education on gender, sexual orientation and critical race theory.

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