Monday, December 28, 2020

Book Burning, American Style

The Great American Cultural Revolution proceeds apace. The war to gain complete control over the American mind is moving forward. 

You will recall-- or maybe not-- that Chairman Mao used the pretext of his Cultural Revolution to monopolize the marketplace of ideas-- that is the market for books. With only one exception all books were banned. The one exception was the little red book of the thoughts of Chairman Mao. Everyone was forced to read it, to study it, to mouth its platitudes and to declare complete and total subservience to its ideas.


But, it was all for an ignoble cause, so Westerners, especially those who inhabited France, were enthralled by the idea. Think of what it did for book sales and royalties.


Anyway, Megan Cox Gordon reports in the Wall Street Journal today that school districts across America are canceling the classics, whether Homer or Shakespeare or Hawthorne. The reason-- these books do not advance the current pedagogical effort to brainwash children, to make them too dysfunctional to function in the real world.


What strikes the moderately sensible intelligence here is that the teachers who are throwing out the classics-- is book burning next?-- are basically too stupid to teach the works anyway. I suspect that they have not read them, and if they read them have no idea what is in them.


Seriously, removing The Odyssey from the curriculum-- what justification can there be for that, beyond the obvious fact that the teacher does not want to read the book and, if he has read it, does not understand it anyway. It’s too long and it was written in Greek-- obviously a sign of bigotry.


Gordon explains:


Their ethos holds that children shouldn’t have to read stories written in anything other than the present-day vernacular—especially those “in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,” as young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman writes in School Library Journal. No author is valuable enough to spare, Ms. Venkatraman instructs: “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”


The last sentence is barely literate. But, the author, who manifestly does not know how to write, takes after Shakespeare because his plays showed hateful sentiments.


Of course, you cannot challenge hate if you do not show it in action, but the barely literate author does not understand this. She tells us that her goal, as a member of the thought police, is to ban any speech she disagrees with as hate speech.


Evidently, the war on hate speech and of course on bigotry, offers these petty despots a way to undermine the first amendment to the Constitution.


And I would add that the author hates Shakespeare and hates writers who know how to write-- something that is well beyond her limited talents. As for her notion of “academic excellence” Shakespeare's works do not manifest academic excellence, but literary excellence. Academic excellence might refer to critical studies about Shakespeare. 


I will note in passing that the author’s other expression-- “hate-ridden sentiments” is also barely literate. You see, the author is sorely lacking in education herself. She could use a few courses in the proper usage of the English language. Instead she wants to burn the books of everyone who does not toe the party line on anti-racism.


One suspects that she is suffering severe anguish every time she encounters someone who is literate, because it makes her feel like an illiterate buffoon.


She is not alone on the illiteracy track:


Thus Seattle English teacher Evin Shinn tweeted in 2018 that he’d “rather die” than teach “The Scarlet Letter,” unless Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is used to “fight against misogyny and slut-shaming.”


Again, not a whit of intelligence about the book itself. For Shinn it’s about sexism, all the way down. If he knew anything about Puritanism-- which he does not-- he would have known that the culture rejected adultery because it was practicing a new social custom-- love marriage.


When women married for love-- as opposed to being obliged to engage in arranged marriage-- European cultures could no longer blithely countenance institutionalized adultery. So, if you are against shaming adultery you are also striking a blow for arranged marriages-- marriages where a woman has no real choice in the matter.


Another illiterate teacher offered this thought, reported by Gordon:


Outsiders got a glimpse of the intensity of the #DisruptTexts campaign recently when self-described “antiracist teacher” Lorena Germán complained that many classics were written more than 70 years ago: “Think of US society before then & the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books.”


Evidently, she does not know how to write or to think. But, she does find a reason to burn books. You see, any book that was written more than seventy years ago is a product of its times, and thus manifests racism. This applies especially to classics, to works of enduring literary and artistic merit.


Of course, German, being an obvious idiot, does not recognize literary or artistic value. If the books were written at a time when racism prevailed, they must promote racism. Might it be that they opposed racism? Many works did. What does she have to say about the Anglo-Saxon efforts to abolish slavery and racism.


It is so stupid that one hesitates to mention it, but there it is. Obviously, people have used such principles to justify burning books, shutting down free and open discussion-- and dumbing down the population.


Gordon concludes:


If there is harm in classic literature, it comes from not teaching it. Students excused from reading foundational texts may imagine themselves lucky to get away with YA novels instead—that’s what the #DisruptTexts people want—but compared with their better-educated peers they will suffer a poverty of language and cultural reference. Worse, they won’t even know it.


Clearly, children who are deprived of exposure to the classics will not learn how to write or to think. It might catch up to them on their college entrance exams. It might catch up to them when they cannot understand what is being taught in a college classroom. Or it might catch up with them when they find that their bad education has consigned them to the lower rungs of the social ladder. 


If you cannot think cogently and express yourself clearly you will miss out on a myriad of job opportunities. And you will find yourself excluded from certain social groups. Then, you will have no other recourse than to take to the streets and to burn the house down.  


Were anyone to suggest that the truncated educational experience offered by woke pedagogues is damaging your future chance to move up the social and economic ladder, he would immediately be canceled.


8 comments:

Sam L. said...

"Anyway, Megan Cox Gordon reports in the Wall Street Journal today that school districts across America are canceling the classics, whether Homer or Shakespeare or Hawthorne." Ahhh, the "dumbing-down-downer-downest" of America.

"What strikes the moderately sensible intelligence here is that the teachers who are throwing out the classics-- is book burning next?-- are basically too stupid to teach the works anyway. I suspect that they have not read them, and if they read them have no idea what is in them." Schools of "Education" would eschew ever teaching "the classics"; might give teachers the "wrong" ideas.

"Outsiders got a glimpse of the intensity of the #DisruptTexts campaign recently when self-described “antiracist teacher” Lorena Germán complained that many classics were written more than 70 years ago: “Think of US society before then & the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books.”

They're OLD, so "UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN"! Bad Think!!!111!!!!! The HORROR!! The horror...

VOY, eh?

Lowghost said...

This is truly terrifying.

whitney said...

I'm surprised at your obtuseness on this. They hate white people and anything connected to white people. They've decided racism is the greatest sin, white people are inherently racist so if you get rid of white people, starting with all their works but certainly not ending, you're living in the garden again

Anonymous said...

Young people who have any brains at all will seek this stuff out by themselves, especially if they see it's been banned. It's better that woke teachers avoid it with their garbage interpretations. The libraries may remove these books but it's all online: gutenberg.org, archive.org, hathitrust.org, etc. I get all of my reading material from these sites.

trigger warning said...

Anon, I hope you're right, but when I was 18 I would have happily traded a volume of Homer for the latest Playboy. For the articles, obviously.

IamDevo said...

May I suggest that the risk of exposure as an intellectual inferior is the reason for the umbrage taken by (and on behalf of) "Dr." Jill Biden, who represents the embodiment, or perhaps the apotheosis of the idiotic notions expressed by these "educators"?

Sam L. said...

What can ancient Greeks teach us? That things were somewhat-to-a-LOT different in their days, from which we now might learn something.

Anonymous said...

trigger warning, They might not seek it out until later. But they do seek it out because I have seen a lot of posts [on tumblr] by young people who are obsessed with history. There are "history crushes," which sounds childish but it gets people reading history and no teacher will stop them. It's pretty easy to have history crushes, I've had them most of my life!