Hero Pennsylvania School Board Will Save Kids From Multiculti Literature, Like The Kind That Bombed Boston
Three members of Murrysville, Pennsylvania's Franklin Regional School Board are Very Concerned about the potentially damaging contents of high school literature textbooks. Board members Larry Borland, Dennis Pavlik and Jane Tower made the case for inclusion of a new School Board category in Wonkette's coveted Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year Award by objecting to...well, bad things, we're sure! Really bad, anti-American things in the textbooks, which the three considered biased and maybe missing important reminders about how America Is Always Best. After all, how can high school students ever love freedom if they aren't told what to think?
Board member Larry Borland had some very specific objections to a proposed American Literature textbook:
"These books have a very strong bias and opinion, and there is a selection of things missing... I'm not saying the intent is right or wrong, but it's clear that the intent is to look at how these writers felt about a (political) agenda item."
The hell you say! American writers may have had opinions? About politics? We will never forget an article we read during our student teaching back in the 1980s, "American Literature is Un-American," which pointed out that our best fiction has always been about grumpy malcontents, largely because stories about happy people who play well with others are BORING. Nobody wants to read "Bartleby the Very Productive Scrivener And His Happy Office Pals" or "Willy Loman Makes Regional Manager."
Borland didn't specify what he thought was "missing" exactly -- maybe reminders about how Mark Twain and Emily Dickinon were rebellious sinners? -- but he is very worried that student may be exposed to dangerous questions about values that are not those of Larry Borland:
Among the questions he criticized were "Are people basically good?" and "Does everyone have a dark side?" He alleged that several pieces were included selectively for an individual agenda item.
"There's a distinct bias in the book to basically put the historic context on the backburner of the olden days,” Borland said. “I have a problem with that."
Borland had previously expressed concerns that history textbooks might present slavery as a bad thing without enough "historical context" to make clear that slave owners shouldn't be judged by modern standards.(Is he one of those guys who wants more emphasis on how slave traders in Africa were mostly other Africans, because then it's not white people's fault? We do not know, but that is often what "context" means.) The article doesn't say what particular readings Borland objects to; maybe he thinks Huck Finn should have stepped back and said, "You know, slavery is a very complex issue! Have I truly considered the perspectives of those who think Jim should be turned in?"
Borland ultimately voted for the books, but Tower and Pavlik did not. Tower said she worried that the books could lead to terrorism:
"I am concerned about the multiculturalism and the emphasis on it," Tower said. "I think the texts emphasize that to the detriment of the exceptionalism of America. We saw a sad, sad example of that at the Boston Marathon."
We assume she meant the bombing, which everyone knows happened because high school textbooks include a bunch of writers whose names sound funny. Then again, maybe she says that every year when the marathon is won by some Kenyan. Say... you know what else was won by an undeserving Kenyan?
Pavlik had previously made news by playing a central role in removing Alan Ginsberg's "Howl" from a list of approved supplemental readings for an "Alternative Voices" elective English class. He considered the poem "horrific" and "utterly disgusting." Yay, America!
The books are up for an approval vote on June 17, after which the school board will consider whether students are adequately protected against witchcraft and the Evil Eye.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.