WSJ - A sustained effort is underway to deny children access to literature. Under the slogan #DisruptTexts, critical-theory ideologues, schoolteachers and Twitter agitators are purging and propagandizing against classic texts—everything from Homer to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dr. Seuss.
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 demands for censorship appear to be getting results. “Be like Odysseus and embrace the long haul to liberation (and then take the Odyssey out of your curriculum because it’s trash),” tweeted Shea Martin in June. “Hahaha,” replied Heather Levine, an English teacher at Lawrence (Mass.) High School. “Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!” When I contacted Ms. Levine to confirm this, she replied that she found the inquiry “invasive.” The English Department chairman of Lawrence Public Schools, Richard Gorham, didn’t respond to emails.
Remember the "Odyssey"? Required summer reading for every high schooler in America for centuries. One of the oldest pieces of literature dating back to the beginning of recorded history. It's as human as human gets.
To refresh everyone's memories, the story tells the tale of the hero Odysseus who spent 10 years fighting in the Trojan War. It takes him 10 years to return home while fighting through a non-stop series of enemies and perils. Everybody thinks he's dead except his wife Penelope and son Telemachus who also have to fend off scumbags of their own.
He and his men defeated giant Cyclops, witches, and gods. But they never met an opponent like high school teachers in 2020.
Back in Homer's day, open debate was an appreciated art form. It was the essence of being human. Different people exploring their differences through thought and discussion. Wild notion.
Not today. Not on the outrage police's watch.
“It’s a tragedy that this anti-intellectual movement of canceling the classics is gaining traction among educators and the mainstream publishing industry,” says science-fiction writer Jon Del Arroz, one of the rare industry voices to defend Ms. Cluess. “Erasing the history of great works only limits the ability of children to become literate.”
He’s right. 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.
#disrupttexts movement? For real?
If teachers are supposed to teach why are they so hellbent on doing away with stuff to teach?
I would like to officially announce I am canceling the teachers of Lawrence (Mass) High School. They have joined the list
OFFICIAL CANCEL CULTURE CANCELLED LIST
- KO B*rstool
- recipe appropriation police
- Lawrence High School English teachers