Moms for Liberty: Vice Crusaders Farting Through Silk

Moms for Liberty: Vice Crusaders Farting Through Silk

“Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings, too.”

Henrich Heine

“the vice-crusaders, farting through silk,
waving the Christian symbols . . .”

Ezra Pound, Canto XIV

Wandering through war torn Twitter these days reminds me of Neville Shute’s On the Beach, a novel dramatizing the last days of the last survivors of a nuclear war who await their inexorable doom as a radioactive cloud descends upon southern Australia. Except in this case, Twitter is already burning; perhaps a better analogy would be wandering through the streets of ancient Rome during a hostile takeover.[1] Many of the posts project a Titanic-tinged, goodbye forever friends, end-of-an-era, fin de civilisation vibe.

Among the tearful good-byes, the cancer chemo updates, and the political diatribes, I ran across this depressing piece of tweeted news:

Of course, it’s possible that race had nothing to do with the dismissal. However, the timing is problematic, the board has not provided the grounds for his dismissal, and Moms for Liberty’s viewpoints on Critical Race Theory certainly seem racist to me.

For example, the MFL[2] chapter of Williamson County Tennessee complained that showing students films of Bull Connor’s thuggish cops unleashing attack dogs, fire-hosing protesters, and beating Freedom Riders with billy clubs created “negative view of Firemen (sic) and police.”[3]  The same Williamson County MFLers wanted to counterbalance the negativity of the Catholic Church’s persecution of Galileo with praise for the Church: “Both good and bad should be presented,” they demanded.

Of course, book censorship is also a high priority. In this morning’s Post and Courier, there’s a below-the-fold front page story headlined: “Removal of books sparks outcry in Beaufort.”[4] On Page A5 the headline “Horry board OKs controversial library book changes.” And below that story, the continuation of the front-page Beaufort story lists 97 titles removed from Beaufort County Public School libraries, including Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer, Margaret Atwood’s The Hand Maid’s Tale, and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

The MFLers seem especially, almost perversely, antagonistic to LBGQ children and want to prevent those children from reading about themselves, to keep them from knowing that they’re not alone, that happiness may very well await them.

[Cue Yeats]:    The best lack all conviction, while the worst

                        Are full of passionate intensity.

I guess what we’re going to have to do is organize, be vigil, curate candidates, donate money to try to oust these fanatics from the boards.

I mean, removing Martin Luther King, Jr. from school curricula harms our children much more than their reading about sexual ambiguity. I mean, this smacks of Soviet-style state run education where a free exchange of ideas is forbidden.

[1] I.e., during an invasion of barbarians: burning, looting, pillaging, raping,  . . .

[2] I’m sick of typing out its blatantly Orwellian double speak. The liberty of ban books. From now on it’s MFL. (In a rare display of discretion, I’m not going to provide my alternative wording for the initials.

[3] Not to mention snarling German shepherds. BTW, these examples are culled from Kelly Weill’s article in the Daily Beast:  “Moms for Liberty’s conservative activists are planning their next move: Taking over school boards”

[4] The home, of course, of Pat Conroy.

The Freedom to Offend

The Freedom to Offend

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” ― Henry Louis Gates Jr.

“[. . .] and above it the mouthing of orators,
the arse-belching of preachers.” – Ezra Pound, “Canto XIV”

Okay, so we don’t want to ban AK-47s because that would be unbarring the door of tyranny. On the other hand, we don’t want our precious, delicate children exposed to depressing historical events like the Native American genocide, slavery, the Holocaust – perhaps even Sandy Hook – because the truth might make them feel uncomfortable.

I’ll tell you what made me feel uncomfortable when I was teaching: crouching under a Harkness table stifling a fart with my AP Lit students during a live shooter drill.

And, O, my Brothers and Sisters, we read many a bannable book in those AP classes.

Oedipus Rex – parricide, incest, sacrilege

The Canterbury Tales – vulgarity, profanity, nudity, plagues

Hamlet – fratricide, adultery, vulgarity, a corpse-strewn stage

Crime and Punishment – murder, prostitution, crushing poverty, alcoholism

Madame Bovary – serial adultery, suicide, insanity

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – atheism, masturbation, prostitution, adolescent rebellion

The Sound and the Fury – promiscuity, suicide, racial epithets, abject cruelty

The Song of Solomon – premarital sex, vulgar language, murder

The Hand Maid’s Tale – dystopia, sexism, theocratic cruelty

And that’s not even considering the poetry we read.

Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
`Those breasts are flat and fallen now
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.’

`Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,’ I cried.
‘My friends are gone, but that’s a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

`A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.’

~WB Yeats

That’s it.

Thanks for listening to my Ted Rant.