Conservatives Are Just Openly Endorsing Book Burning Now

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    Conservatives Are Just Openly Endorsing Book Burning Now

    Book burning, as in the thing Nazis were into. 

    Over the last several years, there have been many opportunities to throw around terms like “fascist“ and “fascism,” typically in the context of the Republican Party and the wannabe dictator to whom many of its members have pledged their undying loyalty. In response, said Republicans have frequently gotten bent out of shape about such terms, insisting they’re totally uncalled for, not applicable, and say more about the hysterical people using them than they do about their targets. And yet…this sounds pretty fascist!

    Per Insider:

    Amid the GOP’s nationwide push against teaching about race and sexuality in schools, two members of the Spotsylvania County School Board in Virginia advocated for burning certain books, according to the Fredericksburg-based Free Lance-Star newspaper. This came as the school board directed staff to begin removing “sexually explicit” books from library shelves, after voting 6-0 in favor of the removal, the Lance-Star reported. The board has plans to review how certain books or materials are defined as “objectionable,” the paper said, which opens the door for other content to be removed. 

    Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg both championed burning the books that have been removed. “I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said. Meanwhile, Twigg said he wanted to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

    For those unaware of the historical precedents, book burnings have a long and dark history tied to censorship and oppressive regimes, most famously the one in Nazi Germany led by Adolf Hitler. In 1933, Nazis burned thousands of books deemed “un-German,” including the works of Jewish authors like Albert Einstein and those of “corrupting foreign influences” like Ernest Hemingway.

    The directive to remove “sexually explicit” books was seemingly prompted by a school board meeting on Monday during which parents expressed concerns about literature students can access via the Riverbend High School’s digital library app.

    One parent was apparently alarmed by the availability of “LGBTQIA” fiction, the Lance-Star said, and found a book called 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp especially troubling. The American Library Association named the book a Best Book for Young Adults in 2004. According to a Publishers Weekly review, the book is “dark tale about three runaways who understand hatred and violence better than love.” 

    The calls for book burning in Virginia follow the election of Glenn Youngkin, who said during his gubernatorial campaign that he would ban critical race theory on his first day in office, and ran an ad featuring a local mother who tried to get Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Toni Morrison, removed from her son’s A.P. English curriculum. The mother claimed the book contained “some of the most explicit material you can imagine,” which is entirely true, given that it’s about the horrors of slavery, which many conservative parents would prefer their children not really learn about.

    “What has taken us aback this year is the intensity with which school libraries are under attack,” Nora Pelizzari, a spokesperson at the National Coalition Against Censorship, told The Washington Post. She added: “Particularly when taken in concert with the legislative attempts to control school curricula, this feels like a more overarching attempt to purge schools of materials that people disagree with. It feels different than what we’ve seen in recent years.”

    Also this week, the Post reports, a school board outside of Wichita, Kansas, said it was removing 29 books from circulation, including Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye, and writings about racism in America like August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play “Fences.” Last month, Texas state representative Michael Krause launched a “review” of books that “contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” (Krause specifically flagged numerous award-winning books, from the 1967 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Confessions of Nat Turner to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.) Also in Texas, a school district recently told teachers if they have a book on the Holocaust, they must also provide a book with an “opposing perspective.”

    Democrats introduce legislation to censure lawmaker who made video depicting AOC’s murder

    Republicans, obviously, have no plans to do anything, except maybe pat him on the back and ask for the name of video-production coordinator. Per The Washington Post:

    A group of House Democrats is introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) for posting an altered, animated video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging two swords at President Biden. “For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure,” the Democrats said in a statement. “For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale.”

    The resolution will be introduced Friday by Reps. Jackie Speier, Jim Cooper, Brenda Lawrence, Sylvia Garcia, Veronica Escobar, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rashida Tlaib, Eric Swalwell, Nikema Williams, and Ayanna Pressley.

    The video, which Gosar tweeted and posted to Instagram on Sunday and appears to have since been deleted, was an altered version of an anime series in which Ocasio-Cortez’s face was edited over one of the characters. In one scene, Gosar’s character slashes her in the back of the neck, killing her. In another scene, he swings two swords at a character whose face was been replaced by Biden’s. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday night that Gosar would likely “face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses.” In response, Gosar’s office insisted that “Everyone needs to relax,” adding: “The left doesn’t get meme culture. They have no joy. They are not the future. It’s a cartoon. Gosar can’t fly and he does not own any light sabers. Nor was violence glorified. This is about fighting for truth.”

    Gosar’s sister Jennifer, who was one of six Gosar siblings who starred in an ad in 2018 begging people not to vote for their brother, has condemned the video. In an interview with CNN, she said the congressman’s behavior is “definitely is getting worse, because no one—no one—holds him accountable.” She also wondered aloud if he has to actually act on said behavior before people realize that “he is an absolute…sociopath.”

    Texas judge shoots down governor’s ban on mask mandates

    Greg Abbott, who’s been duking it out with Florida governor Ron DeSantis to see who can come up with the most irresponsible coronavirus policies, suffered a major setback in his quest to just let everyone in the Lone Star State get COVID. Per Bloomberg:

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s anti-mask crusade was dealt a serious blow by a federal judge, who permanently blocked Abbott’s edict banning school mask mandates as a violation of disabled students’ right to equally access educational facilities. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided Wednesday with some Texas parents who fear their medically vulnerable children will catch—and potentially die from—COVID-19 transmitted by unmasked classmates and teachers. The parents said their children could safely access the benefits of in-person instruction if others would wear masks around them.

    Yeakel, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected Abbott’s argument that voluntary mask policies don’t discriminate because they treat all students the same, and the disabled kids are free to attend classes if they choose. The Republican governor has said he believes wearing masks should remain a matter of personal responsibility decided by parents. “The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs. Children with certain underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital’s intensive-care unit,” Yeakel wrote.

    Wednesday’s ruling is the first from a federal judge on Abbott’s mask ban. Previously, state judges have mostly sided with local officials who’ve defied the ban on masks in order to protect students, which is nice of them. Abbott had initially encouraged the use of masks inside schools, but he changed his position after pressure from conservatives who prefer to roll the dice on which kids get to live.

    Meanwhile, at the Kyle Rittenhouse trial

    Elsewhere!

    Pressure builds on Meadows to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee as White House rejects his executive privilege claims (The Washington Post)

    San Francisco police officer dies of COVID while on leave for failing to meet vaccination requirement (The Washington Post)

    House Republicans Who Backed Infrastructure Bill Face Vicious Backlash (NYT)

    How $6 billion from Elon Musk could feed millions on the brink of famine (NPR)

    With few real options to halt inflation, Biden offers sympathy and potential supply-chain fixes (CNBC)

    Wall Street Is Offering Eight-Figure Pay Packages to Woo Top Talent (Bloomberg)

    U.N. secretary general urges world leaders to “pick up the pace” (The Washington Post)

    New York Assembly to review Cuomo impeachment report next week (Politico)

    New Zealand couple find potato the size of a small dog, name it Doug (NPR)

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    Published at Thu, 11 Nov 2021 23:58:15 +0000

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/virginia-school-board-book-burning

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