Every few years or so, it seems we have to go through this. And every few years, I feel like it’s so important.
Thousands of fantastic works of literature are found objectionable by school-board bureaucrats in small (or large) towns across the country, and students in these districts are denied the opportunity to be challenged, to learn, to question, and most of all, to expand their minds.
This weekend I heard about censorship happening to maybe my favorite novel of all time, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Yes, boys and girls, the people of Biloxi, Miss. decided to remove this amazing novel by Harper Lee from the 8th grade reading list at the local middle school.
Why, you might ask, is “TKAM” no longer suitable? According to the vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”
Language that makes people uncomfortable. Of course we all know what he’s talking about; racially charged words and deeds in the book have been discussed for years.
But removing books because of “language that makes people uncomfortable?” That’s the whole point of reading, especially when you’re young! I read all kinds of books that made me uncomfortable. Ellie Wiesel’s “Night” made me uncomfortable. Parts of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” made me uncomfortable. So, so many other fantastic works I’ve been exposed to have made me unsettled, or angry, or questioning.
That’s the whole point of books! Ugh. Biloxi, Miss. won’t be the last school district to make this kind of idiotic decision.
**Next, I don’t know about you, but in my house we’ve been kinda obsessed for the past few weeks over “Jeopardy!” champion and ultimate strange dude Austin Rogers. A bartender from New York City (OK so that was the first reason I liked him), Austin won more than $400,000 in 12 games and was unlike any other contestant I’d ever seen. He dressed loudly, made strange pantomine gestures every time he was introduced, and generally acted like the crazy uncle you see at Thanksgiving every year who knows everything.
Anyway, I loved this dude. I’m sure in real life he’d drive you nuts, but for a few minutes on “Jeopardy!” each night, he was fabulous. Anyway, Austin’s run ended last week and he went on Jimmy Fallon to talk about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
**And finally today, I’d love to tell you that I didn’t get my hopes up for a Jets win over the Patriots Sunday, but after the boys in green and white took a shocking 14-0 lead in the first half, I kinda did.
And what was surprising was not that the Jets lost, because that’s what I usually expect when they play the Patriots. But the way they lost, and the absolutely egregious, horrendous, pathetic replay overrule that cost them a touchdown, well, that was new.
Go ahead and watch this clip of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins scoring a touchdown, have it be called a touchdown, then overruled inexplicably, and tell me this is the correct call. Absolutely ridiculous. Somehow, this was ruled as a fumble out of the end zone.
— So I guess Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank still, huh? Wow. What a game in his first one as an Arizona Cardinal.
— The Giants finally won, the Chiefs finally lost, and there are no really great teams in the NFL this year. So much mediocrity, that I think 10-12 teams could legitimately win the Super Bowl.
— On “Sunday Night Football” Al Michaels said the Giants “are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein.” Oh, Al. What a horrible, stupid and cruel joke.
— Aaron Rodgers is probably out for the season with a broken collarbone, destroying Packers hopes (and the hopes of my fantasy team, for which he starred). If only there was a QB out there they could call, a free agent who had a terrific season last year but is being blackballed by the NFL for daring to speak out. Name is Colin, something or other.