• Maus Trap: Progressives Hate Free Speech

    February 11, 2022 // 3 Comments »


    No book should be banned. But it is important to point out the predominant reason classic books are now banned in U.S. schools is progressive angst over “racism/N-word” so all those in heat over Maus should check their hate and hypocrisy.
    By now the world and beyond has heard that McMinn County, Tennessee voted to remove Maus from its eighth-grade curriculum. The Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel portrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats in recounting the author’s parents’ experience during the Holocaust. It is a magnificent telling of a nightmare and should be read by everyone. Progressives are in full rabid mode over Maus and Tennessee in general, cranking up their Nazi-era meme-o-generators and extrapolating the ban on Maus is another step towards the end of democracy, already scheduled for November 2024. The ignore their own underlying hypocrisy of “our banning stuff is good, yours’ is fascism” is not at all new, and I am typing quickly for fear the Maus meme will fade before I’m finished (this space was last week occupied by Neil Young’s attempt to delete Joe Rogan from Spotify, Dan Bongino and YouTube before that, and so on…)
    Like most “banned” books in American schools, Maus is not really banned. Banning a book means making it illegal to own, or impossible to obtain. Instead, Maus was removed from McMinn’s eighth-grade curriculum. In the near infinity of books that exist, only a handful can be taught in a school year, and so every school in America ignores most books to the exclusion of a few. They might call it curating, or even making a syllabus. But banning works better for Tennessee because it instantly summons up the Nazi-era comparisons progressives so dearly love. Expect someone on Twitter to call McGinn city hall the Reichstag before the week is over.
    The issue of course is always why a specific book is left out of a curriculum. Of the top 10 “banned” books, progressive definitions of racism/n-word is the reason for half of them, to include Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Lord of the Flies. Most of the other bans deal with olde-timey standards on sexuality and profanity, such as The Color Purple, and those books usually just migrate up a few grade levels to take care of that. Some on the McMinn schoolboard have even suggested Maus might work in an upper grade. Such thinking seems a tad more thoughtful than progressives throwing away a classic tale because of the antiquated way Huck refers to his black friend.
    So what is the problem with Maus in Tennessee? According to the school board, the book contained inappropriate curse words and a depiction of a naked character. It does seem that strikes pretty close to the same reasons progressive schools ban Huck Finn, only the words and images are, you know, different. Of course progressives don’t believe the good people of Tennessee when they say they object to words, knowing for sure those red necked inbred country cousins are at their black hearts anti-Semites. Nobody with an Oberlin degree wants to say a Nazi using the word kike to show Aryan superiority is anywhere close to Piggy in Lord of the Flies, representing British imperialism, using the n-word to refer to savages as a show of white superiority. They also don’t want to talk about why we can say kike instead of “the k-word.” So it’s a safe bet schools banning Lord of the Flies are even now adding Maus to their curricula.
    People in McMinn County seem to take their education seriously. Their list of approved textbooks is posted online, though not the novels read in lit classes. American history is taught around standard edition history omnibus volumes from controversy-avoidance educational publishers McGraw and Pearson. The county is predominantly white and Baptist, something of a sin itself these days, and has exactly zero known Jews. The E.G. Fisher Public Library, which serves the area, has multiple copies of Maus available. So for all the knuckleheads’ on social media setting up GoFundMe’s to send copies of  Maus to McMinn, relax, it’s already there (imagine some conservative group flooding Loudon County with Huck Finn.) In fact, the McMinn library has multiple copies of all of the books on the top 10 most banned in American schools list. They do not have a copy of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, however.
    The progressive lust for banning books they dislike while supporting the banning of others’ is not confined to fiction. Progressives have been running a campaign to ban a book by Abigail Shrier called Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters. “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100 percent a hill I will die on,” tweeted ACLU’s Chase Strangio. And when Joe Rogan hosted Shrier to discuss the book, employees at Spotify demanded it take the interview off its platform.
    When the classic To Kill a Mockingbird and other books about racial issues were banned from the curriculum in the Burbank Unified School District, the LA Times characterized it not as the work of a Nazi Sondereinsatzkommando but merely as a “debate” over how to teach anti-racism. The same school also banned Huck Finn and Of Mice and Men for their racist content and use of the n-word. The banned book action was draped around spurious claims a 15-year-old learned the n-word from one of the now off-limits books before using it against another student, plus concern that if reading aloud a white teacher might utter the full text written decades ago of what we are now required to call the n-word.
    As if rising to a hold my beer challenge, the New York Times allowed not a single comment in its online reporting about the Maus crisis supporting the school board’s decision. They did allow comments such as “It’s Tennessee. You have to let them go. I know it’s hard, but red states are another country in most ways,” “Tennessee! Well what do you expect, they are lost somewhere in the 15th century,” and remarks about how kids in Tennessee don’t read no ‘good anyways. The NYT also reminded readers McMinn County is just a short drive from Dayton, Tennessee, the center of conflict for the famous Scopes monkey trial, as if the two were somehow related.
    So the conclusion is both sides ban books, right, what’s the rub here? A school district says they don’t like a book. In progressive America if that results in Huck not being taught, earnest white people embrace it as progress. Take the same blunt tool and point it at Maus and it is a sign of fascism, because those same NPR supporters who want tolerance and anti-racism taught hate the fact that a white Baptist community even exists, and cannot see past their own hypocrisy. Their hate spirals from McMinn County bans a book to McMinn County are anti-Semites to McMinn County votes Republican to McMinn County will help re-elect Trump to McMinn County is modern day fascism and must be stopped by any means necessary. It reeks of theocracy even though it sounds nice enough phrased as “choices that reflect our values.” It’s just that simple. Hatred of others always is. Not a lot of self-reflection in Mein Kampf; the Nazis were certain in their righteousness, too.
    As with any challenge to free speech, the correct answer is more free speech, not less. Do not ban words. Do not ban books. Teach people to understand context, to understand how words change over time, and to learn to recognize bad things not by hiding them but by exposing them. Let school children learn about hate, whether from Lord of the Flies or Maus. Progressives, if you are frightened by words, they are not the threat, you are.


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