Burning Books, One Word At A Time

Nearly everyone can agree that burning books is a bad thing. Even if at the same time all of us can also agree that they have read some books that belong in a fire, some because they are simply bad others because they are simply wrong. The mavens of political correctness have found a new acceptable way to burn books I describe it as “Word Burning.” In general the concept is that if you can’t burn the book or an idea simply burn all the words that describe that idea or that you don’t agree with. I like to call it “Burning Books, One Word at a Time.” When I think of all the great classical literature that is already banned from students or soon will be it saddens me tremendously. It is unfathomable to me that schools will ban Twain’s Huck Finn because of one word while at the same time allowing Collin’s Hunger Games arguably the most violent novel for teenagers ever written. Both the Hunger Games and Huck Finn send meaningful messages and I like both books but to ban one and allow the other seems very inconsistent. NOTE I am not suggesting that “Hunger Games” be banned!

Along these lines, a New York Post article of March 26, 2012 by Yoav Gonen notes that the New York City School’s “educrats” and other educational agencies are establishing a list of banned words that are not to be used in student assessments. A partial list of a few of the words and their reason for being banned is shown below. In general Gonen noted he was informed that the words were banned because they might “evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Grab your hat folks…the testing carousel is starting to turn and the music is just beginning to play. One will get faster and the other louder as time goes on.

Banned Words (Board’s reasoning) (my reasoning is in italics)

Dinosaurs (upsetting to fundamentalists as it suggests evolution)
(Might upset the dinosaurs on the Board of Education who have not yet evolved)
Birthdays (Upsetting to Jehovah’s Witnesses)
(The board is probably made up of octogenarians who are anti-birthday)

Halloween ( Suggests paganism)
( Board members are all probably afraid of clowns)

Words suggesting wealth (May cause jealousy)
(board members feel they are underpaid)

Words suggesting poverty (may denigrate students)
(see above)

Divorce ( too personal)

Disease ( may evoke unpleasant memories)
(Board members apparently suffering from some variety of dementia already)

Dancing ( objectionable but ballet is given an exception)
(board members feel “dancing is too much like the unbanned “sex”)

Junk food ( Food Police)

Homelessness (economic prejudice)

Witches (those poor pagans again – be afraid be very afraid)

Alien creatures(should include bureaucrats here)

Celebrities ( finally one I can agree with)

Homes with pools and computers are banned, schools with swimming pools and computers are OK(insensitive)

Words reflecting disrespect for authority or authority figures
( ahhhhhhh finally the truth)

Anthropomorphism of animals/inanimate objects
( children’s books are okay apparently but animals and teapots can’t talk on the tests)

Terrorism ( too scary just ignore it and it will go away)

Slavery ( avoid a subject/bury your head in the sand)

The Test producers defend the practice with “This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete exams without distraction,” said a Department of Education spokeswoman, insisting it’s not censorship.”

Here is my list of words that should be banned

Ostrich – may remind you of educational bureaucrats
Hemorrhoids – may remind you of educational bureaucrats
Three Stooges – may remind you of educational bureaucrats
Fascists – may remind you of educational bureaucrats
Clarabelle The Clown – may remind you of educational bureaucrats

A paraphrase of Mark Twain’s quote on school boards could be appropriate here, ” God created idiots for practice and then moved on to the Board of Education”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/out_of_the_question_YegJJGCOo33j0CQsccdZuL#ixzz1qHbyP1Pm


About safrisri

I was a school teacher until retirement. I have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. Now I'm the guy sitting on the porch with an opinion on everything.
This entry was posted in education, Education Reform, Political Correctness, Society, teaching, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Burning Books, One Word At A Time

  1. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is simply great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother’s day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.

    *tell the truth don’t be afraid*–Danny Haszard

  3. EllaDee says:

    Excellent post. I clicked “Like” halfway through, and laughed all the way while agreeing wholeheartedly. I’m so glad I was young in a time before they banned/sanitised Huck Finn, most of Enid Blyton, golliwogs, Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men, The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Brave New World… and thought. T.G. having a sense of humour hasn’t been banned… yet.

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