ADVENTURES IN PARAPHRASE: She defended the Others right there in the Times!


Also, some books really have been "banned:" Today we have parsing of words.

Also, we have examination of embellishment. We have the highly useful analytical tool which is often dismissed as "semantics."

We feature a letter to the New York Times—a letter which appeared in last Sunday's print editions. The letter came from a former professor at Middle Tennessee State, though her letter arrived from Chicago.

The letter was one of eight letters that day on a single topic. Online, the letters appear beneath this pleasing headline:

The Rise in Book Bans and Censorship

The letters discussed a series of actions which don't exactly constitute "book bans" or "censorship." With that simple declaration, let today's parsing begin!

Before we look at the letter we've come to praise, let's establish a simple point. Sometimes, well-known books really have been "banned." In certain cases, no semantic embellishment is needed to state this simple point.

Some well-known books really have been "banned!" Our first example would be this—the banning of the Nabokov novel, Lolita:

Lolita was published in September 1955, as a pair of green paperbacks "swarming with typographical errors." Although the first printing of 5,000 copies sold out, there were no substantial reviews. Eventually, at the very end of 1955, Graham Greene, in the London Sunday Times, called it one of the three best books of 1955. This statement provoked a response from the London Sunday Express, whose editor John Gordon called it "the filthiest book I have ever read" and "sheer unrestrained pornography." British Customs officers were then instructed by the Home Office to seize all copies entering the United Kingdom. In December 1956, France followed suit, and the Minister of the Interior banned Lolita; the ban lasted for two years. 


Despite initial trepidation, there was no official response in the U.S., and the first American edition was issued by G. P. Putnam's Sons in August 1958. The book was into a third printing within days and became the first since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks. Orville Prescott, the influential book reviewer of the New York Times, greatly disliked the book, describing it as "dull, dull, dull in a pretentious, florid and archly fatuous fashion." This review failed to influence the book's sales

So the matter unfolded. In a fairly straightforward way, the book was banned in the U.K. and in France, though not here in the U.S.

Decades earlier, Joyce's Ulysses didn't get off so easy. The book was banned here in the U.S. in a semantically straightforward way:

Written over a seven-year period from 1914 to 1921, Ulysses was serialized in the American journal The Little Review from 1918 to 1920, when the publication of the Nausicaä episode led to a prosecution for obscenity under the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it illegal to circulate materials deemed obscene in the U.S. mail. In 1919, sections of the novel also appeared in the London literary journal The Egoist, but the novel itself was banned in the United Kingdom until 1936...

The 1920 prosecution in the US was brought after The Little Review serialized a passage of the book depicting characters masturbating. Three earlier chapters had been banned by the US Post Office, but it was Secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice John S. Sumner who instigated this legal action...At the trial in 1921 the magazine was declared obscene and, as a result, Ulysses was effectively banned in the United States. Throughout the 1920s, the United States Post Office Department burned copies of the novel.

In 1932, Random House and lawyer Morris Ernst arranged to import the French edition and have a copy seized by Customs...U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the book was not pornographic and therefore could not be obscene, a decision Stuart Gilbert called "epoch-making". The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 1934. The U.S. thus became the first English-speaking country where the book was freely available. Although Ireland's Censorship of Publications Board never banned Ulysses, a customs loophole prevented it from being allowed into Ireland. It was first openly available in Ireland in the 1960s.

According to that account, Ulysses wasn't merely banned in the United States. Copies of the book were literally burned! That banning went all the way!

Those would be a pair of examples where books were "banned" in perfectly straightforward ways. That said, when school officials select certain books for inclusion in a school system's curriculum, are they really "banning" all other books in a semantically sensible way?

We'd have to say they are not! If they decide that Textbook A or Novel B will be part of the official curriculum, they aren't "banning" Textbooks B, C, and D or Novels X, Y and Z. Nor are they "censoring" such books in any obvious sense of the word.

Millions of books exist in the world. Only a few will be selected for inclusion in some school system's curriculum. 

If a system decides to teach The Iliad, that doesn't mean that it has banned The Odyssey. But within our self-impressed liberal tribe, we love to rail about the banning of books. In this way, we goose our claim, in the same way Donald Trump does when he claims that he has been "spied" upon.

We love to discuss the banning of books. That's especially true when some group of Others have exercised a cultural judgment we ourselves don't share.

In fairness, it's a widely-known fact—these Others will never be as brilliant, as moral or as wise as we liberals instinctively are. 

"Bless their hearts," we sometimes say. "On occasion, these Others may try to keep up. But they persistently fail."

More often, we turn to embellished language—to our lingo about "banning books." It makes the conduct of the Others just sound so much worse!

At this point, we return to the eight letters which appeared in Sunday's New York Times. The Times positioned them under that headline—The Rise in Book Bans and Censorship—even though it isn't clear that any of the books in question were being censored or banned in any straightforward way.

One book that plainly hasn't been "banned" is the widely-acclaimed graphic novel, Maus

One school system did decide that the book wasn't right for their eighth-grade kids. Because the board was in Tennessee, this occasioned instant talk of the Scopes monkey trial, and at least one citation of Bumfuck County.

In these ways, our liberal tribe is very, very dumb. We were impressed when we saw the Times publish these words of dissent:

To the Editor:

Re “Tennessee Board Bans Teaching of Holocaust Novel” (news article, Jan. 29):

I’m Jewish, from New York City, and I taught at a state university serving low-income Tennessee students for 25 years. So I need to set the record straight.

Every Tennessee fifth grader is required to learn about the Holocaust. My university, with its minuscule fraction of Jewish students, has a Holocaust studies minor. We host an international Holocaust conference every two years.

To convey the magnitude of six million lost, three decades ago teachers in Whitwell, Tenn., asked their eighth-grade class to collect that many paper clips. They ended up with 30 million, sent to the school from people around the world. These are on display in the school’s Children’s Holocaust Memorial, housed in a boxcar from Germany, which may be the most riveting testament of young people working together to vow “Never again.”

People in the rural South have different cultural norms. After moving to Tennessee, I learned you don’t swear in class. But painting a state as yahoos and Holocaust deniers for rejecting cursing or nudity in one book epitomizes the very stereotype we people who study the Holocaust should always abhor.

Janet Belsky / Chicago

Our youthful analysts stopped their moping. For once, they stood and cheered. 

Professor Belsky went to Penn. She then got a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Chicago. 

Along the way, she plainly picked up some cosmopolitan values.

After teaching at Lehman College, CUNY, she taught at Middle Tennessee State for more than twenty years. On that basis, she seems to have a rough idea of what she's talking about.

According to Belsky, every Tennessee fifth grader is taught about the Holocaust. Beyond that, the students in the Tennessee county under review spend two months on the Holocaust when they're in eighth grade.

Belsky's cosmopolitan values allow her to understand an amazingly basic fact. Sometimes, people in certain places or regions may have cultural values, norms or beliefs which aren't 100 percent exactly the same as Ours.

Our values will be better and wiser, of course. But Belsky offers a peculiar thought:

Trashing a region in the way we've done is very, very stupid. In Belsky's view, it also seems to fly in the face of the values we pretend to uphold.

As a general matter, the other seven letter-writers bashed the hapless book-banners in the less than thoroughly brilliant ways our self-impressed tribe prefers. Here's an example of the way we often behave despite our self-diagnosed brilliance:

To the Editor:

Re “A Disturbing Book Changed My Life,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Sunday Review, Jan. 30):

One could argue that Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” which depicts the fascism and bigotry flourishing in Poland in the 1940s, mirrors a disturbingly similar political climate, albeit to a lesser degree, in America today. Maybe that is the real reason the Tennessee school board preferred to limit this information to its young scholars...

Maybe that's the real reason why the board did what it did!

That was the letter which came right after Belsky's. Just like that, we had returned to speculating in the darkest possible way about the hidden motives of The Others, who just aren't as decent as we are.

If their values aren't exactly like ours, there must be a vry dark hidden motive! That's the way our war-inclined species has always been inclined to reason, all around the world.

Eight letters appeared on the topic of banning and censorship. Most were written from script, supporting this rime-honored Storyline:

Plainly, we're smarter and better.

We broadcast this attitude far and wide. In such ways, we lose elections, and with them we lose the world.

Meanwhile, there was Judy Woodruff last Friday night, with an adventure in paraphrase. Tomorrow, we'll show you the words of many other tribal icons as they too have taken this mandated trip to a tribal paradise.

The woods are lovey, dark and deep, but we liberals may not always be the people we say we are. Like other tribes, we also tend to be fairly dumb a fair amount of the time.

As with tribal groups all over the world, we tend to find it very hard to discern these obvious points.

Tomorrow: All the scripted people, where do they all come from?


  1. "In these ways, our liberal tribe is very, very dumb."

    We know, dear Bob, we know. In every way possible your liberal tribe is very, very dumb. We knew it without reading your blog. the way: do you have any comments on the "wag the dog" psyop your liberal cult has been running for a couple of months now?

    Do you find it ironic, dear Bob, that your concerns from a few years ago -- a mental president with nuclear codes, risking a thermonuclear war for a political distraction -- have materialized nowadays? Meh. We don't expect you appreciate the irony...

  2. That banned this.

    “I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

    It sings.

  3. Yeah I wonder what gets more clicks and reads.

    "The Rise in Book Bans" or "The Rise in Requests that Books be Removed from School Curriculum"

    Proposed theory: "Bans" draws more revenue

    1. Removing a book from the school curriculum kills the revenue, obviously.

      Which is, we strongly suspect, the main cause of Mr Spiegelman's righteous anger.

    2. Interesting. I was just talking about news revenue.

    3. Ah, yellow journalism. Sure.

    4. ...although it probably isn't the most thrilling topic in the first place.

  4. It's not a stereotype.


    For those who still think Durham is finding out anything important.

    1. Meanwhile, over at Fox News...

    2. An extra 20-30 books in Bumfuck isn't going to bankrupt Mr. Spiegelman.

      But there is a slight tinge of anti-semitic stereotyping in Mao's comment (not for the first time). He seems to be implying that because Spiegelman is Jewish that money is his main concern. Does that also imply that his motive for writing a book about the Holocaust was to make money, not to say important things about Jewish mistreatment? Does it change anyone's opinon to know that Maus was written during a time period in which Holocaust denialism was in the news?

      And what is the reason why attempting to remove such a book from classrooms wouldn't be an attack on Holocaust history, especially given Bumfuck's removal of the book on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

      Somerby has never addressed that supposed coincidence, while creating his own similar "coincidence" by defending Ethan Crumbley and his parents on the anniversary of the Stoneman-Douglas school shooting.

      The problem with Somerby's plea that we consider The Others values is that these are not very nice people, Somerby included.

    3. Rationalist,
      Fox News is lazy, but you don't have to work hard to play the rubes.

    4. Someone could potentially own both Fox and say CNN or MSNBC, then play them off of each other...

      Fox Lies About Latest Non-Scandal

      MSNBC Downplays Serious Issue

      ...and then they'd be ramping up each other's profits and giving their readers whiplash. Maybe even link to each others articles. Or would that be too obvious?

    5. Nah, that's not their business. They service their sponsors; global finance on the dembot side.

      They don't make money selling ads anymore. They sell content, goebbelsian repetition of talking points. If they were, as you insist, simply practicing yellow journalism to sell ads, they wouldn't be all parroting the same dembot talking points distributed by the liberal politburo.

    6. Rationalist, you realize that Fox and MSNBC or CNN are not owned by the same people, right?

    7. "Someone could potentially own both Fox and say CNN or MSNBC"

      Yes. I was speculating what could be possible if they did have the same owner. An all new landscape of news profit, fueling each others fires via a feedback loop.

    8. Bob,
      Checkout how Fox News' lies about the Durham investigation have the usual suspects frothing at the mouth that "the Clintons did it!", and remind us again that there could possibly be a way for liberals to be more condescending to Republican voters than the Right is.

    9. Yeah it is difficult. How about:

      Amazingly, Trump Voters Even Dumber than Previously Thought

    10. Clinton looks like crap these days.

    11. Durham claims the tech exec, in an email, asked the researchers to "provide evidence of *anything* that shows an attempt to behave badly in relation to this, the VIPs would be happy" referring to finding a connection between Trump and the Russian bank in DNS logs. One of the researchers emailed back "you do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag to even make a very weak association? ... the only thing that drives us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump]."

      Page 12-12 of the indictment.

      Maybe it's all bull.

    12. And looks are everything, amirite?

      Hillary is 74. She doesn't need to have professional makeup, expensive haircuts, face lifts or buy designer clothes any more. She isn't running for anything. She is a retired grandma now, and that is exactly what she looks like. If you think old women look like crap, I hope you never have the opportunity to grow old with one. You won't deserve her.

    13. Drum is completely correct that what they did may not be illegal. But it is interesting to anyone who wants to see how sleazy, immoral political campaigns operate. Who wouldn't agree with that?

    14. @5:06 -- someone dislikes Trump!!! Alert the press.

    15. 5:09: They were discussing the false information Sussman took to the FBI and Slate Magazine that would up to be the basis of the false story linking Trump to the bank.

      All so Hillary wouldn't have to take a few more trips to Saginaw and air few more ads in Waukesha. ;)

    16. Hillary doesn't look a day over 73.

    17. Here's the story that Sussman took to slate and the FBI. This is the false story the Clinton campaign planted in the press vis-à-vis Sussman.

    18. Wait a minute. I thought Hillary was in jail. Or wait a minute, didn't she die in 2017 as predicted by the RW fever swamps?

      Well I have to hand it to you, just give Inspector Durhan a few more years and he'll wrap this thing up with a bow on it. Bwahaha!!

    19. 1. Clinton consulted Sussman's firm about her server.
      2. Sussman was not working on behalf of Clinton when he approached the FBI or was concerned about the Trump-Russia data exchange via a computer in the Trump Tower basement.
      3. The data that raised that concern was not obtained by hacking, was not obtained illegally (is public info), and had nothing whatsoever to do with the White House.
      4. Clinton is not running for any office, much less President.
      5. Durham's only charge is against Sussman for supposedly lying to the FBI about who he was working for. Durham claims he was working for Clinton, but there is no evidence of that whatsoever. Sussman claims he had no client on the matter of the Russian server in the Trump Tower basement.

      This is nonsense cooked up to deflect from the 1/6 investigation and other brewing Trump scandals. There is nothing to it.

    20. In the Sussman indictment he has the billing records of Sussman billing the Clinton campaign for the actual meeting he had with the FBI when he gave them the dossier about the Trump Tower Russian Bank connection. These are the types of things that will have to be faced in court in front of a jury and we will just rely on them to find the truth.

      It's nothing to really worry about.

    21. The indictment is simply dripping with instances where Sussman billed the Clinton Campaign for his dirty tricks and attempted swiftboating of Trump with totally false information re. Trump and Russia.

      The billing the Clinton campaign for the FBI meeting was on page 20.


      On or about July 31, 2016, SUSSMANN billed the Clinton Campaign for twentyfour minutes with the billing description, "communications with [Campaign Lawyer-1] regarding server issue." c. On or about August 12, 2016, SUSSMANN, Campaign Lawyer-1, and Tech Executive-I met in Campaign Lawyer-1 's office. In connection with this meeting, SUSSMANN billed his time to the Clinton Campaign with the billing description "confidential meetings with [Campaign Lawyer-1 ], others."

      On or about the same date, SUSSMANN billed time to the Clinton Campaign with the billing description "Multiple meetings regarding confidential project, draft white paper []," and to Internet Company-I with the billing description, "communications regarding confidential project." (emphasis added).

      "SUSSMANN billed his meeting with the FBI General Counsel to the Clinton Campaign with the billing description, "work and communications regarding confidential project"

      It's not like it's the biggest deal in the world. The Clinton campaign is caught red handed using sleazy, immoral tactics. As a Clinton voter, I would have been happy if it had worked if they had never gotten caught.

    22. I see your point. As a Trump voter I was saddened to watch his one term clusterfuck of a presidency fall apart right before our eyes as he waddled his fat corrupt ass around his golf courses, and managed to get himself impeached twice, and then watching his sad deranged refusal to accept that he was a loser and then plot a treasonous coup and inciting an insurrection and attack on our Capitol. He coulda been somebody. So sad.

    23. I am sure if you give Inspector Durham another 2 years he may be able to name the person in the Clinton campaign he coordinated with.

      Durham refused to provide the names of those on the Clinton Campaign with whom Sussmann coordinated,...

      By the way, I completely forgot about the Jan 6 insurrection and coup plot by Trump with all this Hillary bullshit floating around. Nice job.

    24. Can people not hold two thoughts in their head at one time? Why can't we continue the investigation into the Clinton campaign Swiftboating of Trump by falsely tying him to Russia and taking that story that they knew was false to the media and the FBI and at the same time continue with the one six investigation to get to the bottom of what happened that day and how much Trump was involved. We could add on a third investigation of what the hell Trump was doing lying about the pandemic at the very beginning. That's more important and interesting to me than one six. We should have like 50 investigations going at one time. Are you so stupid you can't handle more than one? The whole idea is a stupid excuse by democrats to try to sweep it under the rug. We can investigate Clinton's malfeasance when it comes to Trump and Trump's malfeasance on 16 at the same time, dumbass dope.

    25. 9;24,
      No investigation to find the Republican voter who isn't a bigot?
      Why not?

    26. That would be a great investigation to have.

  6. "That said, when school officials select certain books for inclusion in a school system's curriculum, are they really "banning" all other books in a semantically sensible way?"

    Here is Somerby putting his thumb on the scales by pretending that this is what has been happening recently in school districts.

    This is not the situation. What has happened in the cases in the news is that books already part of the curriculum, included in school libraries or assigned as reading by classroom teachers are being summarily removed by administrators due to pressure of right wing organizations or conservative school board members on school boards.

    Note that this is not a grassroots community movement, nor are the students themselves requesting that books be removed. In the cases where a supposed parent or student is involved in requesting removal of a book (on behalf of others, since individual students are already exempted from assignments if parents request it) are traced back to conservative operatives (activists).

    So, this is not a simple matter of leaving off important books, but of actively removing them once they have been included. And that more closely fits the definition of banning.

    No one has tried to put Lolita or Ulysses on any high school reading list, by the way.

  7. Somerby argues that a school board in TN is more likely to be concerned about mouse titties than it is about exposing students to the suppression that occurred in Nazi Germany, because they might draw parallels with current right wing suppression in their own communities and schools.

    This letter writer is hardly the first person to find similarities between neo-fascism in our alt-right and the rise of fascism in Germany. Jonah Goldberg even drew parallels between fascism and liberalism! Students newly discovering such ideas may be more troublesome to their elders. Viewing mouse tits is not likely to cause the same upheaval, but Somerby claims The Others have "different values" and think even cartoon nudity will unleash the libidos of young teens and give Satan a foothold! If they worried more about Trump's brand of fascism in Bumfuck, maybe they wouldn't have voted for Trump and our country would be miles better off. But Somerby thinks we should take statements about mouse sex at face value and not look behind the green curtain to see what is up with conservatives in rural areas. Because they have the right to teach their kids that baby mice are delivered by mouse storks.

    Can Somerby be any more ridiculous?

    1. It’s amazing how anonymices keep it about grade schoolers and “mouse tits” rather than the whole scenario of a mother committing suicide by slitting her wrists in a bathtub.

    2. Cecelia, go back and look at what was discussed at that school board meeting and what the main objections were in the letter.

      Do you think that young teens do not know about suicide? Children in middle and high school are themselves attempting and committing suicide. That's why schools address the topic head on, instead of ignoring it in the hope that if no one mentions it, it will not affect our kids. A book that discusses it will give teachers a way to raise and discuss the topic with their classes.

      The conservative knee-jerk reaction of suppressing whatever they do not want to acknowledge is unhelpful when it comes to mental health issues. Somerby didn't say so (because he knows very little about psychology), but Ethan Crumbley's parents may have neglected his very real mental health issues because they were in denial. Denial is the refusal to accept or acknowledge the truth of something that has occurred. Suppression of books is an extension of that defense mechanism.

    3. That’s nonsense. It is not absurd for parents to be concerned about their kids being exposed to such a scene in a “graphic novel” meant to make the horror of the Holocaust relatable to everyone.

      It’s the usual disdainful intransigence and childish wrath over what is not an unreasonable stance.

    4. Cecelia, the objections didn't come from parents.

      You are aware, aren't you, that Bambi's mother is shot by hunters? That one is aimed at preschoolers.

      You need to be more suspicious of the overconcern for protecting youth from things that are already part of their environment. It signals ulterior motives.

      "disdainful intransigence" and "wrath"? Aren't we getting literary today!

      Schools should decide what is reasonable to teach children. They spend their careers learning how to make such decisions. Individual parents already have the right to exempt their kids from specific materials and assignments. The rest of this is a concerted attack on schools by conservatives. It is not a community effort at all. This is being shown by examining the funding of the groups raising these concerns.

    5. Cecelia,
      Too bad Robert Mercer isn't funding outrage about students being traumatized by active shooter drills.
      Why won't the Right-wing ever use their power for good?

    6. Yes, we’ve all heard that parents are supposed to sit back and trust the experts and anything less than that is an uprising by the rabble.

      You’re the mental giants who compare grade schoolers dealing with wrist cutting in the face of despair to Bambi’s mother, therefore shut the hell up parents, you don’t know what you’re talking about. End of story.

      By all means, sister, let Democratic candidates run on that approach. It worked so well in Virginia.

    7. Not to mention the conservative bastion of San Francisco.

    8. San Francisco?
      Isn't that the place with the highest housing prices in the nation due to people willing to pay a premium to live with their values?
      Well, that's capitalism for you.

    9. Cecelia is on fire on this issue.

      So I talked to a friend at work about this subject, he echoed that yes, they are using nudity and sex concerns as an excuse to get rid of books about race, the holocaust, etc.

      I asked him if he believes any of them are legitimate concerns at all, is there any one person that actually legitimately thinks the sexual content is the issue and is not faking it.

      He said no. Zero. That's the state of the divide on this issue.

    10. In the beloved childhood book Charlotte's Web, young children learn that pigs are raised to be eaten.

      The point of literature is to help people deal with the weighty issues of life. That begins with early childhood and picture books about monsters in the closet or getting lost and needing to be found by a parent who searches everywhere.

      Sex is part of life. Mouse sex is pretty sanitized compared to other things young teens are exposed to in our popular culture. The parents who are serious about limiting exposure to real life tend to homeschool because merely excluding Maus and not the entire genre of young teen fiction just won't keep the world away.

      We read the Red Badge of Courage, about cowardice during the civil war, and The Yearling (hint: more coping with death), Oliver Twist, which has shocking brutality against Nancy, not just poverty and child abuse and is far from the cute musical they made out of it. Maus is no different than these other classics that help children grow up into moral adults. You would think that the concerned citizens in Bumfuck would want that for their kids. If they had read even a few of the books recommended for middle schoolers, they might not have grown up to vote for Trump.

    11. Yes I agree, on a personal level. From my own experience I wanted to be challenged and read about material that wasn't necessarily comfortable or safe.

      Sanitized, safe, watered-down... not my style.

      But to each their own.

    12. I no quarrel with Maus. I do dislike the notion that there’s no valid reason that anyone else would object to the context for certain age groups.

      Anonymouse3:32pm, I admire your argument. If being persuasive (which you are here) was more the rule rather than the exception, we’d all be better off.

    13. Careful or we'll all start to get along!

    14. Anonymouse2:43pm, apparently.

      They threw out all the school board members except for the ones who couldn’t be recalled because they hadn’t been on the board long enough.

    15. No chance of that, Rationalist. There is that creepiness at 3:40pm.

      I got a third thru it and had to stop.

    16. There is no comment at 3:40 either.

      When Cecelia refers to 3:52, it is one of her own comments.

      She is just trolling.

    17. Scroll down, Anonymouse6:59pm. There is a comment at 3:40pm.

      It starts:

      "Plainly, we're smarter and better."

      There are people with certain mental disorders who hear voices telling them that they are defective, evil, flawed, warped, lustful, corrupt, inadequate, and so on. It seems to be an extreme form of the self-talk that goes on as an internal dialog in many people who were perhaps chided as children or otherwise learned not to think well of themselves.”

      Have you considered the phenomenon of time zones?

    18. Cecelia is on fire because all of Cecelia's arguments are of the strawman variety.

      Also Cecelia is a straight up liar (see yesterday), thus their pants are on fire.

      Cecelia says "I was born yesterday", Maus is a 42yo book, it's being banned now because yahoos feel emboldened by Trump.

      Lordy, there are many valid reasons why content is age restricted, society has been at that task for over a hundred years.

      Somerby's post is so disingenuous, suddenly today he is just fine with cancel culture, then he makes the dumbest both-sides analogy, then he inverts a Southern insult - it is The Others that say "bless your heart" with condescending hypocrisy, when we say it we are attacking their mean-spiritedness.

      Then Somerby cheers the dumbest letter: the letter calls Southerners The Others, basically looking down on them as noble savages, saying they have different cultural norms, coldly ignoring their suffering borne from poverty and abuse.

      Hilariously the letter can only describe a single unique cultural norm - they don't curse in school! They don't fucking curse in school the letter says, and thus how dare we call them yahoos. This makes Penn look like a real shit school if this what they put out.

      And no, letter-writer, criticizing racists and white supremacists is not the same as Nazis stereotyping Jews. Apparently this letter-writer would not allow us to call Nazis psychos, they just have different cultural norms, you know.

      It gets worse, I lived in TN, by far the most hick place you'll ever visit, my (Jewish) mom taught middle school/high school/college in rural TN after retiring from her work as a physicist at Oak Ridge National Lab, I can assure you TN students do fucking curse, you fucking naive dope Somerby (I mean not really, Somerby is just putting on an act).

      Finally Somerby says it is stupid to call TN people yahoos, but offers no reasoning for this! I can assure of another thing, TN people do not care if they are called a yahoo, they, in fact, love it. It is actually part of their branding, you dope Somerby.

      Somerby does not know shit about TN, how it is filled with people suffering from child abuse and poverty, and so they turn to drugs and right wing politicians. That is not merely different cultural norms, you fucking asshole Somerby, that is the result of people suffering, suffering you do not give a shit about, nor does ESL dumbfuck Cecelia, who's bravado over the most painfully dumb counterarguments is almost as funny as it is sad.

      In truth Cecelia, this is why we get so uncomfortable with you here; you make these weird incoherent comebacks, dripping with hatred, and we feel terrible at your obvious pain, yet we can do nothing to help other than try to help you gain self awareness - and yes, sometimes that involves tough love, a little bit of Cher snap out of it. And then we realize you are too far gone, American society has failed us all, but more so Cecelia.

    19. Anonymouse 7:28pm, I don’t hate anonymices and have never intended to convey that strong of an emotion for blogboard denizens. I only think you’re dopes.

      You have managed to be lucid about one thing- the ill-intentioned “bless your heart” bit of coyness. I’ve always hated it. It’s sickening.

    20. The Right had to cancel culture "Maus" due to the "Every Right-wing accusation is really a confession" dictum.

  8. Somerby grew up, as I did, with the Catholic Churches list of banned books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

    Wikipedia says: "The Index condemned religious and secular texts alike, grading works by the degree to which they were seen to be repugnant to the church." Movies too.

    No good Catholic would want to be caught reading such books, and they would have to confess it as a sin if they did. "Cardinal Ottaviani stated in April 1966 that there was too much contemporary literature and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could not keep up with it." Note that this is the same time period in which court cases over civil liberties and book banning were occurring.

    The history of the attempts by the Catholic Church to suppress various works is described here:

    Books get banned for reasons that go way beyond mouse tits. Gallileo, for one, never talked about mouse anatomy at all, but he was on the list. When Somerby pretends that current conservative attacks on school curricula and libraries are merely about different community values, he is being dishonest. Books are banned for being subversive in various ways. Conservatives have a long history of considering education itself subversive anf this is an extension of the longstanding and ongoing efforts to use schools for their own propagandizing rather than to encourage free thought and democratic participation.

    If you doubt this, look at the story today about the kids in WV who were locked in an auditorium and asked to take Jesus into their hearts, in a mandatory session. The student body, including several who are Jewish, are staging a protest about that.

  9. "Plainly, we're smarter and better."

    There are people with certain mental disorders who hear voices telling them that they are defective, evil, flawed, warped, lustful, corrupt, inadequate, and so on. It seems to be an extreme form of the self-talk that goes on as an internal dialog in many people who were perhaps chided as children or otherwise learned not to think well of themselves.

    This seems to be what Somerby hears when liberals criticize something on the right. But Somerby's paranoid inner voice, the one that says he is not as good as the people who belief different stuff from him, most likely comes from his troubled relationship with his mother, not from some widespread cultural attitude among liberals that liberals are better than conservatives.

    For one thing, most conservatives believe themselves to be better than liberals, the people they have been taught to hate by Fox News. For another, the lower your IQ and the less education you have, the more satisfied a person tends to be with their own intelligence and position in life. Paradoxically, the higher their self-esteem.

    Somerby's idea that the South hates the North because liberals are arrogant or condescending or pretentious or self-impressed (as he puts it) is ridiculous. The South hates the North because of the Civil War and its aftermath, but the South has always considered itself superior to the North and there is a whole industry created around charming films about homey Southern family and community life, where people know the real values, are still religious, and take care of each other. Sweet Magnolias is an example (on Netflix). Somerby's inferiority complex is his, not The Others'.

    I think Somerby gained his dislike of pretentious educated people while in California (at a top high school) and later at Harvard University, where he found out that he was not the smartest kid or the wittiest, that he didn't understand his classes and didn't impress his teachers much, and didn't know how to put in the hard work needed to do better. He is plainly bitter about those years, but also about any attention paid to professors, especially female or black or gay ones, and bitter about authors and journalists who have succeeded where he once hoped to himself. But that is all Somerby's deal. The Others are happily weaving their conspiracies and greedily running businesses while using politics to plunder our nation and avoid spending money on anyone else's problems or future needs, even their own (vis a vis global warming). The anti-intellectuals of the South aren't going around bad-mouthing Aristotle and Einstein. They are hating on the Superbowl Halftime show.

  10. In addition to helping liberals feel superior, the fuss over MAUS allows liberals to ignore the fact that liberal censorship is much more common today than conservative censorship. Every time a conservative is prevented from speaking on a campus, that's censorship. When a conservative is booted off of Twitter or Facebook or Google, that's censorship.

    1. Why should public university funds (often from study body fees) be used to indoctrinate unsuspecting undergrads? Often the speakers you call cancelled were opposed by large numbers of students who protestedappearances, causing them to be cancelled. That is far from censorship.

      When a conservative is booted off Twitter or Facebook or Google, it is for violating their terms of service, which is an agreement every user signs. In other words, those conservative sleazes are failing to honor their own word. The things that get someone kicked off are generally acts that harm the community in one way or another, which is why they are prohibited by the agreements users sign.

    2. student body fees

    3. Anonymouse 6:56pm, the rules snd guidelines with that are extremely wobbly.

      Twitter had ruled that it will ban any information garnered via hacking. The particular concern is toward unfavorable info against liberal politicians where reports are automatically claimed to be the result of Russian hacking.

      However the hacking of a funding source for the protesters in Canada has not been a problem for Twitter. They have allowed the tweeting of the hacked names of donors to the funding site. The media has tweeted, published, and aired these names to predictable results.

      This has even brought condemnation from a prominent Democrat.

  11. This is what our schools have to deal with:

    1. The letter came to the home of Brenda Sheridan, a Loudoun County, Virginia school board member, addressed to one of her adult children. It threatened to kill them both unless she left the board.

      “It is too bad that your mother is an ugly communist whore,” said the hand-scrawled note, which the family read just after Christmas. “If she doesn’t quit or resign before the end of the year, we will kill her, but first, we will kill you!”

      Or as Cecelia might say, an unruly parent.

      School board members across the United States have endured a rash of terroristic threats and hostile messages ignited by roiling controversies over policies on curtailing the coronavirus, bathroom access for transgender students and the teaching of America’s racial history.

    2. That’s why it’s important for educators to be sensitive as to any condescension or disinclination to listen…

      These are people’s children. The dearest things in their lives. They won’t tolerate being made to feel powerless.

      Any threat or out of control behavior by parents should be handled by local law enforcement.


    3. Oh, so Jussie Smollett is writing letters now?

    4. That's right, Cecelia. You justify this.

      Do as we say or we'll kill your children. The modern republican party.

      you really are a piece of shit

  12. Where's Greg? I want him to tell me about Madame Crumbley's letter. Greg, where exactly in the letter was it that you found "deep hatred for immigrants"?


  13. Loser, whoever is setting up blocks to keep people from posting (Mao? he obviously sits by the Computer all day every day) has gotten good at keeping some people out... typical right wing "free speech" person.
    But since you never have any counter arguments (not really your fault when staking out such obviously incorrect takes) it's kinda boring. I can't tell you if you are playing the knave or the fool, but at this point either one is about as boring.
    "Thank you for making them pay for their hand outs"-Mrs. Crumbly. That about says it, eh? No doubt you feel the same. but if you want to debate further, go ahead and post an email address I don't have to navigate a maze to get to. I'll humor us both for a bit. -Greg

    1. She didn't say "Thank you for making them pay for their hand outs" monstrous dumbshit.