Friday, January 29, 2010

A day without abusing the Texas SBOE is like a day without sunshine

What never ceases to amaze me about the Texas State Board of Education is the dazzling arrogance with which they blindly soldier on in the face of almost total loathing from everyone in the state who isn't a rabid fundagelical teabagger. This is a pretty conservative state, gang, but when you get an editorial like this from the newspaper in Denton — just a short drive north from the DFW Metroplex, so it's not exactly the tree-hugging lefty Sodom that is Austin — you know you've gone so far over the top in your demagoguery that you've literally lapped yourself and gotten jammed up your own ass. The lead to this piece is pure win, and the rest ain't bad at all. All you have to do to show how dire things are at the SBOE is simply to describe what they do.

Being ignorant is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is nothing to be particularly proud of either. A large and disruptive segment of the Texas State Board of Education is not only ignorant — a state that we all share at various times and on various subjects — it is proudly and aggressively ignorant, which goes beyond simple ignorance and ventures into the territory of malignant stupidity.

Gold. Of course, the defining characteristic of the extremist ideologue is to take the fact that everybody hates you as validation of your perfect and utter rightness in all things. After all, as Dan McLeroy has so bravely said, somebody's gotta stand up to alla dem expertses!


  1. Great editorial. If that ran in my local paper (Texarkana Gazette), the Letters to the Editor inbox would overflow.

  2. I'm happy to say that this is my local paper and I was thrilled to read it Wednesday morning. Perhaps there's hope yet for reason to prevail.

  3. I'd like to hear what either Matt or Tracie think about this - since they are both 'ex-fundies' (I think) perhaps they could tell us how they would have felt if they were part of the Texas SBOE right now.

    Would this much ire from those outside your beliefs simply have polarised you more? Would it be seen as the horned red fella manipulating opposition against you?

  4. On the other hand, Denton is a college town, so it's not as surprising as an editorial like this running in, say, Texarkana.

  5. I want to swear so badly (are we allowed to swear in the comments here?)

    This is a smalle excerpt from the article:

    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported this week that the board had banned the books of children’s author Bill Martin from third-grade reading lists because of left-wing tendencies.

    Martin, who died in 2004, is the author of such seditious books as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and other radical calls for revolution featuring bears and other forest creatures. Board member Pat Hardy of Weatherford had formally moved to ban Martin’s work, saying that while he had never read it, he was acting on the recommendation of another board member, Terry Leo of Spring. Leo had told him that Martin was the author of a book titled Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

    Well, it turned out that Ethical Marxism was published in 2008, some four years after Bill Martin died. It was written by another Bill Martin, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago. That Bill Martin, as far as is known, has never written anything for third-graders.

    Terry Leo, for her part, said she had never read Ethical Marxism, but the title was enough to set off her built-in alarm system.

    Now, without curse words, I don't have many words to describe how I feel, but suffice it to say I feel complete an dutter despair, anger, and revulsion at this species. This is a state education board, in 2010, in America, correct?

    I.....honestly.....I'm at a loss. I mean, I quit. I just quit. FInd me some sand in which to bury my head and allow me to await death.

  6. magx01: You must have missed this post from a week ago.

  7. You know if all the rational United Statians moved up here to Canada, we'd have a sufficiently overwhelming majority to prevent this trend of Ideological idiocy from spreading North.
    There's about 30 million Canadians, 16% of which declared no religion in 2001. Insert roughly 30 million rational Americans (estimated by taking 10% of 300 million)and you've got a population where non-religious citizens significantly outnumber every religious group put together.

    We could buy some lawnchairs and sit on the border and watch them travel back to the dark ages.

  8. @Mag

    The idea that someone's artistic merits are to be revoked based on ideology is absurd and intolerant. To Godwin myself it's a short step away from book burning...I take it back that's not Godwinning because THAT IS WHAT THESE PEOPLE DO! Baby Beebop, a magical realism fantasy that has a central gay romance subplot? Sue the state for the RIGHT to burn it. Harry Potter has a Christ stand in that is a wizard? BURN IT! D&D lets people be LG paradigms of chivalrous or roguishness the name of a fictional pantheon? BURN IT! The idea that you are so afraid of a physically harmless object because of it's symbolism that you're compelled to destroy it is surely a sign of some insanity. If one person did this shit they'd be condemned (IE man sets stack of books at Barnes and Noble on fire because of TEH EVIL is a nut, a group of them are moral guardians)

    Again when it comes to talent vs morality it's a non sequitor. I am completely apolitical and apartisian on this. I don't think we should ban the bible because it disagrees with me (I even think there are good myth parts and good poetry parts that we should propagate as memes or homages...of course all those are overshadowed by Tarintono's much better version in Pulp Fiction). Atlas Shrugged I think is fairly deplorable and so shit nosed self indulgent it makes Twilight readable, but it has some interesting seeds and contributed enough to the culture that Ayn Rand should be nasty as a person as she was. Hell, Chinatown was made by a convicted child rapist and still has its own merits outside of it's directors. William S Burroughs killed his wife in a drunken stupor. There are people who collect John Wayne Gacey's paintings and while I think that's more of gorn/fetishizing the controversy, it might one day be valid to count as a part of art history. Hell, if Hitler was an actual talented artist we would be obligated to teach his works in art along with his and barbarism psychosis in history (Ignoring the fact that he led to millions of deaths...what can we learn from his stroke work?)

  9. I think this is a sign of an inherent problem such belief has with the creationism bleeding into other areas. The belief is that the universe was created in God's image and is a sign of his work and nature right? They are then taking that notion and applying it to all created works (as the universe has nature of God since God is the author, Woody Allen's movies all have an incestuous nature). They anthropromorphise works with qualities of their creator (and vice versa, as I'm sure they think JK Rowling is a nasty person despite her being a Christian(tm) ). Since they see God's hand in all of his creation they subconsiously are seeing any creation as a reflection of the nature of the creator. If the work is immoral the author must be, if the author is immoral the work itself is immoral. This is absurd and the two are almost a case of a Non overlapping magistarium. NASA is not a Nazi organization despite the views of some of it's early contributors nor is rocketry itself invalid due to the invalidity of some of the great contributors to the field.

  10. The funniest aspect of the SBOE is them thinking that it's still the '50s, the Internet doesn't exist, and that they have exclusive control over what children learn.
    Ah, nostalgia. They're like the Japanese soldiers hiding out in the woods who don't know that WWII actually ended in 1945.

  11. "Terry Leo, for her part, said she had never read Ethical Marxism, but the title was enough to set off her built-in alarm system."

    Moreover, I seriously doubt Terry Leo has ever read Marx, either. He's just a 19th Century boogeyman who must be censored because Ronald Reagan said he was a bad guy.

  12. @ Andrew

    These are the people who believe fascism is a liberal thing (instead of you know and insane popularist phenomena) and will probably be showing Glen Beck's 'documentary' on the subject in the schools.

    It should be no shock they play the no true scotsman game with history, rewriting it so they're always on the side of angels and the people they don't like are always the villains.

  13. "These are the people who believe fascism is a liberal thing (instead of you know and insane popularist phenomena) and will probably be showing Glen Beck's 'documentary' on the subject in the schools."

    Indeed, I heard some doofus on Glenn Beck recently state that communism and fascism were both "left-wing" movements.

  14. "Indeed, I heard some doofus on Glenn Beck recently state that communism and fascism were both "left-wing" movements."

    Glen Beck has said on record that FDR was a Fascist while Ford was an anti-fascist

    If you don't know what's wrong with that sentence ask Mr. Wanka

    "Wait! Scratch that....reverse it"


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