Four years ago, I was invited by a teacher at a local Godfrey elementary school to give talks about my Native American artifacts. The teacher visited my house—he had seen my website and knew I had presented artifacts in schools for twenty years—and picked up some artifacts I was donating, to decorate the science classroom.
A couple of weeks went by, no word about the date I was supposed to visit the school, so I called the teacher back. He said the event was cancelled. Why? A parent (or parents), he told me, had advised the principal I was controversial and not fit to influence children. The several thousand kids I worked with over the years will be surprised to hear this. (So far as I know, not one of them became a Marxist after being with me.)
Later, a woman I knew whose kid went to that school told me that some parent had read a Genehouse Chronicle and was offended. What did that have to do with artifacts? I attempted to meet with the principal, to no avail. Blacklisting almost always leads to obfuscation. So I told the teacher to give back the artifacts. He said, well you donated them. Not to a school which censors people, I said. He returned the stones.
I was reminded of my experience by a newspaper article published this morning, “The next front in culture war: public libraries.” A matronly woman named Bonnie Wallace in Llano County Texas is advocating parental control over public libraries. (Most of her acolytes don’t even have a library card.) She sent out an email, the title of which was “Pornographic Filth at the Llano Library.” A fellow conservative wrote back: “God has been so good to us … Please continue to pray for the librarians and that their eyes would be open to the truth.” Then the moron governor of Texas, Greg Abbott joined the cause, and the collective call became, end public libraries. Then county commissioners ended the library’s E-book program.
Now new county board elections are being held, and Democrats are being thrown out, including Dr. Richard Day, who has a master’s degree in library science and manages a rare book collection. The new conservative board (all Republican, all women) has noted that it will consult with a local Christian school for guidance. Their closed meetings, which are against the law in Texas, feature praying. They are seriously waiting for the Lord to answer, which may take a while.
(Note to you silent Christians: when will you get the balls to counter conservatism in the name of White Jesus? This same silence is why racism is the rallying cry of Republicans.)
On the woman’s filth list are “Between the World and Me,” the brilliant tome by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Caste,” the masterful book by Isabel Wilkerson, and “In the Night Kitchen,” by Maurice Sendak. (The first two authors are Black, but that’s just “coincidence.”) There are fifty-eight other titles. The fate of the list is being decided in closed sessions (of course) so that reporters can’t quote the Christian rebels who are protecting their kiddies from filth, Communism, sex, critical race theory, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I was a voracious reader as a kid. My tastes included “dirty” books such as “Candy,” a sex-drenched parody of “Candide” which Voltaire would have loved, “Catch 22,” “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” and Ayn Rand’s book of masturbation for teenage boys, “Fountainhead.” Hell, I was even turned on by actor Hayley Mills in “The Parent Trap,” where she had a scene in chaste underpants. These did not lead me to degradation or depravity or rape—unless playing with oneself is self-rape. (The greatest porno is in the Bible. I attended a wedding where the best man read a passage, the one about ‘your breasts are like honeydew melons,’ and the best man cracked up and laughed until he shook.)
I am not as important as a library; I just got a taste of the New World order. However, at any time I fully expect my scarlet letter. Or worse.
Margaret Atwood, no mere fictionist, is a prophet. Soon, her books will be banned, and she will be a silent prophet. Or worse.