“You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” - Ray Bradbury
Grab your lighter, Hitler. Book burning is back in fashion.
The McMinn County School Board in Tennessee has decided that the Holocaust is too obscene for students to learn about. The school board voted unanimously to ban Maus, the Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel, from their 8th grade curriculum. To be fair, they did have some valid reasons:
Reason #1) Eight curse words
Reason #2) Crudely-drawn mouse boobs
Imagine thinking a few curse words and mouse boobs outweigh the murder of six million innocent people. Here's a question: Is there a single Holocaust story that doesn't contain some sort of obscenity? Is there any way to sanitize the murder of six million people for mass consumption? Maybe there are some things in history that should remain un-sanitized.
Then there are school officials who believe both sides of the Holocaust should be taught ... yup ... both sides. These are the adults in charge of shaping the future for the next generation.
This is the world we're living in. This is what we're up against. This is why good literature is so important. When the voices of those who experienced those atrocities go silent, literature keeps those voices alive so we don't forget what happens when good people do nothing in the face of incredible evil.
And it's not just the Holocaust school boards are coming for. The same people who whine and cry about Cancel Culture have no problem canceling books about diversity, LBGTQ experiences, and slavery under the very wide and general umbrella of CRT (which most of these people couldn't define for a million dollars).
After all, we wouldn't want students to learn about the ugly parts of American history and feel guilty for human beings being treated like cattle. This isn't about making kids feel bad about their race; it's about making all Americans aware of the mistakes of the past so we can do better in the future. Banning books won't erase those mistakes. Ignorance is not bliss.
Loving America doesn't mean ignoring its mistakes. Being a patriot means accepting America and its history - warts and all.
Good books should be read, not banned. Every important book that is banned kills a little piece of our culture. If we're not careful, soon we won't have anything left.
If you want to read a naughty book with lots of dangerous ideas, check out my dark comedy, The United States of Walmart!