Fighting about history, left, right, and centre

Wearing glasses doesn’t mean a person is of sufficient intellect to read, write, add, subtract, divide and multiply. Whoopi Goldberg is a prime example, and so is the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee.

The former said that the Holocaust wasn’t about racism as it involved white people only, while the latter banned a book on the crime against humanity because of a few profane expressions and partial nudity.

While an Amazon bestseller since the scandal broke out, Maus by Art Spiegelman was originally published on Monday, Aug. 12, 1985. It appeared all over the world (the translated version is available in Spanish, English, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, Portuguese, Indonesian / Malaysian, French, Japanese, German and many others). Maus also won the 1992 Pulitzer, among many other awards.

Three decades after the Pulitzer committee saw fit to bestow its top award on Maus, Google Docs won’t let you see it in *.pdf. Here’s their official explanation: We’re sorry. You can’t access this item because it is in violation of our Terms of Service.

Other services may let you see the book online, but even their links to *.pdf downloads that used to work not long ago, don’t any longer.

Boycott? Conspiracy?

Hard to say, even though: not necessarily. It’s flying off Amazon’s shelves faster than hot cakes.

Still, it is interesting to note that many North American media, when announcing the ban in Tennessee, found it necessary to add that this region was solidly pro-Donald J. Trump in previous U.S. elections. As if that mattered.

Ms. Goldberg explained on the openly pro-Marxist television show, The View, that Holocaust wasn’t racist because it was whities killing whities.

That the killers themselves had made it widely known that their actions were motivated by racism must have somehow escaped Ms. Goldberg’s attention. It would be difficult to accept that she would be that uninformed (in this case, a polite synonym for plain stupid).

The trustees at the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee claim they were guided by their care for their students’ wholesomeness. What they didn’t like was (in their own words) profanity and an image of female nudity. All that in an eighth grade language arts curriculum and the book’s depiction of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust.

The board’s own minutes show that the participants were led by their own and outrageous ignorance. First, the official who is briefing them on the issue admits openly and for the record that he’s not an expert so far as the eighth grade language arts curriculum is concerned.

Then, some mistakenly take the book’s classification (3.0) to mean it’s supposed to be read by Grade 3 students. Corrected, they still have issues with 14-year-olds learning about the real history: the book is based on the author’s own parents’ experiences.

Yes, they would grant, children even younger see and hear things much worse than this on any TV channel they pick (and never mind the many violent and vulgar video games). Still, they say, no, on their turf they won’t be exposed to such indecent and coarse grossness.

That the facts that Art Spiegelman described were themselves beyond indecent and coarse grossness somehow never crossed whatever was left of their minds. To vote such a book out, unanimously, too, by a 10-0 count, that shows a level of imbecility not often witnessed in civilised society.

What’s at issue?

A growing number of school systems around the U.S. have realised that the way the history of slavery and racism in America is being taught is far from ideal.

The recently new fad, a.k.a. critical theory, can be applied to anything, and the only thing it manages to do with any success is distort facts in the name of identity politics.

Art Spiegelman described the McMinn board’s decision to ban his book “Orwellian.”

One of the problems: those who promote the critical theory teachings are worse even than that.

Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet famously asked whether it would be better to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.

Indeed. Except: doing your homework before you commit to act a certain way may end up being the smartest way to go.

Ms. Goldberg apologised for her indiscretion. Or so it seemed,

If you analysed her words, she just doubled down on her original remarks.

First, she tweeted her “sincerest apologies.”

She elaborated: “On Today’s show, I said the Holocaust ‘is not about race, but about man’s inhumanity to man.’ I should have said it is about both.”

Then, she quoted Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League’s words: “The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race.”

Her reaction? “I stand corrected.”

And then she continued the usual way of former high-ranking SS officers who used to claim that they (in full secrecy, of course) used to help the Jews. This used to be called “a Jew in the closet excuse” (ein Jude im Schrank Entshuldigung in the original German).

Thus Whoopi Goldberg: “The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver [sic]. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.”

Anyone who believes this drivel will also believe in the tooth fairy.

The McMinn County School Board as least had the balls to stand by its decision, no matter how stupid their statement looked and sounded (still does).

A relatively recent (2014) cartoon by Art Spiegelman features this caption: “Keep your nose in a book – and keep other people’s noses out of which books you choose to stick your nose into!”

A point well taken.

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