HERE’S WHAT IT’S COME TO: COLLEGE ASSIGNS COMIC BOOK TO INCOMING FRESHMEN … PROTAGONISTS OF TALE INCLUDE A LESBIAN AND A CHILD MOLESTER … plus … KINNAS ‘WILL NOT TAKE OUT PAPERS’
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY-TUESDAY, AUG. 5-6, 2013) — As that notoriously tough grader Prof. Valenti gets ready for his courses this fall, there are syllabi to perfect, classes to prepare, lectures to mull over, and books to order. In our “Composition 101” class, we shall use Prose Models, Gerald Levin, editor. In “Introduction to Journalism,” it shall be some combination of Inside Reporting, The Four Theories of the Press, and Writing for the Mass Media. In both courses, we shall assign Jane Aaron‘s Little, Brown Compact Handbook, the best one out there for writers.
Compared to the ponderous reading lists we encountered in the 1970s as an undergrad and then in grad school, these lists are about as arduous as we dare to get with today’s attention-deficited, thumb-addled students. That, and infinite patience, leads to success in all academic pursuits, including the training of writers.
Speaking of writers, THE PLANET presents this guest column, written by Eric Owens, education editor of The Daily Caller. We thought you’d find it enlightening, in light of our reading list. Professor Valenti, apparently, needs to get “more relevant” for today’s students, who come to class having won medals all their lives just for playing and trophies simply for “effort.” They’ve been fed on a diet of solipcistic navel gazing, pumped up on artificial “self-esteem,” and brainwashed by politically correct educators of various teachers unions at the grammar and high school levels. The effect has begun to spill over into college.
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COLLEGE ASSIGNS LEZBO-CHILDMOLESTER COMIC BOOK to “CHALLENGE” STUDENTS
The Daily Caller
Eric Owens, Education Editor
Guess which book the College of Charleston spent around $39,000 buying up to assign to 4,000 or so incoming 2013 freshmen students for ostensibly required summer reading.
Could the College of Charleston (CofC) have invested in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”—an enduring cautionary tale about the deeply destructive power of unchecked ambition? How about Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov,” which delves deeply into issues of God, free will, and morality?
Of course not. Instead, administrators at the public university in downtown Charleston, South Carolina chose “Fun Home,” a 2006 graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist who writes a comic strip called “Dykes to Watch Out For.”
The book’s plot concerns a woman who is coming out as a lesbian. She has a closeted gay father. He’s an English teacher who owns a funeral home. He’s also on trial for a sexually molesting a young boy. Among much else, there’s an illustrated masturbation scene to boot.
In addition to dropping nearly $40,000 on the glorified comic books, CofC will generously give $13,000 from its public coffers to Bechdel when she speaks on campus in October, according to Campus Reform.
The assignment and the pricey speaking engagement have generated criticism from a conservative Christian organization called Palmetto Family, which works with a couple national groups: Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council (both founded by James Dobson).
An out-of-state parent notified Oran Smith, Palmetto Family’s president and CEO, about the contents of the book, reports The Post and Courier. Smith then sent an email to approximately 10,000 people entitled “A Shocking Summer Reading Assignment!”
“I found it very close to pornography,” Smith explained, “way over the top.” He also said that people who have received his email strongly agree.
“We don’t think this book should be banned in America,” he said. “We don’t think it should be burned. It’s just not appropriate for college freshmen.”
It’s not clear which age cohort Smith thinks should be reading the book.
Freshmen classes at American colleges and universities tend to include students who are between the ages of 17 and 19.
The provost of CofC, George Hynd, said the school endeavors to provide a safe, diverse atmosphere and that the assignment will not be changed.
Lynne Ford, associate provost, said the graphic memoir copes with issues of identity and “will help students to learn that they are not unique. Our experience is shared by millions.”
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Don’t you love the use of the word “diverse”? Before political correctness distorted the meaning of this perfectly good word, “diverse” meant the quality of exhibiting great variety. Today, politicians, bureaucrats, administrators, and others employ the word as code, meaning, “We shall shove a PC agenda down your throats.”
We think here of Jake IV‘s promise for more “diversity” in hiring for the Pittsfield Public Schools. To better prepare the young minds of tomorrow, JIV (“Jive”) might want to spend $40 grand of taxpayer money on”Fun Home.” On second thought, comic books, however, might prove too challenging for some of the little darlins’. Secondarily, we refer to talk of bringing back “affirmative action” into the city’s public life. Like all well-meaning attempts at social engineering to manipulate outcomes in the name of justice, this one — in the hands of politicians, administrators, and the like — will invariably produce the opposite.
As much or more discrimination has been introduced in the name of “affirmative action” than even the most strident cases of abuse, which at least had the virtue of honesty in their vice. We shall leave it at that.
KINNAS WILL NOT TAKE OUT PAPERS
With the deadline on nomination papers for candidates looking to get on the 2013 ballot set for tomorrow, school committeeman Terry Kinnas tells THE PLANET that he “will not be taking our papers” for school committee or any other municipal office.
This action does not come as a surprise, although it does represent a loss for We The People. Of the six members of the school committee, Kinnas and Kinnas alone has consistently fought to protect the interests of taxpayers while advancing policies aimed at producing a more efficient, more motivated, and more cost-effective school department.
For his reward, Kinnas has met obstacle after obstacle placed in his way for fellow committee members, school administrators, and other “Special Interest” types. He has run this obstacle course with persistence, dignity, and deftness. The culmination of this pattern of hostility shown to the committee’s sole watchdog reached its heights during the now-infamous “Scopes Money Trial,” a kangaroo court proceeding carried out by the school committee with the mayor’s backing after Kinnas had filed an “Open Meeting Law” complaint against the schools.
Mayor Dan Bianchi, who also is a member of the school committee, conveniently found an excuse to be out of town on the night of the trial. It was Bianchi’s lowest moment as mayor. To date, Bianchi has not commented on the “trial,” his role in it, and if he agreed with or even orchestrated the proceedings.
Kinnas, Bianchi, and the other members of the school committee have another five months. They have a new superintendent in place. A new school year begins next month. There’s still plenty of time to affect positive change on behalf of all constituencies with a stake in public education: Teachers, administrators, students, parents, support staff, and, most of all, taxpayers.
THE PLANET wishes Kinnas and the rest of the committee happy hunting.
“Give me a flower on a tall stem, and three dark flames, / For I will go to the wedding, and be wedding-guest / At the marriage of the living dark.” — D. H. Lawrence, last stanza, “Bavarian Gentians.” (1932)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.