1. “What’s going on here?” I have not decided what exactly the article “The New Homophobia” in Newsweek (Flagged this morning by Althouse: Pointer for Ann!) means or portends: it is, after all, just one man’s opinion. However, I sense that it is relevant to the issues underlying the Disney vs. Florida controversy.
I learned about queer theory, an obscure academic discipline based largely on the writing of the late French intellectual Michel Foucault, who believed that society categorizes people—male or female, heterosexual or homosexual—in order to oppress them. The solution is to intentionally blur—or “queer”—the boundaries of these categories. Soon this “queering” became the predominant method of discussing and analyzing gender and sexuality in universities…
This might not be a concern if, by adopting these new identities, young people were merely playing with the boundaries of normative gender expression—something that gays, lesbians, feminists, most liberals and even many conservatives would welcome two decades into the 21st century. But many young boys do not stop at simply painting their fingernails and wearing dresses, and young girls do more than cut their hair short and play football. With increasing frequency, these children are given drugs to block their puberty, cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries, all the while cheered on first by online communities, then the mainstream media and now the current presidential administration…
Sure, the religious far right remains something of a threat, and I, like any other gay person, can still be stung by anti-gay slurs and can fear the threat of violence in less-accepting spaces. But today I am equally fearful of the radical activists I once longed to emulate, activists who push a regressive, anti-liberal agenda that reifies gender stereotypes, downplays the seriousness of long-term medicalization and ultimately seeks to abolish my identity—for without biological sex, there is no homosexuality. Today, the least-accepting spaces for people like me are, of all places, the halls of LGBT rights organizations, where the threat might not be violence but is nevertheless terrible stigmatization and shame…
My initial reaction? This is one more reason to keep teachers and schools—and Disney— out of the matter entirely.
2. Journalism! MSNBC news anchor Nicole Wallace hysterically compared such laws as the Florida Parental Rights in Education measure to Russian troops raping children. (Is there evidence that Russian troops are raping children?). She said in part on a broadcast this week:
The truth is dehumanization as a tactic for politics is from war. Russians get the soldiers to rape children by dehumanizing them…It’s being deployed in our politics, and …dehumanization has a cost right now….Kids will die.
I don’t understand how emotionally healthy, reasonable people can watch MSNBC. Talk about propaganda! Or hysteria. How did the Left become so invested in having grade school teachers instructing students in gender-reassignment surgery and the Wonderful World Of Homosexuality, as new show on Disney+will likely be exploring if it continues on its current trajectory?
Related guffaw: MSNBC’s Symone Sanders, previously a senior communications staffer for Kamala Harris, smugly predicted on “Meet the Press Daily,” “My money is on the Disney lobbyists, honey. Do you think those state legislators down in Florida are going to bend to the will of the governor? No.” Right as usual, Symone! More razor-sharp analysis for MSNBC viewers.
3. Gaslighting! Relentless race-baiter Jamele Bouie, one of the Times’ more inexcusable pundits, weighed in with a column called: “Democrats, You Can’t Ignore the Culture Wars Any Longer.” Does he really believe that Democrats and progressives haven’t been fighting the “culture wars”—and winning!—for decades? How did the entire university culture become one of progressive indoctrination? How did teachers start believing it was appropriate to bring politics into public school classes? Where did the idea come from that group identification was more important in choosing employees, judges and Vice-Presidents than ability and experience? Here is part of his argument that could only provoke nods from the most brain-washed of Times readers:
Both the crusade against “critical race theory” and the slanderous campaign against L.G.B.T.Q. educators and education are as much about undermining key public goods (and stigmatizing the people who support them) as they are about generating enthusiasm for the upcoming midterm elections….Christopher Rufo, a right-wing provocateur who helped instigate both the panics against “critical race theory” and against L.G.B.T.Q. educators in schools, has openly said that he hopes to destroy public education in the United States. “We are right now preparing a strategy of laying siege to the institutions,” he said last November in an interview with my colleague Michelle Goldberg. In a recent speech, delivered to an audience at the conservative Hillsdale College, Rufo declared that “to get universal school choice you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust.”
Critical race theory in quotes: it doesn’t exist! What “slander campaign” against LGBTQ educators? This is another popular false narrative: telling teachers not to teach about sexuality in lower grades is really an attack on gay teachers. None of the laws, proposed or otherwise, mention the sexual orientation of teachers at all. Is Bouie implying that gay teachers are more likely to bring sexual orientation into classrooms where the subject doesn’t belong? Wasn’t that assumption part of the basis for illegal and unethical discrimination in the hiring of gay teachers? A gay teacher is as likely to be professionally responsible and teach what he or she is supposed to teach as a non-gay teacher. Its public school teachers who cannot be trusted. Bouie quotes Rufo’s “to get universal school choice you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust” as if it’s some mad conservative fantasy. Any parent who blindly trusts public schools is irresponsible and a fool.
4. About those rejected math text books…After Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office announced Monday that the state’s education department rejected 41% of the math textbooks for reportedly including “indoctrinating concepts,” much was made of the fact that no specifics were released, thus fueling accusations that what was in the rejected “woke” math books was appropriate content. Now excerpts from many of those textbooks have been released. This is representative of content in the rejected math textbooks published by Big Ideas Learning, from the company’s marketing material:
Here’s a math problem as presented by another publisher:
Uh-uh. Mathematics is not the place for woke linguistic manipulation. There is no reason to trust the textbook or the school that would select it. And what is this chart doing in a pubic school math book?
That is a bar graph that purports to measure racial prejudice by political identification, indicating that conservatives are more racist than liberals. The data is from much-criticized Race Implicit Association Test, but even assuming that the data is accurate, it does not belong in a math text book.