Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stupid Shit Sunday

Oh no! A dumbass Texas legislator was right after all! Aieeeee!

Texas, which is competing with Florida for the title of Worst State Ever, gives us another reason to vote for the Lone Star And Extra Chromosome State in this year's balloting.

The reason has a name, and it's Warren Chisum. That's a hell of a manly name, for those of you who are fans of The Duke. But we're not talking about a wronged rancher. No, no. Today, we discuss a goddam idiot Texas State Legislator who is convinced that evolution is part of a rabbinic kabbala conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids (okay, I stole that last bit from Dr. Strangelove).

I promise you, I'm not making any of this up. Well, other than the bodily fluids part. Which probably isn't too far off the mark, though.

Check it out here. Here's a copy of the dickbag's memo (warning: PDF). Here's the site to which the memo refers (warning: will make you stupid). They are extremely proud of their idiocy:
The Earth is not rotating...nor is it going around the sun.
Those are their words. Not mine. Couldn't get much clearer than that, no?

Warren Chisum couldn't even come up with the memo himself. He took it (credited, though) from a Georgia state representative.

Wow. Copernicus and Darwin are part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Old Testament...that was written by Jews.

Do they even bother to think this shit through?

In other stupid news, some librarians are up in arms because a children's book uses the word "scrotum."
The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. The controversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine.

On electronic mailing lists like, dozens of literary blogs and pages on the social-networking site LiveJournal, teachers, authors and school librarians took sides over the book. Librarians from all over the country, including Missoula, Mont.; upstate New York; Central Pennsylvania; and Portland, Ore., weighed in, questioning the role of the librarian when selecting — or censoring, some argued — literature for children.

“This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn’t have the children in mind,” Dana Nilsson, a teacher and librarian in Durango, Colo., wrote on LM_Net, a mailing list that reaches more than 16,000 school librarians. “How very sad.”

The book has already been banned from school libraries in a handful of states in the South, the West and the Northeast, and librarians in other schools have indicated in the online debate that they may well follow suit. Indeed, the topic has dominated the discussion among librarians since the book was shipped to schools.


Ms. Patron, who is a public librarian in Los Angeles, said the book was written for children 9 to 12 years old. But some librarians countered that since the heroine of “The Higher Power of Lucky” is 10, children older than that would not be interested in reading it.

“I think it’s a good case of an author not realizing her audience,” said Frederick Muller, a librarian at Halsted Middle School in Newton, N.J. “If I were a third- or fourth-grade teacher, I wouldn’t want to have to explain that.”

Authors of children’s books sometimes sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph, leaving librarians to choose whether to ban an entire book over one offending phrase.

In the case of “Lucky,” some of them take no chances. Wendy Stoll, a librarian at Smyrna Elementary in Louisville, Ky., wrote on the LM_Net mailing list that she would not stock the book. Andrea Koch, the librarian at French Road Elementary School in Brighton, N.Y., said she anticipated angry calls from parents if she ordered it. “I don’t think our teachers, or myself, want to do that vocabulary lesson,” she said in an interview. One librarian who responded to Ms. Nilsson’s posting on LM_Net said only: “Sad to say, I didn’t order it for either of my schools, based on ‘the word.’

Booksellers, too, are watchful for racy content in books they endorse to customers. Carol Chittenden, the owner of Eight Cousins, a bookstore in Falmouth, Mass., said she once horrified a customer with “The Adventures of Blue Avenger” by Norma Howe, a novel aimed at junior high school students. “I remember one time showing the book to a grandmother and enthusing about it,” she said. “There’s a chapter in there that’s very funny and the word ‘condom’ comes up. And of course, she opens the book right to the page that said ‘condom.’ ”

It is not the first time school librarians have squirmed at a book’s content, of course. Some school officials have tried to ban Harry Potter books from schools, saying that they implicitly endorse witchcraft and Satanism. Young adult books by Judy Blume, though decades old, are routinely kept out of school libraries.

Ms. Nilsson, reached at Sunnyside Elementary School in Durango, Colo., said she had heard from dozens of librarians who agreed with her stance. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship,” she said. “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature.”

“At least not for children,” she added.

Scrotum. Inappropriate for children to know that word. Even the 50-or-so percent of children who have them.

In case you overlooked it early in that quote, this book won the Newbery Award.

And note all these chickenshit "teachers," who are dreadfully afraid to, you know, teach.

For Warren Chisum and these dipshit librarians, I offer a combination of their pet issues: A flattened scrotum:


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