Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Why I Am Not A Conservative or A New Reading List 

Human Events, which bills itself as "The National Conservative Newsweekly" has published a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. There's the predictable (Marx, Engels, Mao, Lenin). But come on, Dewey's Democracy and Education? You've got to be kidding. And of course the key indication of where these people are coming from intellectually shows up in their honorable mentions in which we learn that just slightly less dangerous are Silent Spring (silly liberals, you'll rue the day when you decided that you'd rather have nature than pesticides!), Darwin (evolution, after all is only a theory, not a scientific fact!), B. F. Skinner (have these people even read the books that they're criticizing or did they decide that the provocative title of Beyond Freedom and Dignity was enough to make it harmful), Betty Friedan (woman, get back in the kitchen and fix me some dinner!) and Unsafe at Any Speed (consumer safety? That's just code for stripping corporations of profits. Besides it was written by Ralph Nader and we all know what a dangerous force he is).

Not to mention the whole idea of a list of harmful books which at a gut level just seems so wrong to me. So should we remove these books from our schools and libraries. Perhaps burn them?

And yet somehow they left Catcher in the Rye out of the list. After all it has the word "fuck" in it. And sexual situations. And high school students are forced to read it. And it killed John Lennon! (Oh wait, I guess that's what spared J. D. Salinger. Conservatives hate John Lennon. Or is that V. I. Lenin? Who can keep them straight?)

For the record, I've read 2 of their top 10 and 1 of the honorable mentions.

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