The progressive left has gone off the deep end once again. The proponents of free education for all are also deciding which curricula meets their sensibility meter as a sustained attack on classic literature continues. What has been relegated to the burn pile? Homer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Dr. Seuss – and any tome with racist or misogynistic vernacular are on the pansy progressive purge list.
And they are demonstrating a serious lack of creativity; the movement is labeled #DisruptTexts. Why is everything progressives try to accomplish so negative? The entitlement of moral superiority has invaded even their own ranks, leaving hurt feelings and poor grammar littered across social media in elitist literary circles.
Started in 2018 by award-winning author Lorena Germain, #DisruptTexts is a grassroots, crowdfunded, and teacher-supported crusade operating without accountability or oversight. In polite society, they call it “rebuilding the literary canon.”
Germain found herself under the scrutiny of one author after posting this tweet last month:
“Did y’all know that many of the ‘classics’ were written before the 50s? Think of US society before then and the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books. That is why we gotta switch it up. It ain’t just about ‘being old.’”
Folksy style aside, it rankled yet another Young Adult writer, Jessica Cluess, who wrote a not-so-nice response:
“Yeah, that embodiment of brutal subjugation and toxic masculinity, Walden. Sit and spin on a tack. If you think Upton Sinclair was on the side of the meat-packing industry then you are a fool and should sit down and feel bad about yourself.”
Elitist progressive mobs accused her of racism, violent speech, and harming others with her smart tongue and she ended up on a marathon apology Twitter tour along with her publisher. Moby Dick doesn’t stand much of a chance with this crowd.
A Rose by Any Other Name
Padma Venkatraman, an Indian-American novelist in the young adult genre, is one of the movement’s more vocal and somewhat high-profile advocates. She recently opined in the School Library Journal that no child should be exposed to reading the hateful swill of generations of days long gone. Even the Bard was excoriated by Miss Padma, who stated:
“Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”
Huh? Well, teaching classics to kids written by white folks – who as the world unwound were also limited in reading and writing skills – has to stop. Who cares if those writers tell the lessons and stories of their times? Who cares about history? Not the left or their progressive spawn.
If Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are relegated to the trash heap, then so to are the lessons in the writing process, dactylic hexameter style, and an account of the Trojan War. If we have no knowledge of the haves and have nots that F. Scott Fitzgerald describes in The Great Gatsby, will the Golden Age be erased? And let’s not speak of ending the creative lessons of Dr. Suess.
It’s time to end this running amok by the easily offended who lob grenades on Twitter from behind the keyboard’s safety. Enough already. Rebuilding the literary canon by any other name is censorship. Disagree? Well, Julia Torres, another #DisruptTexts co-founder, is famous for this recent statement: “We have to really consider how are we rewarding conformity and punishing resistance.”
Put down the first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird, lest you find yourself on the other end of a Twitter mob.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.