something in the water (UPDATE)

Well score one for common sense! The Menifee Union School District decided to return Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to the 4th and 5th grade classrooms at Oak Meadows Elementary School (LA TIMES STORY HERE) after the principal there, responding to a complaint from a parent, removed the tome because an entry defined the term ‘oral sex.’ Had this not turned out the way it did this morning, the students in Menifee were surely to have been looking up ‘sodomy’ since that would have been what had just happened to them! It’s a Dictionary, people! – and fortunately the Menifee School District saw through the manufactured moral panic. If only more people would stand up to the bigots, racists, homophobes and knuckledraggers who always manage to get just enough air time to temper our forward progress as an upright and educated majority. The only caveat in this expedition to Absurdia is that parents will decide if they want their children to have access to the Merriam Webster Dictionary or, if viewed as too ‘mature’ for little Suzie and Tanner, will instead have to look up words in the ‘My Pet Goat’ version. Meanwhile, little Tanner just took little Suzie around the back of the portable to play ‘Mary and Joseph.’

You may ask why I’m so quick to jump on these sorts of stories with such vitriol and condemnation. It stems from my own childhood and experiences with religious zealots of all stripes: they would come up to you in the mall with government conspiracies (corporate branding, literally, and black op helicopters keeping you under control and away from God’s kingdom), or the Christian concert I attended where the singer of a rock band told us we needed to be saved OR ELSE!!!! Then there was the time when the Quakers came round to the Catholic school I was going to (don’t ask me who let them in!) to talk to us about ‘backwards masking’ on rock and roll records. Remember that, anyone? Thank God for CD’s – that was the end of that particular madness. Nonetheless, that night they pointed the crooked finger of judgement at virtually every band I liked: Queen (gay!), KISS (Kids in Satan’s Service), Styx (the river to hell), Ozzy (satanist with a taste for bats, birds and of course the song “Suicide Solution”), The Eagles (‘Hotel California’ and in particular the  line ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’ which supposedly was a nod to Anton LeVay and the Church of Satan)… the list goes on and on… they didn’t actually spin any records backwards, instead played tape recordings of records being spun backwards – which is about as uncorruptible as a Republican with the hots for boys and/or Argentinians. So, with all that, along with my lifelong indifference to anything church-related, which is I think just a product of having always been a thinker, I find myself in the position of having something to rail against and when stories like this Dictionary banning, or the removal of “Speak” or Tony Alamo, Benny Hinn, the Mormons, Prop. 8… there’s a lot of, pardon the use of such incendiary language, bullshit out there that needs to be exposed and erradicated.

Is it an easy target? Sure. Bill Maher was criticized likewise for his film “Religulous” for going after the soft targets, the ones everyone would agree were kooky. I’m an equal opportunity attacker – the Catholic church (the Big One, the Only One, the one that if it didn’t exist we would never have heard about any of this) has a policy of child abuse dating back to its inception. That needs, like the holocaust (which the church also quietly supported), to never be forgotten. There’s not enough money in the world to buy off that much trouble, try as they might. TV evangelists, evil people like Pat Robertson… big targets, and not particularly soft since they enjoy such support.

At the end of the day, though, I live in a city of 9,000,000 people… there are at least 9,000,000 stories here… when I hear absurd tales of book bannings, church-sponsored protests against the staging of works like “Rent” (the cleaned-up for high school version), gay bashing (literally and figuratively), I know where to look: Encino? No. El Monte? No. Santa Monica? No. Beverly Hills?  No. West Hollywood? As if. Burbank? Surprisingly, no. Where then? Simi, Moorpark, Santa Clarita, Meniffe, Temecula, the High Desert, Orange County, San Diego county… all conservative… all predominantly Christian-identified (American-Christian, mind you… those are the folks who’ve been around about 150 years and who have replaced Jesus’ message of love and compassion with one of ‘take what you can, leave nothing behind’, morally questionable behavior and open hatred.)… mostly white… a world all to itself that, as long as it can rub shoulders with the modern one, can be a danger to it. There is no room here for the Dark Ages, any more than there is room in the world for radical Islam’s desire to turn back the clock and live in caves.

This stuff gets under my skin because I feel a duty to stand forever vigilant and protect our great, modern world, the one we’re building everyday: a world Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of. It’s here but it’s a young child and it needs our protection from the zealots and increasingly irrelevant minority that would have us return to a time in history that is only that – HISTORY. Don’t know the word? Look it up… but ask your parent’s permission first.

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One Response to “something in the water (UPDATE)”

  1. Hi there!
    Another interesting rant. I do forget from time to time about how early in your life you were exposed to the weirdos who frequent American culture.Of course, they have always been there and probably always will be. Fear is what drives them and their agenda. So that always needs to be remembered, because a cornered cat is the one that can be really dangerous.
    I am delighted to see you can think for yourself.
    Love ya, pops

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