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[COMMENTARY] TX Lawmaker Wants to Remove 850 Books That ‘Might Cause Discomfort’ From Public Schools & Libraries

[COMMENTARY] TX Lawmaker Wants to Remove 850 Books That ‘Might Cause Discomfort’ From Public Schools & Libraries

The state of Texas continued its descent into fully becoming Gilead by suggesting the government should be making literary decisions for kids of all ages in Texas public schools. Republican lawmakers have already been so helpful in deciding that all unwanted pregnancies should be carried to term while cutting public assistance programs, why not add to the dumbing down of society by taking away all of the challenging book learning?

One Texas Republican lawmaker running for state attorney general has drawn up a list of 850 books on subjects ranging from racism to sexuality that could “make students feel discomfort,” and is demanding that school districts across the state report whether any are in their classrooms or libraries. The subtext of that statement is that there’s a guy out there who doesn’t like it when books make him think or feel things, so nobody else should have to deal with all of that icky stuff, neither.


State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Ft Worth), who chairs the state’s House Committee on General Investigating (yes, that’s really a thing, and yes, I stopped writing for a minute to laugh out loud at it, as the kids say), also directed the districts to identify “any other books” that could cause students “guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

All of which makes this avid reader wonder which Judy Blume book scarred Matt Krause as a kid to make him grow up into the Texas version of a Commander overseeing his district.

But setting the “Handmaid’s Tale” jokes aside, Krause is suggesting blatantly erasing a whole lot of literary history along with essentially all American history that doesn’t make white people look awesome. Krause is nothing if not thorough, offering sixteen full pages of titles that he finds too scary to exist out in the world where perhaps a delicate slip of a girl might be corrupted if she dares even touch a copy of “Beloved” or the Ruby Bridges story.

The joy of reading is one that’s already been co-opted by the internet skim, but while there are still such things as libraries and kids wanting to read, the GOP needs to leave them alone. It’s bad enough they want to dictate what goes on inside a woman’s uterus; now they’re aiming to control her brain, too.

(We’re not saying men don’t read, but it seems to me that whenever the GOP is looking to control something, it’s always women-centric. Show me where on the Texas books is the law controlling the male reproductive system? I can wait.)

But ANYWAY, censorship only makes people want to get their hands on what you don’t want them to see, so maybe this will have the usual reverse effect that the GOP intends, so that more teenagers–so naturally rebellious to begin with–will be crossing picket lines to hit up the library and will be reading more books. Because nothing scares the GOP more than an educated population.

In the meantime, somebody please send Matt Krause a copy of “Caste” and tell him to write up a full report.

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