Friday links! The kids are all right of center edition

Right-wing Israeli teenagers in shirts that say "revenge"

Right-wing Israeli teenagers in shirts that say “revenge”

Oh, youth: that magical time in a person’s life when one or the other political party shapes the adult you will become. Of course I’m talking about proto-fascist security states that demand ideological engagement in every aspect of life, which is where youth happens now. From child soldiers in Africa to biology students in Kansas, kids are learning which point of view is right and which one is a threat to their very existence. Today is Friday, but I believe the children are the future. Won’t you indoctrinate them in the conflicts of the past with me?

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Close Readings: Randolph County bans Invisible Man

The Randolph County, NC Board of Education: who knows, but on some lower frequency, I speak for like five white people?

The Randolph County, NC Board of Education meets in front of some Successories posters.

In response to a parent’s complaint, the Board of Education for Randolph County, North Carolina has voted to remove copies of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from school libraries. The complaining parent is one Kimiyutta Parson, mother of an 11th grader at Randleman High, which is presumably named after Kevin Randleman. Committees at Randleman and at the school district level recommended that Invisible Man be kept on the curriculum, but members of the BOE—who were given copies of the book to read last month—disagreed. Board Chair Tommy McDonald called it “a hard read.” “I didn’t find any literary value,” said member Gary Mason. Excerpt from Parson’s complaint after the jump.

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Friday links! Futility of reason edition

This picture of a sausage comes courtesy of a blog entry on Russian food. Note the "Made in USA" featured prominently on the label.

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time once again for us to rouse ourselves from our intellectual slumber—from the chattering distractions of what the Buddhists call the Ten Thousand Things—and stand outside ourselves to consider the products of the week that is about to have been. You just want to get through Friday as quickly as possible so that you can rush home and watch the Winter Olympics on DVR until the Winter Olympics on NBC comes on, don’t you? Perhaps somewhere, in the shrivel portion of your hypothalamus that used to feel, you dimly recognize the unsettling irony that this celebration of athletic endeavor and bold living should inspire millions of people to stay home and watch TV. Fortunately, you’re an American, and we’ve just won a gold medal in not giving a crap about irony—or any type of connection between concepts, for that matter. The United States has been a country for a long time now, and after two hundred some years we don’t really need to think about operating it anymore. We go with our gut, and if some pointy-headed nerd wants to complain about the details—”those two statements directly contradict each other,” or “you have not actually read the Constitution,” or “your child needs medicine to live”—we can tell in a glance whether he’s a Real American or not. To paraphrase my junior high school wrestling coach, there’s not much difference between a reason and an excuse; it follows therefore that the only people who need to resort to reason are those who need excuses. This is America, and we don’t make excuses here, as the news of the last week will indicate. Won’t you join me in the complete abdication of sense?

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