In December, an Arizona judge upheld a state law that bans classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” That ruling’s already cost Tucson public schools their Mexican Studies program, and as part of that elimination, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is being removed from classrooms and sent to the district’s book depository. As nuts as it is to think that the Bard’s story of a sorcerer and his daughter could promote a rebellion in Arizona, there are a lot of other books that could fall under scrutiny if this law is allowed to stand.
1. Paradise Lost, John Milton: Sure, this is supposed to be John Milton’s repentance of his republican apostasy, but what if red-blooded American kiddies get confused by the eloquence of that wily creature Satan? That whole “Farewel Remorse: all Good to me is lost; / Evil be thou my Good” thing could cause all sorts of kerfuffles and uprisings, like those darn video games my grandson is always playing.
2. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens: It’s a short leap from Marquis Evrémonde to Mitt Romney, and we wouldn’t want to invite that comparison, now would we? Darnay is such an avatar of the politics of envy.
3. The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling: This one might be a squeaker. Sure, the hero advocates strongly against the anti-Muggle, Squib, and Mudblood race politics of Voldemort and his cronies. But that Potter kid is awfully disrespectful to the Minister of Magic and forms of authority in general.
5. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card: Pre-teens plotting an overhaul of world government and resisting the efforts of the military that’s recruited them to manipulate them. Total recipe for disaster. Especially now that blogging is an actual thing that kids can do. Nuke this one. And parents, shut down your kids’ Tumblrs just to be safe.