I’m Just Like a Hollywood Actor!

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute can’t believe that the Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 school board voted 6-1 to overturn the ban on The Perks of Being a Wallflower earlier this week, so she’s griping about how kids reading things she finds indecent is bad for society and how teachers who encourage students to read these challenging books are political activists “masquerading as ‘educators’” and how the sky is falling.

She doesn’t like the “stronger” parental notification compromise, either, where the note that goes home to parents each year will explain that students may choose to read books with “mature content” but parents have a right to say no to those selections:

For a parental notification letter to be meaningful, it should avoid vague and euphemistic language like “mature content.” Teachers should include clear and explicit descriptions of the “mature content.” For example, in the case of Perks the notification should state that the book includes obscene language and depictions (in some cases graphic depictions) of masturbation, homosexual sodomy, heterosexual teen intercourse, incest, rape, and bestiality.

In her mind, when hundreds of kids read dozens of books independently, teachers should spend their time writing out notes to parents explaining the content of each individual book. Because that’s a good use of teachers’ time… (If parents can’t bring themselves to know what their own kids are reading, I’m guessing they’re not going to pay much attention to the teachers’ notes, anyway.)

But, maybe there’s room for compromise. When Higgins’ church starts sending a similar note home to the parents of Sunday School students, I’ll pay more attention to her idea. (“This book is full of genocide, rape, incest, torture, slavery, hate, polygamy, prostitution, animal sacrifice, misogyny, homophobia, and infanticide. We highly recommend it!”)

It’s the last paragraphs of Higgin’s post that caught my attention, though:

When in doubt about the wisdom, reasonableness, or truth of your position on a controversial issue, look to see who is on the other side. You should feel reassured that you’re on the right side when you see that most Hollywood actors and… math teacher Hemant Mehta* (aka “The Friendly Atheist”) are on the other side.

*Click here and here to learn more about… math teacher Hemant Mehta who has written on the Hadley controversy and oh so much more.

Yep. Me and those Hollywood actors. We’re so tight. We have a meeting at my place next week to decide how to legalize p—whoops, I’ve said too much.

What I can’t figure out is how, of all the postings on this site, she settled on a random video about foreskins from 2010. Next time I’m upset about something, I’m just going to imagine all the words she typed into my search bar before settling on that one.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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