Family members have apparently used my illness as an opportunity for a three-day laundry and recycling holiday. An astonishing number of mostly empty milk jugs line the basement stairway, infusing the air with a scent so tangible it nearly masks the undercurrent of abandoned laundry just below.There is a lot of catching up to do. Three days on the 7-up diet have left me behind the curve. Unfortunately, curves rule this season, according to The New York Times fashion review. Also, "breasts are back."
Yeah, well. Yours maybe.
Catching up on world news, I learn that the Japanese are not eXactlY up to speed on the process of gender selection: Crown Prince Naruhito "shared the blame for his wife's failure" to produce a male heir to the throne, the Times reports.
But who can snicker at such foolishness after learning that a cabal of Texas ideologues fuming over history's failure to recognize Jesus' role in writing the Constitution have won their fight to wedge Jerry Falwell, the National Rifle Association and a favorable view of Sen. Joseph McCarthy into middle and high school social studies textbooks?
These are people who believe that stuff like the civil rights movement and the New Deal unfairly overshadow such great American intellectual movements as the Moral Majority. Not that high school students won't enjoy it, but do Texas parents really want to relive the whole debate over the sexual orientation of the Teletubbies?
Among other changes, the group wants students to learn that the civil rights movement "created unrealistic expectations" and that reports of McCarthy era overreaching and anti-Japanese racism during World War II are exaggerated and frankly, beside the point, when you consider the enormous contributions of people like
Thomas Jefferson St. Thomas Aquinas.*
*Jefferson was replaced on a list of inspirational writers apparently because his role in establishing the concept of church/state separation irritates Texas Board of Education members.
Like Japanese criticism of a princess for her failure to produce male offspring, it's only funny until you realize these people are serious. Just not about history or social studies. And even then, it's still more entertaining than the average social studies textbook. The question is, will middle school students get the joke? They don't even notice sour milk when they are stepping over it.
Here is the real lesson kids: American adults can't even hold a civil conversation about social studies, let alone agree on how it should be taught. You may as well just settle in for a semester's worth of Hannity & Colmes reruns. Take good notes. This will be on the test.