Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Damned if you do or if you don't notn't do...

I'll see if I can make it though without
all the obvious hipster jokes....damnit.
You see the problem with being principled is that sometimes you have to put up with stupid idiots and their stupid ignorant bullshit. What the hell am I talking about? This thing about the National Coalition Against Censorship giving the Portland Public School Board shrill, righteous grief for dropping any textbooks that express doubt that climate change is a real thing and not a conspiracy dreamed up by hippies. You hadn't heard about this? Yeah, me neither. Where have we been?

Oh, and to be clear, the stupid idiots I'm referring are not the NCAC or the district, but anyone who's still jamming their fingers in their ears and and shouting 'It's a natural warming cycle!' extra loud so they can be heard over the din of ice sheets collapsing into the arctic sea.
"La la la, I'm not listening la la la Medieveal Warm Period la la la..."
-People who can vote and drive
"Ex sciencia, terrore..."
-The Houghton Mifflin
textbook division's motto
Anyway, they adopted the ban under pressure from environmentalists and educators who felt that the district's current texts were full of vague, weasely phrases like:

'Carbon Dioxide emissions from motor vehicles, power plants and other sources, may contribute to global warming.'  
-actual quote

Instead of more direct language like:

'Holy shit, three hundred years of fossil fuels have left us staring down the barrel of a nightmarish Mad Max-ish dystopia, so maybe buy a Prius?" 
-something I made up

"No, by all means, please continue the
debate. I'll just wait right here..."

-Some Polar Bear
NCAC's beef is with the board's decision because it ignores the fact that there's still a debate over climate change. An insane debate between scientists and people who take Veggie Tales as the literal word of God, but still, a debate and one that students should be aware of.

"Purging the curriculum of this kind of material will undermine public education, which should equip students for critical and informed consideration of important matters of public policy and controversy...Students should be conversant with and equipped to address, the various questions and issues that are the subject of public discussion."
-from NCAC's website, hey, do you 
suppose it's pronounced nuh-cac?

That's the environmental lobby for you:
always pushing the little guy around,
trying to save the planet. Makes me sick.
Ok, they have a point. They are the National Coalition Against Censorship and this does feel a little censor-y. They also point out that the measure was kind of unnecessary since the Oregon State Board of Education already requires texts used in the state to accept as fact that human activity is a major cause of climate change. Portland's board's vote, they argue, was a politically motivated gesture designed to appease environmental groups. Which, I get it, nobody likes to be bullied, even by environmentalists. But c'mon, I mean, it's not like they're wrong.

Good luck with that kids,
you're going to need it...
The NW Ecoliteracy Collaborative, the group who pushed for the measure in the first place was just-hang on, Ecoliteracy? That's not...that's not a word. I call bullshit. And Collaborative? Seriously? Could they have possibly come up with a hippie-er name for their organization? So the NW EC was just asking the school board to cut the weak-ass language and get serious about educating kids about climate change and how they can work to reverse the effects and-uh is that even on the table at this point? Let's go with 'how they can adapt to and survive the effects.'

What? Like there's a single member
of that group who doesn't own a drum.
I mean, if we're being honest here. I'm not trying to be a bummer. Anyway, so the NW Eco-literate Collaboration Drum Circle or whatever pushed the school board to change its policy. They did and now the National Coalition Against Censorship But For Telling You What To Do (NCACBFTYWTD) is up their ass and climate change deniers are just pissed that no one's listening to their crazy at all and have taken to Fox News to vent their, irrational, impotent rage about science's liberal bias but I think there's still a lesson to be learned here.

A lesson not about the dangers of censorship or the responsibility of educators to present all the facts, but a lesson about how no matter what you do and no matter how good your intentions are, you're not going to please everybody. In fact, most of the time people are going to be pissed off whatever you do and probably chime in about how they would have done it differently if they were in charge. So go forth Portland School Board, secure in the knowledge that you won't win, so just do whatever feels right at the time.
"...and that's why you shouldn't even bother trying.
Now, who can tell me what 'futility' means?"