Thursday, October 28, 2021


PMT: Bonkers Virginia


Virginia is electing a governor, and things have gotten weird.  In a time where we are still facing a pandemic, dealing with racial justice, worrying about the economy, seeing the effects of climate change, and trying to figure out what America will be in the future, the people of Virginia (at least many of them) are really worked up about literature.
Specifically, they are in arms about the work of Toni Morrison, who won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize for her novels. 
It seems that 8 years ago some conservative parents tried to have Morrison's Pulitzer-winning book "Beloved" banned from public schools in Virginia. The Republicans in the legislature passed the bill, but then-Governor Terry McAuliffe-- who is running now for his old job-- vetoed the bill. One proponent said that the sex scenes gave her son "nightmares." 
But, really, this isn't a story about sex. It's about race. It's about white kids reading a book by a black author. 
I actually was in Virginia when I read Beloved. I was a student at William and Mary, and Prof. Joanne Braxton had assigned Morrison's Song of Solomon. I liked it so much that I read Beloved, too. I probably had dreams about sex (I was a 19-year-old boy), but they weren't about the book, and they weren't nightmares. The books opened up my world to a tradition I did not know, to a part of the human experience I did not know. That's what literature, at its best, does.
Our nation struggles with race, but it is crazy the way we find proxies for it instead of discussing it straight-up and honestly. It could be that some people-- the ones who pretend their son is having sex nightmares-- just don't want to have that discussion. 

My children, while in Virginia schools, were assigned In Cold Blood. One actually did have nightmares. They were also assigned several other extremely violent books (I told my kids that this was the one time I'd allow them to use Cliff Notes, etc, if the books were too disturbing). I don't remember ever hearing any parent complaints about those overtly violent books. Your analysis is spot on.
Its nuts here. Not in Dark Blue Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria, but just about everywhere else.

The Democratic ticket and staff should be sued for political malpractice. Their ENTIRE campaign is based upon the notion that the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, is a Trump clone. He's not. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the guy. I think he's a phony. He played up the Trump love card to get the nomination and to keep the wingnuts in line. Which is smart, the Trump cultists are the ones who will stuff envelopes, knock on doors, wave flags and VOTE no matter what.

Youngkin has made actual policy proposals and for the most part has run a positive campaign on issues that people care about. As James Carville noted, Trump doesn't care about policy, he's always selling. Youngkin is selling too. And he's a very good salesman. He seems likeable and positive and not angry or mean.

The Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe was governor 4 years ago. You'd think he would know how to win, but he's been caught flat footed on the issues that motivate voters and has proposed nothing. I HOPE Trump fear is enough to get him elected, but its going to be VERY close.

And I had to read The Scarlet Letter. Which made me hate literature for many years.

He does have some policy proposals, and I’m not totally against dropping the regressive grocery tax. He was, though, very late to the policy game— McAuliff had a fully fleshed out website with proposals months before Youngkin. Problem is, people vote on “likability”. And I agree on phony — he’s taking major property tax loopholes on his personal property, while promising to fully fund public schools.
Hmmm... it sounds more complicated than I thought. It is good to have actual Virginians on here!
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