Voices: Would you show this ‘pornographic’ statue to your kids?
Think the woke wars couldn’t get any dafter? Well, Tallahassee Classical School said “hold my beer”. So-called “cancel culture” just got one step wilder.
Hope Carrasquilla, until recently a principal at the school, was forced to resign after showing an image of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in a lesson about Renaissance art.
Carrasquilla, who’d occupied her position at the school for less than a year, was ousted because three parents complained that their children felt uncomfortable in the class – one of whom said that the lesson was “pornographic”.
I’m assuming these kids don’t have mobile phones… or watch TV, or travel, or visit art galleries, or, well, you know, live in the world. I mean, if they consider Michelangelo’s David pornographic, then I can’t imagine how they’ll deal with the actual internet. Can you?
What’s more, I can’t help but think some right-wing hypocrisy might be showing here, from those who (generally speaking) talk a lot about “free speech” and bristle at the imposition of ideology. It seems to me there is some fragility at play.
The statue of David is, of course, widely considered a masterpiece of the Renaissance. According to Carrasquilla, the Renaissance is required learning for sixth graders. If the teacher has been inched out for teaching what is on the core curriculum – because of the fringe views of a tiny minority of parents – this seems to be a bonkers (and truly dangerous) precedent.
The school board’s chair, Barney Bishop, who told Carrasquilla that she should resign or be fired, said “parental rights are supreme, and that means protecting the interests of all parents, whether it’s one, 10, 20, or 50.” What a great approach to education!
Call me cynical, but it’s almost as if there might be some wider political agenda at play here. But wait… that can’t be the case, because only the woke brigade are about imposing political ideology, right? Whereas right-wing anti-wokers are about the valiant defence of civil liberties and free speech?
But only when it suits them.
Is it a coincidence that Bishop is a “lobbyist, who has embraced governor Ron DeSantis’ educational agenda with enthusiasm” ?
According to Bishop, Tallahassee Classical would be on the “cutting edge” of following DeSantis’s rules. “We agree with everything the governor is doing in the educational arena,” Bishop said. “The whole woke indoctrination going on about pronouns and drag queens isn’t appropriate in school.”
Okay, so let me get this straight: no pronouns, no drag queens, no classical artwork. Got it. Makes total sense.
From what Bishop’s saying, it sounds to me as if he wants to turn Tallahassee Classical into the poster school for Florida’s Individual Freedom Act (aka the “Stop WOKE Act”: Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act), which took effect in July of last year and bans schools and businesses from teaching anything that could make anyone “feel guilt, anguish or any psychological distress because of their race, gender, sex or national origins”.
Gosh, that must mean all arts and humanities are off the books, then.
Apparently, the act is ostensibly there to prevent discrimination in public schools and the workplace. It looks more like a sleight of hand that allows the state to ban anything that doesn’t fit DeSantis’s agenda.
Similarly, the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act (aka the Don’t Say Gay Bill) took effect at the same time as Stop WOKE to give parents more control over what kids are taught in school.
As if this combination doesn’t hold enough catastrophic potential, a bill was also passed in response to the Parkland Shooting, which allows more teachers to bear arms in school. Disempowered but gun-toting teachers and a load of kids entirely ignorant of systemic social injustices – what could possibly go wrong?
The debacle over Michelangelo’s David is the top inch of a gargantuan iceberg. Ron DeSantis is very likely a candidate for the next presidential election and his insidious acts are already causing serious damage to the education system in Florida. Imagine what he could do as leader of the free world?
Ironic, given that in 16th century Florence Michelangelo’s David represented defiant protection of civil liberties in the face of oppressive power.