Was it really just the beginning of this year that conservatives were all over the place whining about how cancel-culture was ruining Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head? And now, GOP VA gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin is hoping to win his race by featuring the "powerful story" of....
A book-banner, Laura Murphy. Her nearly-college age son was assigned a book in his AP English class which he totally could have opted out of reading, but because it gave him bad dreams (so the story goes) she wanted to have a talk with, uh. The manager of books, I guess. Which is all around a really weird reaction to a Pulitzer prize winning novel that is often read in high school classrooms, but probably wasn't really written for young Blake. Or at least, not specifically, and maybe that's what really ground Ms. Murphy's gears.
Now, the lad was hardly scarred for life by the book, but I don't know. Having his mommy tell everyone he was reduced to night terrors to promote a political agenda feels like he may have other issues in his life. But let's say the book truly did disturb him--what is a parent to do?
How about: talk to your kid? See, this is what bothers me about the whole "anti-CRT" movement as well while we're here. You are raising kids to be adults that will live in a real world where bad things happen. Schools can provide a place of physical safety, but they can't always protect from emotional discomfort. Of course, history and literature have tragic and uncomfortable aspects. But if a parent wants to guide their kid, instead of limiting exposure to difficult topics, how about--talking to them!
But back to the irony--well, there isn't any, really. Youngkin is just reaching for culture war content in the hopes that it nails the race down for him. Sure, you could infer that there's something a little hypocritical about conservatives decrying cancel culture and complaining about woke snowflakes who need safe spaces, when actually, conservatives are fine with cancelling content that makes them uncomfortable and impinges on the safe spaces of white privilege. But that would just be critical thinking on your part.
The culture war wants nothing to do with that, thank you. And unfortunately, an ad where McAuliffe is the bad guy for not sparing young Blake and his concerned mom from the horrors of the icky book might even be sadly effective. I think it's pitiful, because this tells you nothing about Youngkin--other than he thinks this is a winning message, but as policy, it amounts to "Something something schools, something something, I'll let parents pick what books we don't teach." Which honestly doesn't seem ideal at all.