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ban everything!

Via Joanne Jacobs:

According to educational-issues researcher Diane Ravitch, the USA branch of the educational-publishing conglomerate Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn now has a "publishing guideline" forbidding their illustrators to draw/photograph anybody writing left-handed. (Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn publishes a wide range of books for school use: including, ironically, handwriting books.)


Muslims traditionally regard the left hand (and left-handers too) as seriously unclean and disgusting; they forbid using the left hand except for, uh, personal-hygiene purposes ... and they DEFINITELY forbid it for such important daily tasks as writing, eating, etc.

This opens up a whole can of politically-correct worms. Will they now ban illustrations of pork and bacon so as not to offend Jewish students? If not, will Catholic students be excused from reading that textbook on Fridays during lent?

Actually, the real question here is this: If a mere illustration offends a Muslim student, what will seeing an actual, live left-handed person do to their cultural sensibilities?

Will left-handed students who are in a classroom with Muslim students be forced to use their right hand instead so as not to freak out the Muslim?

Of course, schools could always go with illustration-free textbooks, so as not to cross anyone with art that could be deemed offensive. Perhaps the child of the KKK leader in town would be horrified to see a person of color staring at him from his English Lit textbook. Maybe a hardcore PETA member will cry upon seeing the steak dinner illustration in their Home Economics text.

Even if you leave out illustrations, you run the risk of offending someone anyhow.

From Opinion Journal (April 22, 2003):

To begin with, anything even remotely sexist is verboten. Banished from respectable texts are such troublemakers as "babe," "chick" and "co-ed," but so too are solid citizens like "actress," "brotherhood" and "cattleman." Women are not to be portrayed as frightened, indecisive or vain; men as too assertive, analytical or violent. As for race and ethnicity, perish the stereotypical thought that Asians are studious and hardworking, that blacks excel in sports and music, or that Jews ever lived in tenements. Subjects to avoid range from divorce and junk food to Easter, Malcolm X and old people with canes and walkers. Nor should innocent minds be exposed to such retrograde expressions as barbarian, egghead, geezer, gimp, heathen, mulatto, Oriental, sissy, spastic, squaw, swarthy, Third World or tribe.

That is in reference to Diane Ravitch's book, The Language Police.

Ravitch's book is an exposť of the politcal correctness that is running rampant through this nation's school districts, how censors with their senses set on fine-tune scour textbooks to make sure offending phrases are eliminated. Some of those offenses?

  • Women cannot be depicted as caregivers or doing household chores.
  • Men cannot be lawyers or doctors or plumbers. They must be nurturing helpmates.
  • Old people cannot be feeble or dependent; they must jog or repair the roof.
  • A story that is set in the mountains discriminates against students from flatlands.
  • Children cannot be shown as disobedient or in conflict with adults.
  • Cake cannot appear in a story because it is not nutritious.

What watered down version of reality do these censors want our children to live in? If the world around them is not homogenized, why should their textbooks be? And wouldn't it suffice to say that if someone is taken aback that an elderly person in a book is shown to be feeble, that someone with a feeble grandparent would feel bad when she sees that most old people are out jogging and working?

No wonder so many of our kids can't read or write on a high school level when they graduate, no wonder so many of them come out of the school system so unprepared for the real world. They're given stripped down versions of life, minus words and concepts that are important if one wants to actually live in reality.

Wait until these Muslim kids get out of school and try to make their way in the world only to find that no one outside of their high school language patrol cares if they are offended by left-handed people; if your boss is left-handed, he's not going to learn to be ambidextrous just for you. No one cares if you are a vegetarian; your co-workers will still stuff their face full of burgers right in front of you. People will call women wenches and bitches, they will use the word retarded to describe the idiot in the cubicle next to you, they will not care if you've never seen a moutain or are allergic to peanuts or belong to some subculture religion where it is against the laws of your church to sit next to someone who wears red on Tuesdays.

Real life is not politically correct. Why set these kids up for a world that doesn't exist? How many passages can you take out of textbooks before you are left with just a set of numbers on the bottom of the pages?

Educators should be concentrating on teaching our kids skills that will enable them to do what is important in America after school is over; make money so you can feed your family, pay your bills and not rely on the government to get you through life.

Nurturing self-esteem and coddling to religious and special interests groups will only keep this country from competing with others in the future. And, it will only turn our kids into wimps.

Let them eat see cake.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ban everything!:

» Offense from Inoperable Terran
This whole textbook censorship thing has gotten out of hand. Drawings or pictures of left-handed people are now banned because they could freak out members of the Religion of Peace(tm). I am not making this up.... [Read More]

» What the Hell?! from Kloognome.Com
I think we're going way overboard on the "let's avoid offending people" thing: According to educational-issues researcher Diane Ravitch, the USA branch of the educational-publishing conglomerate Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn now has a "publishing guideline" fo... [Read More]

» Score one for the Religion of Peace from mtpolitics.net
Now can I officially join the ranks of the oppressed? Being a left-hander has been the bane of my existence;... [Read More]

» Left-Handed Compliments from Interrobang
A Small Victory notes that among other things, textbook illustrators for Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn are no longer allowed to show somebody writing with their left hand. Ohhhhhh, I can't wait to read what Bitchy has to say about this one. Let 'er... [Read More]

» Being a sinistral. from The Ankle Biter @ Quibbling.net
I was going to write about this, but Michele does it much better than I could. I would point out [Read More]

» Lefties Offensive, I Think Not from Mind of Mog
This got my interest http://www.asmallvictory.net/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2573">political correctness taken to extremes. Publishing guidelines for school textbooks are now forbidding pictures of left handed people from textbooks because it might offend Muslims... [Read More]

» work at home from work at home
Let Robert G. Allen take you under his wing and show you how easy it is to buy real estate with no money down. http://www... [Read More]


Somebody should run a study to find out how many of the suicide bombers are naturally left-handed (but forced to be right-handed). That kind of frustration for your whole life might lead to an increased interest in death...

...will Packers fans (finally) be banned from wearing green??? Gag.... ;0)

I'm left-handed.

The Muslim community and anybody else who has a problem with that can kiss my rosy red ass.

flipping the left-handed bird

I'm a graphic artist and illustrator. From here on out, I will only draw lefthanded activities.

Also, if I ever have children, I will NOT send them to government schools. It's going to be private school or homeschooling for me. There's just too much of this crap going around to trust government schooling anymore.


I strongly suspect said administrators are trying to remake the world in their own image, by persuading our kids such views are "normal."

It will fail miserably, but in general American public schools are hardly models of sanity.

What ever happened to common sense? One guy who probablly had a bad childhood is put in charge of determing the meaning of some ancient text in some ancient language and on a bad day decides left handed is bad and thousands of years later another guy whose having a bad hair day decides that to be "POLITICTALLY CORRECT" ... This is Chaos theory at its most destructive.

many muslims react poorly towards left handed individuals. But there is this fascination. They'll stare in horror/amazement as I write something or use it

And you should see their faces when the see a left handed person eat--priceless.

Hold on to your sensibilities, people. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Because the only way it will be able to get better at this point is for it to become completely unsupportable. It will have to collapse and be rebuilt. Or, hopefully, abolished and replaced with private education.

This is really a very interesting issue. Rediculous but interesting.
Thank you for posting this and for writing about it so well.

Does this mean I have to stop masturbating with my left hand? Fuck it, I'll do it twice as much from now on! ;)

How is it that saying a prayer or having a moment of silence before a football game is a violation of the 1st ammendment, but banning illustrations because they are offensive to a religious group isn't? I honestly don't see how that makes any sense. It's like the 1st ammendment is only violated when whatever the government does supports Christian beliefs.
And sadly, Michele, the world outside of school is becoming more and more like that everyday. We have spent so much energy trying not to offend anyone that we've tied ourselves into knots.

This obviously is an egregious example of political correctness run amok, and rightly deserves harsh ridicule.

However, it is hardly a justification for scrapping the public school system. Many conservatives who complain that this deference to Islam is horrendous are the same folks who are always calling for the injection of God back into the schools.

I'm all in favor of decrying idiotic political correctness wherever you find it, but it is definitely not OK to bitch about someone else's religion while at the same time attempting to foist your own religion on the populace.

Heh heh. They do not call us sinister for nothing.

If we should use our right-hand in a handshake, we secretly insult them in the manner they seek to avoid. The left hand, in certain sensitive cultures, is so despised because it is the hand that wipes your... well, you can figure it out.

I meant to add that left-handed prohibition is not only a muslim thing, but also a christian thing in many places until fairly recently.

My wife's grandfather, who grew-up in Tennessee, was beaten by his teachers out of using the devil's hand to write. But that was seventy years ago.

I agree totally Michele. I was spun into a minor fury when my son came home from Kindergarten this year singing songs about Haunnakah, yeat learned nothing about Kwaanza, Christmas, or any of the other big religious holidays.

I'm not sure that anyone is considering the complete abolition of public schooling. The fact that a large percentage will try other options just shows that public schooling is becoming less effective.
Major reforms of public schooling practices, however, are being considered. I hope some of them get implemented - it's too much to hope that all will be.

"Educators should be concentrating on teaching our kids skills that will enable them to do what is important in America after school is over; make money so you can feed your family, pay your bills and not rely on the government to get you through life."

What? Are you on drugs? Ever since the educators were told that they are the ones that shape this nation's future, they were freed from teaching our kids anything approaching reality. At that moment, their job changed to teaching our kids what the world could/should be in the view of that particular teacher. School is the only place where political correctness has any chance of survivng. Reality and the real world doesn't usually check to see if you might be offended by the crap it's gonna throw your way. You know what they say, "If you can't do...teach."

It's one thing to not use terms in regards to groups of people that the general public as a whole find offensive (the "n" word, for one), but banning words like "cattlemen" or "actress"? That's just beyond ridiculous.

If I were left handed, I'd be offened that there were no pictures of me in text books.

There is no way to not offend every person in the world at the same time. Anyone who tells you otherwise is stupid, crazy, or both.

And electricity might offend the Amish, so let's light schools with candles and transport children by buggies...

Reminds me of Barone's essay about "hard" and "soft" America.

"[F]rom the age of 6 to 18, our kids live mostly in what I call Soft America--the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. In contrast, most Americans in the 12 years between ages 18 and 30 live mostly in Hard America--the part of American life subject to competition and accountability; the military trains under live fire. Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps."

Its about time those backwards Muslims get something right. And even then they can't be completely correct. Its not that the left hand is unclean, its that those inclined to use it are subhuman; incapable of all but the most simplistic tasks, like breathing or chewing gum (but only while standing still). The foulest creatures placed upon the earth, far below even the vile Roofers!!! MAY CURSES BE UPON THEIR MOUSTACHES!!!!!

/sarcasm off. Well, except maybe that part about Roofers...

At least they endorse a world where all men are moderately endowed.

Let me get this straight...a particular religion has a prohibition against using the left hand for anything except butt wiping. Okay, fine. (As an aside, I suspect this may have something to do with why there is No Muslim Way to Fix a Car, but that's a whole 'nother topic...)

This group further believes that showing pictures of people using their left hand for various tasks is offensive. Okay, fine.

Now, some person or persons representing this group or claiming to speak on behalf of this group lobbies textbook publishers to stop showing pictures of people who are using their left hand for anything other than butt-wiping. Okay, fine...lobby away. Whatever floats your boat. It is, as they say, a free country.

So this textook publisher caves in to pressure from the spokesbullies and agrees to not show people using their left hands for normal everyday tasks such as...oh...eating, writing, using scissors, that sort of thing.

This would be fine if the textbooks were only sold to privately owned schools. But they aren't. These textbooks are used by hundreds (if not thousands) of schools that receive federal funding.

So here's my question. By using (and thus possibly purchasing with federal funds) testbooks whose content is, in essence, dictated by the demands of a particular religious group, isn't the gov't favoring one religion over all others?

Just askin'

I recently saw a Dutch/ Moroccan Muslim on TV whining about an apostate Muslim MP [the amazing Sonya Hirsan Ali] who described the prophet Muhammad as a fraudulent sex deviant.

This priggish fool demanded she retract her comments before adding "Islam respects freedom of speech-but only up to a point. Once you start offending people the line has been crossed."

And that quite succinctly summarises the Islamic/Leftist view on freedom of speech. You can say anything you like, as long as its a compliment.

Well fuck that.

There should be no prohibition of any opinion held by anyone in any Western society-ever. But in our educational institutions freedom of speech is being eradicated by hyper sensitive hippies who are trying to re-enact all their multi culti wet dreams in public. The bunch of perverts. And as with most Hippies if you scratch the surface you will uncover an authoritarian freak. I think thats why they want to please Muslims so desperately. Birds of feather and all of that.

When I was in university I was given a 13 page list of inappropriate terms that I was forbidden to use in my essays. Their included 'bitch' 'manhole' 'actress' 'negro' etc etc. I duly ignored every suggestion. Most of my peers didn't. By the end of my degree I found that most of them were unable to handle any form of vigorous debate. They were like children.

I decided to test the boundaries during my last semester on a class discussion site. I constantly swore and attacked prominent Islamic identies referring to them as bitches, dirty old men etc. I called other posters on the site [the rancidly left wing types who made fun of 9/11] retards and evil cold hearted freaks. I also attacked George Michael, Noam Chomsky and the Chinese. Pretty tame stuff really but unheard of in that environment.

For all of this I constantly recieved hate mail. It was great. It was democratic. It was messy, but thats the way debate should be. Sheilding people from it does no one any favours.

Hrm. I know there have to be a few left-handed lobbying groups out there.

Maybe the Southpaw Action League or the People for the Equal Treatment of All Lefties (PETAL)?

Hit enter too early.

All that said, those within the realm of Islam who believe eating or writing with the left hand to be wrong are mistaken, and don't understand their own holy texts very well. Using the right hand is recommended, but not a strictly enforced law, as it is a sunnah, a voluntary law with no negative "spiritual" consquences.

Yah, while we're at it, let's not show pictures of people with hair, it might offend a bald person.

Let's not show anyone walking, standing, running, playing, it might offend someone in a wheelchair.

Let's not show them the real world. That's the best idea!

Let's continue the Fairy Tales, the land of Make-Believe so that when they grow up to become productive members of society, they won't have a f*cking clue!! as to how to deal with it! (/sarcasm)

This is just another good arguement for home schooling.

Excuse me, I just realized that "bald" is probably offensive. I meant to say, "person with excess of flesh in the cranial region". Thank you. (/sarcasm)

Here's a picture of me fist-fucking a left-handed Jewish faggot with my left hand in a bathtub full of raw pork while pissing on the tattoo of a fully-erect Mohammed he's got on his belly, (Piss Be Upon Him). We're both drunk already, but when we finished we loaded up on Manischewitz, ex-Lax and Muslim baby-flesh, then hopped in the Toyota and enjoyed projectile bowel movements on the front lawn of our local mosque. We cleaned up with pages from the Koran and broke the mosque's windows with copies of the Satanic Verses. On the way back to the house we firebombed two newstands and a halal butcher's; it was a grand time.

Harcourt/Steck-Vaughn can kiss my sinful, prophetically-goat-stretched, left-handed, Jewish-by-proxy ass, and then kiss it again to get at the white raisins I've crammed up it in an anally arousing expression of contempt for the concept of Muslim paradise.

Hang on, I've got the HTML link for that photo somewhere...


Excellent article. Sorry for the weirdness of the link on the trackback, second time my blogware has done that today. Browser acting funky probably, dunno. Keep up the good writing.

Not sure I want to see Ian's pic... unless they are cute.

Ah yes, the Right To Never Feel Bad. Who the hell comes up with this stuff?

Oh, we were very cute, until the fascist textbook police showed up and threw acid on our un-PC faces.

I tell ya, it's just a hop skip and a jump from Old Christian Glory to B'aathist paradise. There are deep undercurrents of nasty Puritanism in this culture...and one of them has currently crested in the Attorney General's office.

Like it or not, textbooks are power wielded over impressionable young minds. This sort of thing is an issue that should be very high profile.

In fact, I am terribly remiss in not bringing it up on me own site...