Banned Books in Arizona

So… apparently, according to these stores, officials from Tuscon, AZ, marched into schools last week to remove banned books. Among the books removed was The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, because it deals with themes related to “race, ethnicity, and oppression.”

It occurs to me, of course, that The Tempest is about the legitimate ruler of a place, cast out and cast down, using magic to restore his rightful place in the world and achieve justice.  (Gabrielle Giffords is recovering but she may never sit in Congress again).

Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution declares:

Section. 4.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

I genuinely have to wonder… at what point does the Government of Arizona become a non-Republican form of government? Because there is a definition of fascism, and the current government of Arizona is doing a great job of signing off on the items of that definition like they were a checklist.

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One comment

  1. There is, of course, a reading of The Tempest that interprets the character Caliban as a sort of racist European projection of native Caribbean peoples, thereby justifying colonial expansion, enslavement of first nations, etc.. This is the interpretation that has TUSD pulling copies off the shelves.

    What’s really going on is a one-person vendetta against “Raza Studies” in TUSD by Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. He’s pretty much orchestrated the entire political campaign against ethnic studies classes statewide. The program at TUSD has been his private target –to such an extent that when an outside auditing firm didn’t return the findings he wanted, he just discarded the audit and went on ahead with threatening to cut funding to the district.

    As you may imagine, teachers (like my partner, T.) are six or seven different shades of livid.

    It’s a little hard to get a complete picture of TUSD’s internal logic, even here locally. While it’s true that district-level administration at TUSD is notoriously hidebound and corrupt, the district did come up with the Raza Studies program in the first place; the decision to go as far as pulling a play by Shakespeare (who would be considered, in most quarters as a “safe” dead white guy author) may reflect some private neurosis pushed down by Huppenthal, cronyism at the district admin level, an ironic symbolic protest, or all three at once.

    Given that the United States has been flirting with various bits and pieces of fascism since about 2001, and given that AZ is one of the epicenters of “ZOMG! CANHAZBLACKPRESIDENTIZAPOCALIPZ” non-thought, we’re all pretty much braced for it to get worse before it gets better (if it gets better, that is).

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