Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, March 27, 2023

The avalanche

I always give a grim chuckle whenever someone on the far right calls us liberals "snowflakes," because when it comes to taking offense over absolutely everything, there's nothing like a MAGA Republican.

If you think I'm overstating my case, you have only to look at what's currently happening in the state of Florida to see that if anything, I'm being generous.  The right-wing elected officials in Florida are so pants-wettingly terrified of any viewpoints other than their own Christofascist agenda that they don't even want anyone finding out there are people who think differently.

Take, for example, the school principal in Tallahassee who was forced to resign because she had the temerity to show students in the sixth grade a photograph of Michelangelo's David

[Image licensed under the Creative Commons Michelangelo artist QS:P170,Q5592 Jörg Bittner Unna, 'David' by Michelangelo Fir JBU005 denoised, CC BY-SA 3.0]

David was originally commissioned to be placed in Florence Cathedral.  In, to make it abundantly clear, a Christian house of worship.  But it was soon considered such a masterpiece of art that it was taken out -- and placed in the public square outside the Palazzo Vecchio, so it could be seen by everyone.

But now?  According to the elected officials of Florida, whose sensibilities haven't even caught up to the sixteenth century, we can't have sixth graders see a world-renowned piece of sculpture, evidently because then they'll find out that people have genitals.

Then there's book bans.  Clay County School District just announced a new list of books that are officially banned from any school in the district, bringing the total up to 355.  Here are the new additions:

It doesn't take a genius to notice a pattern, here.  Anything dealing with LGBTQ+ themes (Heartstopper, Radio Silence, One Man Guy), anything to do with the Black experience (Americanah, Notes from a Young Black ChefPunching the Air, and Black Brother, Black Brother, among many others), anything criticizing Republicans (Russian Hacking in American Elections), and anything written by an outspoken liberal (The Fault in Our Stars, Slaughterhouse Five).  

Apparently we can't have anyone finding out there's a world out there besides those who are straight, white, Christian conservatives.

You'd think if these people were as confident in the self-evident righteousness of their own beliefs as they claim to be, they wouldn't be so fucking scared of the rest of us.

I think the problem here is that we've allowed the purveyors of this narrow-minded, bigoted bullshit to portray themselves as the valiant defenders of the cause, instead of calling them what they are: craven cowards.  They are constantly, deeply fearful, afraid that any exposure to a view beyond their own tiny, terrified world will cause the entire thing to come crashing down like a house of cards.

It's pathetic, really.  No wonder so many of them carry assault rifles when they go to Walmart.

When it comes down to it, though, isn't all fascism about fear?  Why would you be so desperate to build an autocracy if you weren't afraid of dissent?  Yeah, there's the attraction of power and its perks, I get that; but really, the desperation to crush all opposing views is born from a deep-seated and terrified knowledge that if people find out there are other ways, they'll realize they've been lied to and start demanding scary stuff like free speech and free access to information.

So to Ron DeSantis and his cronies who are so determined to erase those of us who aren't like them: I'm sorry you're so bone-shakingly terrified.  I do feel badly for you, because it must be a horrible way to live.  But just because I pity you doesn't mean that I and the others like me are going to stand silent and let you erase us.  You want to fight?  Well, battle joined.

I think you're about to find out that a bunch of snowflakes together create an avalanche.


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