This year’s Banned Books List included a few surprises.
The American Library Association's annual report highlights those books saddled with censorious complaints from parents, educators and assorted bureaucrats. Mom and Dad understandably would be horrified to find Fifty Shades of Grey in the elementary school stacks, but some administrators objected to Dav Pilkey's popular Captain Underpants kid-lit series.
It appears some paper-shufflers found the silly superhero too disrespectful of their efforts. "I don't see these books as encouraging disrespect for authority. Perhaps they demonstrate the value of questioning authority," Pilkey said. "Some of the authority figures in the Captain Underpants books are villains. They are bullies and they do vicious things."
We learned over the weekend that school office bullies aren’t restricted to the K-12 world. Two California university professors seem to be creating their own list of books to ban, including any titles that dare question their disintegrating theory of apocalyptic climate change.
Joe Remenar found the ideal spot to retire. After a long career in law enforcement, he bought three and a half acres near Blaine, Wash., which included a nice home and a little room to enjoy nature.
Just a few miles from picturesque Semiahmoo Bay and even closer to the Canadian border, the Pacific Northwest property seemed the perfect fit. "The family really fell in love with the place, as I did,” Remenar said.
Since much of his land was nothing but an empty field, Remenar wanted to improve the environment. Three years back, he constructed a small, kidney-shaped pond, being careful not to interrupt the flow of a stream or remove any trees or bushes. The water feature immediately attracted blue herons, nesting geese and even bald eagles, in addition to snakes, frogs and other local wildlife.
The 1970s were a lousy decade. Embarrassing movies, dreadful music and downright terrifying clothes reflected the national mood following an unpopular war, endless political scandals and a faltering economy.
Popular culture was consumed with decline, especially Hollywood. The Omega Man, Soylent Green, Damnation Alley and countless other dystopian films showed a planet wrecked by war, pollution and neglect. In large part, the entertainment industry was reflecting the culture at large.
In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated — okay, “celebrated” doesn’t capture the funereal tone of the event. The events (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.
Behold the coming apocalypse as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:
Saturday night, millions of people around the globe will turn off their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. to honor Earth Hour. Since 2007, environmental activists have promoted this Gaia-appeasing sacrifice to conserve energy and raise awareness about apocalyptic climate change.
But like many gimmicks, Earth Hour is designed to make people feel like they’re accomplishing something instead of actually accomplishing something.
The whole “awareness-raising” trend is annoying on general principle. Why raise awareness about fatal diseases when you can work to cure them? But what is hazy messaging for a public health campaign is decidedly counterproductive for the professed goals of this envirostunt. Earth Hour actually increases CO2 emissions.
I’m an avowed skeptic on anthropogenic climate change. Sure, humans might be responsible for some negligible shift in global temperatures. But these feeble contributions pale in comparison to those caused by the sun (e.g., changes in solar radiation) and earth (e.g., volcanic activity, weather patterns). I also believe that the climate is supposed to vary over time; this is to be expected, not feared.
While it’s easy for me to poke fun at environmental alarmism by the left, many smart, well-meaning people are caught up in the panic. Some cynical players are whipping up the hysteria to make money or expand political power. However, many activists and those who fund them seemingly have good intentions.
We’ve been here before. A storm bears down on the media centers of the east coast. Reporters don silly parkas, galosh into the tempest and offer apocalyptic sermons about climate change. “Repent! The End is Nigh!”
Because who would expect the northeast to get snow in February — it’s unheard of!
When I mock this predictable alarmism, Twitter lefties are quick to attack my blasphemy. “Y u hate sceince?! stoopid rethuglican!!1!” says an engaging fellow with an egg avatar and no followers. Yes, your piercing logic has swayed my scientific understanding, @m1tts4tard.
When President Obama came to office, he promised that government would solve all kinds of problems. The economy would boom, war would end, and the scourge of crabgrass would never again despoil suburban lawns.
Progressive believers never doubted that Washington could merely snap its fingers and the infinitely complex global economy would snap to attention. Even the ocean levels would obey President Canute.
However, as Thomas Sowell famously said, “there are no solutions... only trade-offs.” Like a half-filled balloon, if a politician squeezes one side, the other side pops out.