THE DOCTOR IS IN – I am not a fan of silencing one side or another when it comes to literature, free speech, race, religion, and politics.
The same Hollywood and Big Media folks who used to decry the Cancel Culture of the Red Scare of the 1950's are now engaged in a full-throttle Cancel Culture of Wokeism that is no different, and just as awful, as what happened in the 1950's.
We can talk all we want about the double standard of Whoopi Goldberg and Roseanne Barr, both brilliant comedians who in their heyday made Americans laugh, cry, and raise awareness of certain issues to the betterment of the nation, and we can talk all we want about the censorship of important pieces of American literature from the Left and Right.
But first things first: Cancel Culture and Censorship from the Left is no more or less abhorrent than the Cancel Culture and Censorship from the Right. They are both horrible, and are both to be fought and minimized in a free nation and culture such as we claim for our United States.
Maus is a great book, an important book, and worthy of the Pulitzer Prize--it described the horrors of Nazism (and I mean REAL Nazism, not the misuse of the word and terminology that we throw around far too much at political leaders we don't like or agree with), and the experiences that you and I will probably never, EVER have to endure.
Right-wing educators in Tennessee banning Maus? Terrible, awful.
We can talk about the proper age for children to learn about unpleasant and jarring realities of our past and present, and to avoid them for the future (think The Diary of Anne Frank, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World,Invisible Man, Things Fall Apart and 1984), but sooner or later our children absolutely MUST know about those realities and concerns before they reach adulthood.
Otherwise, they'll be forever closed-minded, and not really, truly and comprehensively the adults we want them to be.
Fortunately, the outrage over the banning of Maus has in Tennessee has exploded into a mass interest and purchase of this book, and that book is now being put into the hands of more readers.
Because free societies, to their credit, do NOT tolerate Censorship or Cancel Culture.
And for those who lean Left or Liberal decrying those evil Right-Wingers or Conservatives who idiotically banned Maus because of violence, nudity, or the like?
You're no better. Not one whit better. Not one iota better.
Unless of course, you're just as outraged about Huckleberry Finn being banned even in our own modern day. That book was banned in 1885 because of that era's mass denial of the horrors of slavery and the friendship of a white boy and an escaped slave...but it's now banned because of the use of the "N-word"?
Insane. Criminally insane. And it's work of idiots who want to stick their heads in the sand no more than those who banned Huckleberry Finn in 1885.
How about banning To Kill A Mockingbird , which like Huckleberry Finn is about as anti-racist and anti-slavery as any book ever written because of their use of "racial slurs"?
Insane. Criminally insane. And it's the work of idiots who are more likely to PROMOTE racial division, if not downright RACISM than any act of a violent radical of either political extreme.
We can and must do better. Maus and Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird absolutely MUST be read by our nation's children, either in middle school and/or high school.
So perhaps we need to educate the educators. Because their Censorship and Cancel Culture is making our nation evermore uneducated.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 9, years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees for 10 years. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)