Wednesday, April 30

In trying to promote such ideal worlds, censors on the right and left often end up demanding texts that are not realistic, as any child, exposed to television, pop music and the daily hubbub of real life can plainly see. When it comes to the teaching of literature, it can reduce the ambiguities and complexities of art into simplistic social and political messages; it can result in the rejection of classic texts and good writing in favor of boring works, calculated to offend and stimulate no one; and it can result in the selection of works deemed "relevant" to students, instead of works that might broaden their outlook and introduce them to new worlds. Diane Ravitch paints a picture of "The Language Police" in her book of the same name. (NYT: user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)