News & Politics

Was Ancient Greek Poet Homer a Civil War General? He Just Got Canceled in a Mass. School

Odysseus, from the epic poem "The Odyssey." Image from Wikipedia.

Remember when the cancel-culture warriors lied that they were just interested in taking down Civil War generals and the symbols of the Confederacy?

As if toppling statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln didn’t give that game away, now they’ve reached back thousands of years and targeted Homer. Not Homer Simpson, but the OG Homer who lived in the 5th century B.C. and wrote “The Odyssey.”

A Massachusetts school canceled him because he’s a dead white guy who lived more than 70 years ago.

Their ethos holds that children shouldn’t have to read stories written in anything other than the present-day vernacular—especially those “in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,” as young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman writes in School Library Journal. No author is valuable enough to spare, Ms. Venkatraman instructs: “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”

A young-adult novelist should never be empowered to dictate what the rest of us and our kids are allowed to read and study. Her mentality is dangerous and it’s rapidly destroying education and will soon endanger lives.

Outsiders got a glimpse of the intensity of the #DisruptTexts campaign recently when self-described “antiracist teacher” Lorena Germán complained that many classics were written more than 70 years ago: “Think of US society before then & the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books.”

Evidently this teacher had time to announce her intent to indoctrinate on a website but hasn’t read these books and knows nothing of what’s in them. Homer wrote long before “US society” even existed. “US society” itself didn’t originate racism, it inherited it, and through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution lit the fuse to destroy it. How can an educator not know this?

The United States after the Civil War was well on its way to destroying racism as much as it can be, until racist Democrat President Woodrow Wilson resurrected the Klan, re-segregated the federal workforce, and Democrats enacted Jim Crow laws on his watch. The Democrats set racial progress back decades, deliberately.

For some reason, this history doesn’t come up in any #DisruptTexts conversations. There are no discussions of canceling the Democratic Party over its proven support of slavery and its proven racist past.

Where do we go from here? The WSJ story points out that when one person, author Jessica Cluess, courageously pushed back as a #DisruptTexts ideologue accused Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter) of “slut shaming,” she got mobbed and was forced to do a public online struggle session to denounce herself. The mob went after her book publisher, and got her agent to sever his business relationship with her. The mob won, education lost. Homer got kicked out of school.

“Hahaha,” replied Heather Levine, an English teacher at Lawrence (Mass.) High School. “Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!”

“Hahaha…” There’s nothing funny about any of this.

On her LinkedIn page, Levine admits:

I am dedicated to the practices of anti-racist and trauma-informed education, recognizing and working to dismantle the systemic issues that live on in our public education system. (emphasis added)

That’s not education. It’s political indoctrination. When the WSJ questioned her, though, she clammed up, calling the questioning “invasive.”

It should be. Levine and her allies have no right to do what they’re doing to kids. None. They should face invasive questions over it, and then be strongly encouraged to stop it or find other work.

Cancel Culture Comes for a 15-Year-Old Girl, Helped by the NYT and the Univ. of Tennessee