Stream songs, read books are political statements this week

Parents are urged to report teachers who teach “objectionable” material.

It may be the information age, but there have never been more questions about who can get what information and from where.

Here is a group of stories from this week.

Spotify picks Joe Rogan after Neil Young’s ultimatum

Earlier this month, a group of scientists and medical professionals asked Spotify to label a podcast by Joe Rogan as misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. This week, Neil Young, in a now-deleted post on his website, told the streaming service he could stream his music or Rogan’s podcast.

Spotify chose Rogan and, at Young’s request, removed his music.

“We have detailed content policies in place and have removed over 20,000 covid-19-related podcast episodes since the pandemic began,” Spotify said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to see him again soon.”

The streamer is Rogan’s exclusive platform after a 2020 deal worth $100 million.

At a time when other artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are profiting from the rights to their music, Young is using his to fight misinformation.

Holocaust novel ‘Maus’ removed from school district

A school district in Tennessee has removed the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” from classrooms.

The book, which is excellent, tells hard truths about the Holocaust by turning Nazis into cats and Jews into mice.

Among the things council members found objectionable were foul language — the word “damn” — and a single small nudity image, in which author Art Spiegelman depicts his mother after she cuts herself wrists in a bathtub.

“Being in schools, educators and the like, we don’t need to enable or promote this stuff,” McMinn County School Board member Tony Allman said, according to the minutes of the meeting. a January 10 school board meeting. “It shows people hanging, it shows them killing children, why is the education system promoting this stuff, it’s not wise or healthy.”

After anti-vaccine activists once again compared public health efforts to Nazi actions recently, now may not be the time to stop teaching about the Holocaust.

Public support for “Maus” was evident when the book sold out on Amazon after outcry over the school board’s decision.

“It smacks of autocracy and fascism,” Spiegelman told CNN’s “New Day” show on Thursday. “And there is a real problem with asking parents to be on board to decide what to teach children. The values ​​are too far removed from those that I can recognize to see how they got there. “

A trend in the classroom

While the immediate effect is renewed support for “Maus,” the Tennessee school board’s decision isn’t one-time.

Removing “Maus” from the curriculum is in line with the decision by some US states to restrict how schools teach gender-related courses.

In particular, the graphic novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe, is the subject of numerous local and statewide debates on what children should have access to in schools.
Often book bans are reversed, as in the districts of Pennsylvania and Virginia. But efforts continue elsewhere.

Inform teachers

Controversy over how to teach sex and gender has been accompanied by uproar over how to teach race and the history of slavery.

A Brookings Institution Review Last year found nine states that have passed laws aimed at restricting critical race theory and nearly 20 others considering these laws.

Critical Race Theory is not an official curriculum taught in American schools, but it has still become cause celebre on the right.

Newly inaugurated Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin — a Republican who is fighting school districts that have refused to comply with his executive order against mandatory classroom masking — has set up an email advice line for parents to inform teachers they feel are acting “inappropriately” and teaching “dividing” material.

Parents and students are basically encouraged report on teachers to the state. The implication is that teachers cannot be trusted.

Broadcasting a podcast for profit is not the same as teaching a language or history course. But this week, just playing a song or reading a book feels like a political statement.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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