Thursday, July 12, 2012

Airzon* (for Arizon*)

I'm really starting to wonder whether Arizona ought to be called "Error-zona" instead. This state simply can't seem to stop making blunders as flat-out obvious as the area's famous topography—from arresting people for "driving while Hispanic" to the phenomenon of pre-conception pregnancy. Some of their leaders appear to be as clueless as a hot-air balloon stuffed full of cactus plants. The latest sand-for-brains initiative comes from a school board member in Tucson who has managed to eliminate the school's entire Mexican-American studies program, based on its unseemly inclusion of books by the likes of "Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa," with Henry David Thoreau and William Shakespeare thrown in for good measure, according to a column by law professor and columnist for The Nation Patricia J. Williams. The school board spokesman boasted that his personal opinion of such literature is based strictly on "hearsay" and praised "Rosa Clark" (by whom he apparently meant Rosa Parks) for the fact that she "did not take out a gun and go onto a bus and hold up everybody." I suspect the forests aren't the only ones feeling petrified in Arizona these days, but there are some rays of hope enlightening the arid landscape. Williams tells us that one "vibrant" example of "pushback occurring against such anti-intellectualism" is a group known as Librotraficante (or "Book Trafficker"), which has been "caravaning throughout the Southwest holding readings, setting up book clubs, establishing 'underground libraries' and dispensing donated copies of the books that have been removed from Arizona's public school curriculum." (You can make a donation to this worthy cause via their website at: There were three copies of Airzon* in OhioLINK today, and 59 in WorldCat.

(Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, November 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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