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This Week in Freudenfreude: The Books Are Risque and the Liquor is Gay

We have an item above about Ron DeSantis' various anti-woke crusades. This item is about the response to said crusades.

To start, we've gotten a number of e-mails like this one from D.C. in Brentwood:

You've made mention many times to how Ron DeSantis bans books in schools. The version of this that I've heard from a DeSantis supporter is that he's giving parents, through school boards, the ability to choose which books are, or aren't, stocked in school libraries. The commentator mentioned that there are no books that DeSantis has banned from the state, and all this is all about parental choice, and does not amount to censorship.

If there's any truth to the above, then it makes your commentary sound very biased. What is the impartial truth here?

It is true that the state of Florida has not produced a list of banned books, per se. However, the state has promulgated guidelines about which content is not acceptable in the state's classrooms. At the same time, the state has also empowered parents to object to books they think are not in compliance, and has also set up sanctions for teachers who are found to have unacceptable books in their classroom.

D.C.'s friend describes things in a way that make the choice of books/curriculum sound very democratic and very community-based. However, the real effect of the laws is not to allow collaborative decision-making, nor to allow the majority to decide what books are and are not OK. No, the real effect has been to allow a single squeaky wheel to demand that books be removed, while also compelling teachers to proactively curate the books in their classrooms to remove anything that might have any chance of being deemed offensive. By the end of April, more than 350 books had been removed from Florida schools, nearly all of them engaging with subjects like racism, gender roles, feminism and sexuality. The impartial truth is that what we have here is a system for banning books that is achieving its intended goals, while allowing partisans to innocently claim it's not really book banning.

People who are not bothered by "scary ideas" and who ARE bothered by censorship (particularly highly partisan censorship) are not willing to take this lying down. And so, there are now numerous projects designed to harness the power of the Internet in order to give students access to banned books. Some of those programs are being run by a particular library system, such as the Books Unbanned Project at The Seattle Public Library. That one allows people to sign up for a Seattle library card, and to check out e-versions of banned books. There are also national programs, most notably The Banned Book Club, run by The Palace Project. That one got a nice little publicity boost yesterday; as part of his quarterly tweet about the books he's been reading, Barack Obama also sent this out:

Obama gives a link to The Banned Book Club

Like The Seattle Public Library, The Banned Book Club also provides access to e-books, but in the latter case it's through their app.

We are, of course, no fan of book bans, except in very, very rare circumstances (namely, the book contains information that could be used to do harm against other people). We also don't object to a collective decision by, say, parents to police the books that their children see. But what is happening in Florida is clearly censorship undertaken in search of political goals. So, we approve of anyone who chooses to use the tools at their disposal to fight back against that.

Initially, this item was supposed to be entirely about that, but late in the day, we learned about something that's in the same ballpark, and is pretty funny, so we're including it. Initially, Bud Light hired trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which angered conservatives. Then, Bud Light threw Mulvaney under the bus, which angered LGBTQ people and liberals. At the moment, we are not sure what political statement one is making when one buys a Bud Light.

At least one enterprising entrepreneur wanted people to be able to make an unambiguously pro-LGBTQ statement with their choice of mildly alcoholic beverages. And so, we give you... Gay Water:

Cans of Gay Water, which make clear that
it's a vodka seltzer

The name's a bit misleading, as you can see. It definitely is gay, but it's not water, it's a vodka seltzer. The slogan is "Enjoy 6.1 inches Tonight!" We assume that is some sort of double entendre, but we're having a hard time getting a grip on which member of their team came up with baloney like that.

Anyhow, Gay Water just started shipping yesterday. So, if you were wanting to send a six-pack to your favorite anti-woke governor or senator, that's now possible. (Z)

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