Banning books is like cutting down a tree in a garden: Steinberg


Northbrook boasts a park in the heart of downtown with a ball court, playground, terrace and river – the western branch of the North Fork of the Chicago River. Anyone can, in theory, with a shallow kayak and about 12 hours of effort, paddle to the Marina Towers.

More work for me, more work for meandering in the garden, my wife’s arm folded tightly in my hand. All is well in the world as we roam under the towering old oaks, the young past trees planted to comfort future generations.

But what if everything is not right? Suppose I take offense at one of those seedlings. You may have decided that there are a lot of oak trees already. Perhaps I hold some grudge against the person who was honored on the bronze plaque. Perhaps I am worried that an inept village child might be tempted to climb this tree, for example, because of a low branch, and in doing so might fall and be injured. even killed. The reason does not matter.

So I take it upon myself to go to the garden with a chainsaw and cut the offending tree.

How do you think passersby react? Will they say, “There is Steinberg, a responsible citizen, exercising his constitutional right to live in a society free from the danger of dangerous trees”? Or will they call the police who will take me away to destroy public property?

The second scenario is a sure bet. And I think we could all agree: They would be right. The garden is for everyone, it should not be distorted by angry individuals who follow the random dictates of their restless minds.

Given that, why do we tolerate people snatching books from public libraries? Unlike trees, which sometimes cause injuries to careless climbers, no child has ever been hurt in a book. The harm that panicked parents imagine is purely theoretical harm, and when you think about it – someone has to – it’s pretty ridiculous.

Book signs carry her sexuality so lightly that she’s afraid her child will look at Paul’s drawing and get lost in a different direction. Their faith is so weak that a mere puff of disrespect sends him down to earth in a cloud of anguish. Dozens of cynics could not concoct a darker view of their supposed beliefs than they would freely present themselves.

What is really going on? The loss of society coupled with the golden age of bullying. Remember the difficulty of your schoolyard: Rare is the thug who steps up to a younger child and silently punches him in the face. First there must be a grievance grievance of harm. Ritual complaint. The victim views the bully incorrectly.

Have you ever wondered why the status of transgender individuals is such a hot topic? If you list the challenges facing this country in order of severity, the anxiety caused by a former dress-up boy would so far be at the bottom of the list—far from having to shed a penny or adopt the metric system—t even register.

However, there are many Southern state governors, who talk about it endlessly, pass laws, and create real tears about the danger of youngsters facing a book describing a different life than their parents’.

There is no harm. The transgender community is sitting in that sweet spot occupied by gays – Jews, Italians, Irish and the like – and spread enough to be ready victims without being so numerous that they offer a solid defense.

funny. If I were a novelist trying to illustrate the gross hypocrisy of these bullies, I might imagine them talking about the full humanity of rice-sized fetuses in women they’ve never met before, and how pre-born Gerber children deserve every protection under the law and the brief individual ritual of lettered towels. Then, the next moment, they were outwitting a group of asylum seekers—who shocked me as more realistic humans—who crawled out of their South American nightmare only to be pressured into a propaganda ploy designed to offend the guilty citizens. The sin of receiving strangers, as the Bible urges. It would seem improbable, perhaps even ridiculous, in fiction. It looks so silly in real life.

Now I wish I hadn’t been able to trace the Northbrook branch of the Chicago River all the way downtown. Crossing it in a kayak seemed to be a challenge. Maybe in the spring.


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