Roger Franklin Editor, Quadrant Online 17th May 2023
As everyone from Chris Kenny to Cardinal George Pell has learned at the cost of reputation, expense and irritation, the ABC, while happy to issue unsolicited ‘sorries’ on behalf of the nation to gays, Indigenes, trannies and other Australians enjoying gazetted victim status, it has trouble uttering that same word in regard to its own misreporting. But not always, as a perhaps embarrassed Mem Fox, author of many, many kiddie books, today has red-faced cause to regret.
Earlier this week, the ABC, along with scores of other media outlets, went to town in ridiculing Florida and its governor, Ron DeSantis, for allegedly banning Ms Fox’s 1988 book Guess What? The author took the opportunity to ridicule America and Americans, which no doubt played well with her ABC interlocutors on Adelaide radio, for her comments were placed high in the ABC’s text report:
“It’s pitiful, isn’t it? It’s like, the Americans keep killing each other with guns and then they do things like this as well,” Fox told ABC Radio Adelaide’s Stacey Lee and Nikolai Beilharz.
“You just feel sorry for them, you just think, ‘people, you’re so unsophisticated, you’re so pitiful’.”
The Conservation also put the boot into those feeble-minded Americans clinging to their guns, Bibles and the quaint belief that little kids really don’t need to be introduced with their PlayDough and crayons to the current Three-S trinity of the Left — sodomy, saphism and sex re-assignment. Author Sarah ‘writerly arty person’ Mokrzycki, of Victoria University (formerly Footscray Tech and Trade School) explained:
The picture book, which invites children to guess Daisy’s witchy identity through a series of clues, joins a plethora of titles – mostly with LGBTQIA+ or culturally diverse themes – that have been removed from school libraries in the state.
Like Ms Fox herself, the academic assumes the book was banned for depicting the central character bathing in a laundry trough, leading her to share this insight:
The irony, of course, is that by trying to shelter children from sex – and from material that “sexualises students” – the law itself is sexualising children’s bodies. By implying that nudity in a non-sexual context is “pornographic”, the Florida government and Department of Education is teaching children that their bodies are inherently sexual.
And it’s all Ron DeSantis’ evil doing:
…the Florida law changes – and subsequent mass book removals in schools – have come in the wake of Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s bid for the US presidency.
DeSantis, a highly conservative politician, is campaigning against “pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into [Florida] classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students”. This crusade has given him considerable media coverage, as well as leverage among conservative voters.
The banning of Guess What? is part of a wider issue that affects the entire state of Florida.
Google ‘Mem Fox’ and you’ll find a broad acreage of similar reports.
And all of them are wrong, as the ABC and The Conversation have today had the decency to concede, although the tone of latter’s just-added editor’s note suggests the hope yet burns that Floridians are indeed as stupid as Ms Fox and her agent assumed. The Conversation has now conceded (emphasis added):
…The book does not appear among the 21 books listed as banned on the Duval County Public Schools website. However, it does feature on a list of hundreds of reportedly censored books compiled by a free speech activist group called the Florida Freedom to Read Project…
Actually, it doesn’t appear on that second linked site, not at all. A search turns up no mention whatsoever of Guess What? The site of which The Conversation may be thinking (and Ms Fox’s agent too) is likely this one, and a moment’s visit will explain how an insanely inaccurate report put on its shoes and ran around the world while the truth was still pulling on its pants. The site does indeed list the 45-or-so books banned from school libraries in Florida’s Duval County and, once again, Guess What? does not appear.
So how did this absurdity take wing? Well, if you enter ‘GuessWhat?‘ in the search field up pops several other kiddie books of the same title, all under the ‘Florida Banned Books’ label at the top left of the page. That label doesn’t change no matter what site search is conducted. For example, a query about The Wind in the Willows, which most definitely is not banned, produces the result below.
Likewise The Itsy Bitsy Spider, also not banned
And finally, just to be sure, Rip van Winkle
As to the books that have been banished from Florida’s school libraries, here are a random few:
Stonewall: A powerful and timeless true story that will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–a movement that continues to this very day.
10,000 dresses: Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. You’re a BOY! Mother and Father tell Bailey. You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!
This gorgeous picture book–a modern fairy tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside–will delight people of all ages.
Two Dads and Me: Celebrate Pride every day with this adorable board book for the babies and toddlers of gay fathers, featuring a variety of diverse, loving families with two dads.
Families with same-sex parents are celebrated in this board book that follows busy dads and their kids throughout their day–eating breakfast, getting dressed, heading out to the park, and settling back in at night with a bubble bath and a good-night lullaby. LGBTQ+ parents and their friends and families will welcome this inclusive and cheerful book that reflects their own lives and family makeup … this is a stylish, smart, humorous, family-focused book that will have babies and their two dads giggling
As noted, it is to the national broadcaster’s credit that it subsequently posted a second report correcting the record.
Education authorities in a US county have rejected claims a book by renowned Australian children’s author Mem Fox has been banned from classrooms, saying the work has instead been “approved for our school libraries”.
This a huge and encouraging move by the ABC, which fought tooth and nail to avoid apologising to Chris Kenny for suggesting that he engaged in amorous relationships with dogs and which has never repudiated or apologised for Louise Milligan’s assaults on George Pell.
Still, it’s a start. Let us now hope, in light of the just-released Durham probe of the Russia! Russia! Russia! hoax whipped up by Hillary Clinton’s operatives and hung around the neck of the Trump administration from the moment he took the oath of office, that setting wretched things right is the new ABC policy. Sarah Ferguson, who is apparently one the very best journalists the ABC can muster, bought into the hoax hook, line and stinker, crafting a three-part expose at unknown cost that purported to lay bare ‘the story of the century’ which the Durham findings have now refuted chapter and verse. Worth noting, just for the record, is that the ABC’s webpage listing that debacle has gone mute.
Let us hope, while not holding our breath, Ms Ferguson will be overcome by the ABC’s new spirit of honesty and shoot a fresh series correcting all the errors and confabulations of her first series.