Friday, March 24, 2023


You can search the Thesaurus for a synonym for "moron" but you'll never find a word adequate to describe Barney Bishop III, chairman of the Tallahassee Classical School in Florida. 

This week, Mr. Bishop forced the principal of the Classical School to resign because she failed to block the art teacher from showing a picture of Michelangelo's David to a 6th grade class. 

The school promises "a content-rich classical education in the liberal arts," in order to shape a "vibrant and enobling" culture for students, so you can understand why Michelangelo's statue would have no place in their art curriculum.  

Mr. Bishop explained that parents were quite upset by the school's slip up: 
Three parents objected. Two objected simply because they weren’t told in advance. One objected because the teacher said "nonpornography".... [T]hat word is inappropriate.... you don’t need to be saying that word in a classroom in Florida!
In a lengthy interview, Mr. Bishop explained the philosophy of his school: 
Parents, after they saw all the crap that’s being taught in public schools during COVID, decided of their own that they didn’t want their children to be taught that. Here we teach... a traditional, Western civilization, liberal classical education.... We don’t have safe spaces for kids so they won’t be offended by a Halloween costume.
Sixth grade students at Tallahassee Classical School will not be protected from offensive Halloween costumes but they will have a "safe space" to protect from the knowledge that males have a penis.  There is no telling how many students have already been traumatized by this discovery.


Anonymous said...

I read that ChatGpt satire it was hilarious…wait what?

Anonymous said...

Not surprising. A penis is a bit too “woke” for Florida.

Anonymous said...

The tragedy is that these people vote.


xopxe said...

Haha, I remember I mentioned there's a David replica in front of the city hall in my city... I guess we just either lost or won a bunch of potential tourists!

MORAN said...

The most uneducated people are the ones who feel most strongly about controlling the educations of other people's children.

Richard said...

Low effort bait David

gavin k said...

almost as evil as posie parker, them terfs need to be told what for.

kev ferrara said...

The most uneducated people are the ones who feel most strongly about controlling the educations of other people's children.

Ideology is miseducation.

Roberto said...

The same mentality of the Talibans!!
What a pity!!
Solidarity for Hope!!

James P. said...

For all the posturing Bishop does in that interview about honoring Occidental values and not shying away from celebrating Western European accomplishments, it looks like he doesn't actually believe in any of the values he purports to be protecting. But that's true with so much of this kind of rhetoric. They criticize others endlessly, but then this is how they act.

The appeals to Western Tradition (with a capital T and a capital W), for Bishop and his fellow travelers, are just a way of trying to take their personal opinions and place them on the high shelf, veiled in historical authority, and beyond the raproche of mortals like us.

The talk about classical Western values ends up functioning as a fig leaf for their actual mission. And their actual mission is to be a dick.

Anonymous said...

"If you disagree with me in any way you're a philistine and a moron. Now let's have a polite discussion about the topic."

Veronica Lucy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with the statue. (It's quite good). Can understand why some parents would want to be informed prior to it being shown to their kids, but is 6th grade twelve year olds ? I would have thought that's certainly old enough for non-porn images of genitals in either art or science.
Yep, there's a irony in the ignorance in the story, but the digs at 'Florida' (= really some other political bugbear) are a bit off. There appears to be from some of the other 'anons' a problem with societal & parental objection to the indoctrination of kids in 'gender' ideology and the deranged sex-ed ('fisting', 'rimming' et c.) that some people seem to be applauding, apparently in a reactive spasm to stick it to what they mispercieve (as the same objections are shared across the political spectrum outside the US) as the preserve of prurient conservatives.
And yes, David's penis can only ever be male, and there is no such thing as a lesbian with one.

Anonymous said...

Everyone that visits this site loves art and has no qualms with the naked human form. As adults, we each have our own definition of what constitutes pornography, and draw the line somewhere.

But as adults, we should also recognize our opinions and beliefs are not universal, and have the decency to avoid controversial topics we think might clash with others.

Is Michelangelo's David a masterpiece of Western art? Heck yeah!

Does it NEED to be shown to children? No.

There is nudity, and historically nudity is a taboo subject. It really doesn't matter how convinced you are about how OK it's still going to set some people off. So, if you are a teacher, talking to other people's children (i.e. not your own) --- don't be an over-opinionated jackass. You are a civil servant --- emphasis on servant. Show some other art, and stop baiting those who are more conservative than you. Don't be an idiot!

Also, do not conflate prohibitions with regards to children with freedoms that adults enjoy. The latter can be cultural censorship...the other is a family's right to have consideration of their own internal cultural, instead of being steam-roller by a heavy-handed, self-righteous, (liberal?) mass culture telling them unequivocally what's Right and Wrong (today).

Many pilgrims purportedly came to America for Religious Freedom. What precisely do you think was happening to them back in Europe in the 1600's? The ideological left and the right are not at opposite ends of a linear spectrum, they are on a circle that bend around to meeting on the opposite side of "Compromise" in a place called "Totalitarianism".

In our shared spaces, no single ideology "wins" --- we need to stick to common ground as much as possible. Compromise: Explain art without nudity (or add the stupid fig leaf!). That's what schools did since...there were schools. If that particular art teacher was fired, most likely it's because that teacher was already on a naughty-list for pushing a social agenda (or some other rebellious actions). Because the word "anti-pornography" was in play, it seems likely the teacher was driving home an opinion-as-fact.

Truth is we'll never know --- because the News only reports things in a provocative manner, intended to add fuel to the Culture War. What I haven't figured out yet is what the heck The News gets out of doing that? How exactly does that kind of social poison turn into power or money for a particular news outlet?

Let stop provoking each other and let's also stop being hyper-sensitive. It's the only way we can all live together.

Richard said...

> Show some other art, and stop baiting those who are more conservative than you.

Largely, I agree with you. I would however note that in this case the school shows that picture every year in their 6th grade Renaissance Art curriculum, and the principle was not responsible for that curriculum in any way.

The principle was fired because it was school policy to notify parents of nudity in the curriculum ahead of time, it was her responsibility to notify them, and she did not follow the protocol.

Anonymous said...

Bishop says in his interview that the issue was over informed consent: parents should have been informed ahead of time. I guess so they could pull their kid out, if they wanted. Personally, I think preventing your 12-year-old from seeing David's unit is going to be about as effective as preventing them from ever seeing the Mona Lisa, but that's just me.

The college that provided the charter to this school pointed out students complete basic sex ed, including anatomy, in fifth grade. Certainly, six graders are ready.

To be clear: believe whatever you want. If you think the David is pornographic, more power to you. Raise your kids how you see fit. It's a free country. You should follow your heart.

However, the rest of us do not think David is pornographic. And we want our kids to have access to a basic education, ideally in an environment where educators aren't getting fired over trivial transgressions, like forgetting to send out the David viewing trigger warning. I question the wisdom of a system where trivial parent complaints are treated with so much deference. It doesn't seem like it would lend itself well to giving the kids a good education, because it's oriented around the parent's desires, and not around getting good performance out of the students.

Richard said...

> trivial transgressions, like forgetting to send out the David viewing trigger warning. I question the wisdom of a system where trivial parent complaints are treated with so much deference.

Triviality? Perhaps you like the current curricula in our schools, but you won't necessarily always, and it behooves you to support parental education rights even when your team is controlling the levers of pedagogy.

At the current trajectory, for example, many European countries will become majority Muslim in 100 years. Are there ideas considered trivial in Saudi Arabia that you disagree with?

Or look here in the US. Moderate Protestants, Non-religious, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and non-denominational Americans have sub-replacement birth rates. Catholics, Born-Agains and Mormons have significantly higher than replacement birth rates. This suggests that the US eventually becomes much more religious due to this stark difference in birthrates.

What you consider trivial, and what this new majority will consider trivial may differ dramatically. Enshrining parental educational rights as a core tenant in our society should be the goal of anyone dedicated to a free-thinking public.

chris bennett said...

Two sides of the same coin:

1). The likes of Mr Bishop firing one of his staff because they neglected to issue the mandated trigger warning to parents about showing a representation of nudity in the classroom.

2). 'Pride Month', where individuals are permitted to 'celebrate' in public display within an organized carnival context their sexual practices such as bondage and sadomasochism, and deemed acceptable for children to watch in the name of education in practices of a 'progressive' society.

So what is this coin?
Puritanism - dogma intsrumentalized by a materialist, reductionist, mechanised, post-modern society to supply a menu of relativist values in replacement of what it has declared to be a delusion; the existence of the sacred meaning shared by all things.

Laurence John said...

Anon: "Not surprising. A penis is a bit too “woke” for Florida."

Not at all.

A penis could be seen as a symbol of 'white, male patriarchal oppression' which dominates Western Art, a colonising force, a weapon of rape etc. if viewed from the standpoint of certain 'woke / progressive' ideologies.

In a different context (such as a Gay Pride rally) it could be spun as a symbol of anti-homophobic acceptance, or kink-celebration.

From a Conservative Christian point of view, it could be seen as a celebration of the male side of the body beautiful, as designed by God.

From a 'trans' point of view a penis is just an outward sign of a historically agreed upon male/female division, which doesn't really exist, and is therefore alterable according to inner 'truth'.

Choose your ideology. Pick your symbolism to suit.

Wes said...

"Not at all"

You are quite correct.

I consider a penis non-ideological, but others may see it as weaponized, celebratory, obscene, etc., as you note. One may sanction the penis in both senses of the term sanction. I doubt the religious zealots of Florida saw it the body beautiful of God's handiwork, but rather found it an instrument of the standard progressive-liberal avant garde doing what it does best -- insisting on its futuristic notion of a good society. One does tire of the idiotic seesaw between the warring camps. How would a truly civilized society view David's genitalia?

Anonymous said...

Prepubescent girls don't need to see adult male genitalia to be culturally educated. That the zealously progressive morons who run the schools can't wait until after puberty to show this particular sculpture demonstrates how oblivious they are to the beauty and sanctity of childhood innocence.

There are countless works of art that are PG-13. (For 13 and up with Parental Guidance Suggested.) Until children are 13 it is reasonable to give them G rated material. If you want to show adult male genitals to your underage daughters in the privacy of your home or at a museum, that's your business. Unless it becomes the business of Child Services.

chris bennett said...

Michelangelo's David was a public sculpture that could be seen by all citizens, children and adults alike. And this took place within one of the greatest periods of human history.

chris bennett said...

Which was before the so-called Enlightenment.

Richard said...

> could be seen by all citizens, children and adults alike.

Which is presumably why the statute originally had a golden loincloth.

Richard said...

Y’all might like this show —

David Apatoff said...

We seem to be having a 21st-century debate over Renaissance art, using 18th century vocabularies to talk about biblical morals.

For those alarmed about young girls viewing a penis, I'm afraid that ship has already sailed. Any girl can see multiple images of penises on the nearest cell phone, despite anything their parents or teachers or the sheriff might do to prevent it. Often those penises are in the most gnarly or extreme situations, and technology will only make access easier (or more unavoidable) in the future. If that's the case, Michelangelo’s lovely, poetic treatment of the subject might serve the valuable function that art so often serves: helpful leavening for our concept of the body.

We all try to protect our children as long as we can, and hope that we aren't protecting them too much. But if it's any consolation, remember that in biblical times, girls married at ages 12 to 14, and as recently as 1753 girls legally married without parental consent at age 12 in the US and UK. Somehow, civilization persisted.

As for the risible Barney Bishop III, I view his parental protestations in the larger context of the epidemic of censorship sweeping Florida schools. The parents who want to protect their children from Michelangelo's sculpture are the same kind of parents who want school books changed to protect their children from the knowledge that Rosa Parks was an African American. I wish these parents were a little more interested in protecting their children from assault weapons.

Richard said...

> For those alarmed about young girls viewing a penis, I'm afraid that ship has already sailed. Any girl can see multiple images of penises on the nearest cell phone

This is why we need the assault weapons

MORAN said...

You're going to shoot a phone?

Anonymous said...

Children are in a mental health crisis. Particularly young girls. They've got tiktok and social media destroying their sense of self worth and attention spans, they've got pornography coming at them, and intensely negative and delusional political propaganda. They're suffering from depression, anorexia, myopia and migraines at an increasingly early age.

"Oh well, guess that childhood innocence thing has sailed." An obscene and grotesque stance.

If San Francisco Values are spreading via phones, then maybe they do need to be destroyed. And maybe a few demoralized people need to be slapped in the face in the meantime.

Richard said...

Shoot the phone, shoot the penis, guns can send the British packing

Anonymous said...

Left out the comment ?
Don't want your sidemouthed support for the dodgy books highlighted I guess.
But the context for your remarks already there in the thread, and the references to the wider events and discussioms are already apparent to everyone.

There's a world outside the US, remember - & nobody in it believes that safeguading kids from graphic descriptions of perverted, eccentric sex acts, or advice on how to use hook-up apps, is the same as US gun-fetishism or the daft prudery towards David's member.