Hey, kids, Jimmy the Fetus here, your guide to moral values in the Midwest, showing us all that what we learned in Sunday school really does matter.
I keep hearing about these schoolteacher women who get caught having sex with their students. Seems like the television always has some story about these teachers facing all kinds of criminal charges, but the news stories never tell me what I really want to know: What kind of rap did the guys lay on their teachers to bed them down? I got a jones for Ms. Ferguson in government like you wouldn't believe.
Here we can actually take a lesson from Bill O'Reilly, who recently schooled us all in the art of seductive speech. I may be only the size of a falafel, but I know good bedroom patter when I read it, and Bill's ingenious use of bathing imagery (i.e., hot loofah love) is pure gold. Now, some of my readers might be thinking, Hey, wouldn't a well-educated public employee well into her dating years be immune to the lubricious language of an O'Reilly, particularly if the unmistakable hum of a vibrator were clearly audible in the background? Well, let's remember what the Bible tells us about the power of human speech: "The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell." Oh, you better believe it.
Got a moral quandary? E-mail Jimmy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Backwash, we were beside ourselves to find recently that we had to click our way past an Internet security checkpoint -- affirming that we were more than 18 years old -- in order to read a book review of Kate Chopin's The Awakening.
For those of you who slept through literature class, Chopin's book is a turn-of-the-last-century novel rescued from obscurity in the 1970s by feminist scholars. Today, it's a staple in American classrooms. The book recounts the tale of Edna Pontellier, a Kentucky woman married to a wealthy New Orleans Creole and cold fish named Léonce.
OK, we know you only want the Cliffs Notes version: Edna finds 1899 society stifling but enjoys the relative moral laxness of Creole resort life on Grand Isle. Edna falls in love with a man, Robert, who is so not like her stuffy husband. But Robert shortly absconds for Mexico rather than live through a scandal. Edna then gets her groove back with a young scalawag named Arobin. Finally, fed up with her conflicting emotions and the straitjacket of her life with Léonce, she ends her life with a long swim in the sea.
Steamy stuff? Well, yeah, if you were born about 130 years ago. The language of The Awakening is typical for the period, meaning the hot parts are hidden beneath layers of Victorian propriety. We can still remember the hilarity of our lit professor trying to convince the class that Edna's brief allusion to being "inflamed" by one of Arobin's kisses was really a subtle admission of an adulterous orgasm.
You go, Edna.
At the time of its publication, of course, folks were scandalized. But our profs made pretty convincing arguments that the novel, a page turner for its time, had a lot of interesting things to say about the role of women in America's history.
But some parents in the Blue Valley School District apparently find the mere act of reading about this book so daring that they require visitors to their Web site, ClassKC.org, to confirm that they're adults before they can read why the parents believe The Awakening should be taken off a district required-reading list.
The site has pages for other books that the parents don't like their children being required to read, such as perennial targets The Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The pages railing against those books meticulously examine them for every fuck, suck, shit and goddamn that shows up in their pages.
But The Awakening?
Apparently, some Overland Park parents are horrified that their high school-age children might be required to read about the fictional life of an unhappy woman who finds an affair briefly liberating.
Backwash put in an e-mail to Janet Harmon, who delivered petitions gathered through the Web site to the school district, but she didn't return our message.
Is The Awakening really shocking to Overland Park teens?
Frankly, we'd be thrilled if the high school kids we knew managed to get through the whole book without moving their lips.
Notes from KC's blogosphere.
Monday I started a new job, at the Bank of an Undisclosed Location(r) doing loan processing in the Capital of Suburbia. It's a totally new world for me, this desk job stuff. Do you know that people who have desk jobs sit in one place for almost 3-1/2 hours in a row? Unbelievable. I'm really not used to this "waking up before 10:00 a.m." thing, or to this "sit still for hours without watching television" thing. On the upside, we all have access to this program called "Watchdog," a product of the Patriot Act. It seems that it's now illegal to give loans to known terrorists, so we have to make sure each customer is not on the government's watch-list as a potential terrorist. And since I was left unsupervised for about 27 minutes today, I decided to check and see if any of my friends were known terrorists. The good news is that the government doesn't know about any of ya'll yet, so get all of your loans before you show up on the list. I decided to see if I could find anyone on the terror list, so I started typing in more suspicious-sounding names into the program. Turns out there are a lot of terrorists named "Mohammed," "Mohamed," "Mohamad," and "Mohammad." I raised my cubicle's terror-alert level to orange after learning there were so many terror suspects named by my computer. From the online diary of a recent college graduate