Textbook Supremacy

An article in today’s NY Times noted the passing of Norma Gabler, woman who with her husband Mel, virtually controlled the content of a great many text books in the American school system. Their close atttention to detail allowed them to severrely criticize not only details that were incorrect but overly “liberal” concepts espoused in the textbooks of the American classroom. I am sure George Bush owes the Gablers a debt of gratitude.

Input becomes our understanding without doubt. I can sympathize with the Gablers sense of outrage that there is a longer paragraph on Marilyn Monroe than George Washington in a history textbook, but I also have to stand up for cultural history. Marilyn Monroe may not have been an important personage on the stage of 20th century history but she helped personify an era. Not knowing who she is will not affect your understanding of the cold war, but you will certainly not understand America in the 1950’s and 60’s if you don’t know Marilyn.  Extrapolate this to  furniture and you will understand my passion for English antique furniture and, by extent, English history.

Power is an interesting phenomenon. First you have to grab it and then you have to hold on to it. Rather like Oscar Wilde’s observation about golf being a terrible way to ruin a good walk, power is a terrible way to ruin a good life. I suspect my viewpoint might be lost on the Gablers, but then I don’t regret that at all.

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