Apparently Arizona Has Solved All Its Serious Problems
There must not be any serious problems left for the Arizona State Legislature to worry about, because they are presently considering a bill that would bar teachers and professors from using bad language:
In what has to be the most hilariously unconstitutional piece of legislation that I’ve seen in quite some time, senators in the Arizona state legislature have introduced a bill that would require all educational institutions in the state — including state universities — to suspend or fire professors who say or do things that aren’t allowed on network TV. Yes, you read that right: at the same time the Supreme Court is poised to decide if FCC-imposed limits on “indecent” content in broadcast media are an anachronism from a bygone era, Arizona state legislators want to limit what college professors say and do to only what is fit for a Disney movie (excluding, of course, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. After all, those films are PG-13!).
he bill doesn’t even require that the profanity be uttered in the classroom, it just generally says that if a professor or, for that matter, a K-12 teacher, engages in FCC-regulated conduct or speech at all, he or she can lose their job. Of course, even if this were limited strictly to classroom speech it would still be laughed out of court as unconstitutional on its face.
he law not only hobbles the ability to teach about sexuality and other non-Victorian topics, but it also puts teachers in jeopardy for teaching such mainstays as The Canterbury Tales, The Catcher in the Rye, certainly Ulysses, and probably every work by an obscure English writer named William Shakespeare. These days, such a law could certainly make any professor or teacher think twice about teaching Mark Twain or Kurt Vonnegut. And how on earth could you possibly teach a class about cinema studies without showing movies like The Godfather, The Graduate, Annie Hall, or for that matter, Pulp Fiction?
The proposed law would b e unconstitutional for a number of reasons, but that’s not even half the story here. What, exactly, is it about Arizona schools that makes legislators so concerned about potty-mouthed teachers? Things sure have changed since I was in third grade.