Welcome to Florida, where Michelangelo woke up

Ah, the Renaissance. A period that saw the growth of the intellectual mind, the flourishing of art and culture, and a lot of very violent pornography.

In any case, that’s the opinion of the offended parents of the children of the Tallahassee Classical School in Florida. Their sixth graders (aged about 11-12) were shown a picture of Michelangelo’s David sculpture in their Renaissance art class. You’d think that’s perfectly normal, especially for a school that advertises itself as a classical education. No: shooting. One parent called the sculpture “pornographic,” and it caused such outrage that the school’s principal, Hope Carrasquilla, was kicked out.

To many of us, this may seem completely crazy, but Carrasquilla, a former principal, told the Huffington Post that she wasn’t entirely surprised by the reaction. Every once in a while you get parents who get upset about Renaissance art. Indeed, it is common for students’ parents to receive a letter warning them that their children will see a painting of one of the world’s most famous sculptures. (I believe this is known as a “trigger warning,” which I thought the right was adamantly opposed to.) However, this year, due to a “series of misunderstandings,” the letter was not sent out, compounding the anger of parents.

According to Slate, who interviewed Barney Bishop III, the chairman of the school board responsible for Carrasquilla’s resignation, the three parents were behind the bulk of the outrage surrounding David. Three parents. Three! But the number of angry parents doesn’t matter because, according to Bishop, parents are always right. “Parental rights are paramount, and that means protecting the interests of all parents, whether it’s one, 10, 20 or 50,” Bishop told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Bishop, by the way, denies that Carascilla was expelled solely because she showed Michelangelo’s David to the children. However, he couldn’t fully explain why she was kicked out, but in his interview with Slate he reiterated his idea that parents are always right. “The rights of parents trump the rights of children,” he told Slate. “Teachers are experts? Do teachers have all the knowledge? are you kidding I know many teachers who are very good, but to assume that they are authorities, you are on better drugs than I am.’ In this regard, the question arises: what drugs does Bishop take?

This drama involving David could have been a little fun if it was confined to one dysfunctional school. Alas, this is just the latest example of Florida’s terrible lurch toward censorship and authoritarianism. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been described as “education governor” is waging a censorship crusade, and its first major battleground has been schools. DeSantis wants to completely overhaul K-12 and higher education in the state, and so far he’s gotten his way. Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature has already passed a number of laws restricting education about gender, sexuality and race. Now the state is trying to limit sex education with a bill that bans teaching in schools menstrual cycles by sixth grade. Give it a few years and showing a child a picture of Michelangelo’s David will be a felony punishable by death.

I’m only half kidding about that last one. Because DeSantis isn’t as messed up as Donald Trump, because he’s well-spoken and went to Yale and Harvard, I think there’s a tendency in some quarters to downplay the danger he poses, to think he’s not as scary as Trump. Think this at your own risk. DeSantis should not be compared to Trump – he should be compared to far-right Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, who is well-liked by American conservatives. Orbán created the authoritarian manual that DeSantis appears to be following: it’s widely believed, for example, that Florida’s “don’t say gay” law was modeled after Hungary’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws. “If you want to see where it leads, Hungary has a lot to teach us,” New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote in a recent piece. Those lessons are not pleasant.

Kent Police are not treating rape as an emergency

A police station in Kent, England, faces a backlash after posting a sign listing a number of “non-emergency requests” they would prefer people report online. Among those? Domestic violence and rape. They have now taken it down and made a lot of noise about how they take domestic violence, rape and sexual assault investigations “extremely seriously”. For the London Metropolitan Police, this is not the best moment: landmark report that came out this week concluded that the Met was guilty of institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia.

A Chinese startup has invented a remote kissing machine

One online review describes it as “warm pacifier” feeling.

In other Chinese news, there is a city in Jiangxi Province launched a matchmaking platform as part of a general education initiative to increase the number of marriages.

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A rare part good news.

All hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study

But don’t panic too much. This is reported by The Guardian that “Claire Knight of Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, said the risk was small and should not stop most people from taking the pill”.

Twenty-five percent of black women say they have been turned down in an interview because of their hair

Another 25% of black women ages 25-34 also said they did sent home from work because of their hair. The survey was commissioned by LinkedIn and Dove.

City of Regina, Canada, sorry for the “sexualized” ad

The new ad campaign featured slogans like “show us your Regina“.

A week in peanuts

Is peanut butter a liquid? The correct answer to this is “No! well, technically speaking, maybe, but no sane person would consider it a liquid, so no, it’s not.’ The US TSA’s response is as follows: “Yeah, don’t you dare take it on the plane unless it’s 3.4 ounces or less.” What kind of country, eh? Peanut butter on airplanes is strictly controlled by the police, but in many states you can carry a gun into the grocery store. Absolutely nuts.

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