The criteria Florida used in banning books

I’ve been curious about this ever since I ran my eyes quickly down the over 600 names of books banned in Florida. How did these highly literate guys choose what not to allow Floridians to read?

By the way, all this nonsense apparently has been produced by something called No Left Turn in Education. A no-think tank? Cute name, though.

I’d read a lot of the books, back when I was being brainwashed by my, I dunno, schools? Parents? Peers? Whoever, I don’t recall.

As I glanced at the list, I was thinking, “Huh?” I mean, Paradise Lost? You can not tell me the Official Florida Censors read Paradise Lost. I read some of it. It’s really difficult, not to say utterly impenetrable, so I suppose the title alone tossed Milton out of paradise, a/k/a Florida’s public schools. I think Madame Bovary is really a bore but I do understand why adultery threw it into Florida’s literary trash heap. But I couldn’t figure out the coreĀ  censorious theme that governed this list.

Thank the lord for Harper’s. In its February 2024 issue is what follows. Advice: hold onto your hats while perusing. Also I bolded the one that totally stunned me into uproarious laughter.


From a list of reasons books should be removed from public schools, as updated in December by Bruce Friedman*, who leads the Florida chapter of No Left Turn in Education.

Claims that Donald Trump is a racist

Claims that Confederates were pro-slavery

The destruction of historical artifacts

Harm being done to human teeth

Pentagrams, demons, devils, and ghosts

Sexualized youthful banter such as “spank you very much” and “I got to third base”

A trivial portrayal of the loss of one’s virginity

Excessive risk-taking for glory’s sake

Wealth redistribution

Sexual interactions with aliens, androids, and robots

Mentions of mutants

Mentions of Armageddon

Mentions of Palestine

So why Lord Of The Rings? I just re-read it again and can swear on a heap of the trilogy that nowhere in it is Donald Trump mentioned at all, let alone as a racist.

*I feel bound by my forbears to say, this Bruce Friedman guy is a Jew? A shonda.

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