When it comes to book banning, the beat goes on


Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino wonders, if they’re going to ban books with “explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct, that is harmful to minors,” shouldn’t the Bible be on the list?

A few days after I posted an Around the Block entitled, “Book banning and the American Way of education” (https://around-the-block.com/2022/01/29/book-banning-and-the-american-way-of-education/) the Palm Beach Post published a column by Frank Cerabino, a 30-plus year news columnist for the Post. As someone who spent many years reading the legendary San Francisco Chronicle “news columnist” Herb Caen, I kind of look at Cerabino as Caen with less tittle-tattle and a bit more substance. A liberal voice in the community, Cerabino was recently chastised by one conservative Post Op-ed contributor this way, “I don’t buy Cerabino’s hooey.” Oh, if only my column could become so popular that I could be chastised that way.

But I digress.

Cerabino’s column today, “Book banners might want to put Bible at top of list,” was so in-synch with my recent post that I was moved to write a letter to the editor of the Post.

But first, some excerpts from Frank’s column. First, his setup,

We may have to ban the Bible from Florida’s public schools.

Book banning is starting to take off in Florida, and as long as it is, we shouldn’t leave the Bible out of the discussion.

A national group called The County Citizens Defending Freedom has formed in Polk County to remove books from public school libraries that are deemed harmful to children under the age of 18. [Among the “deemed harmful,” includes,] “narrative accounts of sexual excitement or sexual conduct,

And then the closer:

I’ll let Genesis 19:30 pick up the action from here. “One day [Lot’s] older daughter said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children – as is the custom all over the Earth.

‘Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.’ “That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

“The next day the older daughter said to the younger, ‘Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.’ “So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

“So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.”

As Cerabino opined, If you’re into more graphic sexual passages, the Old Testament has a lot to offer.

And my comment in a letter to the Post’s editor?

Hear, hear to Frank Cerabino on his column, “Book banners might want to put Bible at top of list.” The column was particularly timely, coming so soon after the news of the banning of the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic Holocaust novel, “Maus,” in Athens, Tennessee, where one member of the school board intoned, “Our children need to know about the Holocaust, they need to understand that there are several pieces of history … that show(s) depression or suppression of certain ethnicities (emphasis mine). Is it just me, but does anyone else see the irony in the “Maus” banning occurring in a place called, “Athens?” We’ll never learn, will we? Remember, Tennessee was the site of another bit of educational, Bible-thumping, lack of enlightenment, the 1925, “Scopes Monkey Trial” in which high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating an act which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. Is Florida now not only making Texas, but Tennessee as well, our models for ignorance? I’d say, “heaven help us” but I guess that would be a little disingenuous. 

Here’s a PDF to Cerabino’s full column:

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

3 thoughts on “When it comes to book banning, the beat goes on

  1. Book banning seems to be cyclic. Every generation seems to have those people who can’t stand for others to know more than they do, as little as they do know. But since none of them ACTUALLY READ the bible, they have no idea what is inside of it. And their preachers are never going to tell them, because he (very few she preachers in those states) is busy banning those verses he does not want his congregants to hear!


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