Alaskan Town Removes American Classics Like ‘The Great Gatsby’ And ‘Catch-22’ From Their Curriculum

I wish I could read, I really do. Not in a literal sense, as I’m obviously quite literate, especially when considering the fact that I’m paid to string words together. What I mean is that I wish I had the attention span to do so.

I have A.D.D., which isn’t meant to sound like some sort of sob story, it’s just a fact. Focusing on just one thing is extremely difficult for me. Even when I’m playing video games, I need the TV or a podcast on in the background — my brain must be stimulated by more than one source at a time. And because of this, reading is a remarkably difficult challenge. I can barely get through a couple of pages without my mind wandering off.

I mention this because I want you to understand that I’m not some sort of literary snob — the last book I read was a biography about Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Other than that, the last book I read cover-to-cover was probably, I don’t know, the 13th book in the A Series Of Unfortunate Events. Big times yikes, I know. And don’ even ask me about college.

Still — regardless of my lack of personal connection to the literary arts — I found this recent report about an Alaskan town removing American classics like Catch 22, The Things They Carried, and The Great Gatsby from their curriculum because they’re “controversial” to be absolutely egregious.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison were all taken off an approved list of works that teachers in the Mat-Su Borough School District may use for instruction.

The school board voted 5-2 on Wednesday to yank the works out of teachers’ hands starting this fall. The removed books contain content that could potentially harm students, school board Vice President Jim Hart told NBC News on Tuesday.

“If I were to read these in a corporate environment, in an office environment, I would be dragged into EO,” an equal opportunity complaint proceeding, Hart said. “The question is why this is acceptable in one environment and not another.” [via NBC News]

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was America! Next thing we know, they’ll be erasing 1984, The Catcher in the Rye, and Lord of the Flies. Get your act together, Mat-Su Borough School District.

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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @eric_ital for movie and soccer takes or contact him eric@brobible.com