The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion ‘Let’s ban algebra, too!’ adds Fla. legislator who is clearly not three kids in a trench coat

This causes way more discomfort than history! (Astrid Riecken/FTWP)
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TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators are working hard to pass a bill that, as the Associated Press observed, would “prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel ‘discomfort’ when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past.”

“This is good,” added one legislator, in a trench coat and hat, whose voice sounded somewhat muffled, as though it came from around his rib cage. “But it doesn’t go far enough.” His whole body swayed and undulated strangely.

“Yes!” his head added. “It is good, but we need to pass more laws.”

“More?” one of his colleagues inquired, handing him a drink of water. He missed grabbing the water the first time and then poured it all over his face and body, and a voice from beneath his belt said, “Stop it, Jeremy!”

“History is good to ban, but it is not enough,” the legislator said, when he had composed himself. “History is actually way less discomfortable than lots of other subjects, and if we are really serious about ending discomfort, we should ban those first.”

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“Go on!” his colleague said excitedly. A small crowd was beginning to form around him.

“The book bans are good,” the legislator’s midsection went on, while his hands attempted to straighten his hat but knocked it off instead. “Less reading is good. English is a big source of discomfort.”

“Yes!” one of his colleagues agreed, picking up the hat and handing it to him, which only took three tries. Several other legislators nodded aggressively. “They are trying to indoctrinate our youth with critical race theory, and we won’t let them! They want White people to learn about events that happened in the past, which causes discomfort, and we will not have it!”

“It’s not just learning about events that happened in the past that makes you feel discomfort,” the mysterious legislator in the trench coat said. “Algebra actually causes way more discomfort than history.”

“And geometry,” his rib cage added.

“And biology!” his face continued. “The law is good because it sounds like history is pretty much banned, but what about math? What about science? What about the part of science where sometimes they make you dissect a frog?”

“Or P.E.!" his midsection shouted.

“We should have clearer laws against all of those, so that people don’t feel discomfort. White people, Black people, people in general.”

“And pop quizzes,” said his head. “And French. And book reports!”

His colleagues nodded uncertainly.

“We’ve got to protect everyone from discomfort at all costs,” the legislator went on. “That’s the most important thing. That’s what people need to do right now. Make clear laws against any subject that could possibly cause discomfort.”

He produced a list that was written in pencil on a sheet of graph paper that said, “More Subjects To Ban To Preserve Freedom,” which appeared to be just a list of every subject taught in middle school, with a crudely drawn picture of Naruto in the corner.

“Thank you for this,” his colleague said. “We are going to give this the consideration it deserves.”

Another legislator looked puzzled. “But then, what will they learn?” he asked.

But the legislator in the trench coat with the good ideas had already vanished as mysteriously as he had come.

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