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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Ron DeSantis and Florida math

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Screenshot,: KXAN News.

I often blame my abysmal math skills on missing a crucial week of long division instruction way back in fourth grade. Laid low by a virus, I never caught up and remain lousy at math to this day.

But young students in Florida public schools will now have an even better excuse for not learning math: Their governor decided it was too gay and reverse-racist.

In his continuing quest to appear as dumb as a box of Indian River tangelos, Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed the removal of a whopping 54 math textbooks used in (mostly) elementary school classes because, he says, they contain math problems brimming with gender issues and Critical Race Theory.

No examples were cited but you can just take his word for it.

Remember when we used to laugh at “Florida man” stories? Oh, so quaint, those tales of various residents who … while NAKED, stole and crashed a police car…smeared poop on a neighbor’s “Be Kind” sign…claimed to own Google…charged cash money for being an alleged  “monkey whisperer” …turned an uncle’s skeleton into a “skelecaster” guitar…claimed during a DUI stop his passenger was an “emotional support python”…wore women’s underwear on his face as a mask when boarding a commercial flight…Ahhhh, those were such innocent, good times in comparison.

We now know the quintessential Florida Man is…the governor. I admit I was thrown off by his Ivy League education and even beat that dead horse a few weeks ago in this very space but readers took me to task: Education doesn’t guarantee wisdom, Florida readers repeatedly pointed out via email.

And then they all got high on bath salts and bit my face off.

Kidding!

I wasn’t all that surprised when faux conservatives like DeSantis wanted to ban library books. That’s entirely predictable because nothing says “I’m A Dumbbell” more convincingly than rounding up acclaimed literature and setting it on fire in the backyard burn barrel along with the Lil Debbie boxes, amiright?

But math textbooks? Whoa. That’s some twisted lowest common denominator stuff right there. Did not see that coming. It’s one thing to denigrate a book full of Pulitzer Prize winning WORDS by somebody like Toni Morrison but MATH textbooks? Seems a bit of a stretch. Because no credible examples were provided, I can only speculate how it’s possible to object to math problems.

But every time I try to imagine offensive math problems, I come up with something more on the order of …

“John and Mary each want to buy an ice cream cone at Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe but John says his daddy says the “e” on the end of Olde and Shoppe sounds kinda gay to him. How many seconds should tick by before Mary tells John he’s a homophobic idiot and leaves him sitting there while she gets her own ice cream?”

Maybe it was more like this…

“Britney’s parents are concerned their third grader may read a math problem that explores the fundamentals of Critical Race Theory, which examines the impact of racism in areas such as the legal system, housing opportunities and access to education. If Britney’s parents, who honestly haven’t read a book since middle school are suddenly experts on a complicated societal question, how many hours a day do you believe they spend watching Tucker Carlson each week? If you guessed “Well, erry dang time he’s on, of course!” all y’all get an A plus.

How about a twist on this old chestnut?

If 100 protesters block the entrance to Disney World because they believe Disney is a cult of pedophiles whose mouse mascot is sending subliminal messages to encourage children to turn gay, how many times will I bang my head on my desk in frustration because THIS REALLY HAPPENED before I pass out?

Nope. Higher.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Her email is [email protected].

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