The Fourth Irony

It may be that only English teachers know there are three kinds of irony—verbal, situational, and dramatic. (It’s likely that only English teachers care about any of that.)

But it turns out there’s a fourth type, which is the inevitable result of the Florida legislature’s passage of a law that allows any district resident, not just parents of students, to challenge any instructional material used in a district school—on such eminently predictable grounds as teaching things like evolution and global warming.

But a petitioner in Santa Rosa County seems to have retired the cup by challenging the inclusion of Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 for profanity and violence. That temperature—451oF—is of course the ignition point for paper; Bradbury’s novel was created as an urgent warning about the dangers of banning books.

So the Santa Rosa County attempt at censorship-by-wackadoodle makes it clear that there’s a fourth kind of irony—at least in Florida, at least in Santa Rosa County. The question is whether to call it educational irony, or intellectual irony. Or just plain stupidity.

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