Richard the Lionheart is best known as England's "Absent King," and for being the leader of the Third Crusade. Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, is credited with inventing the modern American crime novel. And any number of Greek thinkers are remembered for creating the intellectual framework of Western civilization. Now, a California state Senate committee wants one other fact pointed out-they were all gay. Democratic Senator Sheila Kuehl argues that not doing so perpetuates the "enforced invisibility that so many minority groups have gone through in terms of their contributions." Balderdash. If the bill, SB 1437, passes the whole senate, books will be banned as discriminatory unless they celebrate historical figures' least-relevant characteristic-their sexual orientation. Gadfly's a tolerant insect (and a huge fan of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), but classrooms and textbooks are the wrong places to insert social or political agendas, no matter what they are.
"Politically correct history," Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2006
"Committee OKs bill to add gays, lesbians to textbooks," by Greg Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2006