It is profoundly disturbing to have to write those words, “Investigation for running a Disney movie.” I don’t even know how to digest that. Elements of this nation have gone so far off the rails that we are seeing a dystopian, Twilight-Zonian rush to condemnation and judgment.
At a Hernando County School Board meeting Tuesday, fifth-grade teacher Jenna Barbee alleged school board member Shannon Rodriguez reported her to the Florida Department of Education for showing her students Disney’s 2022 movie “Strange World.” It’s the first Disney movie with an openly gay character.
Barbee, a teacher at Winding Waters K-8, said during public comment the Disney movie tied into her students’ Earth science lesson and did not have sexually inappropriate content.
“The word indoctrination is thrown around a lot right now, but it seems that those who are using it are using it as a defense tactic for their own fear-based beliefs without understanding the true meaning of the word,” Barbee said.
Shannon Rodriguez is a reactionary propelled by the extremists in a group called “Moms for Liberty” which is a right-wing group that would be more accurately titled, “Moms Who Live for Telling Others What To Do.” Here are some of the greatest worst hits from “Opression Records.”
In Pennsylvania, the leader of a local Moms for Liberty chapter allegedly hijacked a dead woman’s Facebook page to harass her enemies, including using the N-word and saying they should hang from a noose. In Arkansas, the head of communications of the Lonoke County chapter said that librarians should be “plowed down with a freaking gun.” In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a member of a local Moms for Liberty chapter harassed an opposing group, threatened to report them for child abuse, and called them “pedophile sympathizers.” In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, police had to be called to a school board meeting after members of Moms for Liberty accused attendees of being “groomers” and wanting to show explicit pictures to children. In Charleston, South Carolina, a Moms for Liberty-affiliated member of the local school board publicly stated he would show up at his son’s teacher’s doorstep with a gun if the teacher came out as transgender.
So what is it that Strange World is about? Well, why don’t we ask Disney.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-packed comedy adventure, “Strange World,” introduces us to three generations of the legendary Clade family as they attempt to band together and navigate an uncharted, treacherous land beneath their world. The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, who secretly stows away in search of the adventure he’s always wanted; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher’s partner in all things; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia’s fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world. “Strange World” is helmed by director Don Hall and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen, and produced by Roy Conli.
All of this underscores the poisonous movement towards making any group they disapprove feel less than, if not outright terrorized. Moms for Liberty has decided what is right, what is wrong, what is moral, what should be allowed, and very concerningly, who should be allowed. Who should be allowed to live freely, and to live among them.
Rod Serling would probably not have a career today, because his scripts are already in newspaper headlines all over the nation.
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