The teacher suspended for that Ben Franklin quote is a big fan of the Confederacy…
2:03 PM EST on December 9, 2014
The Art of Manliness reader pictured above is Steven Alcorn. He was recently suspended from his teaching duties at Marlow High School for posting a Benjamin Franklin quote in his classroom.
For the first time, a Marlow High School history teacher is speaking out about his suspension over a small poster in his classroom.
Steven Alcorn is now facing a termination hearing in front of the school board over a quote by Benjamin Franklin. The quote was put up by a student in 2009. It's on a 3-by-3 coloring book picture of a gray cat with the caption, "In the dark, all cats are grey."
It came from a satirical letter Franklin wrote in 1745, “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress.”
Umm, that's it? That quote wouldn't even make Linda Cavanaugh blush. For those non-English majors amongst us, it's basically Ben Franklin's dapper way of saying when the lights go out, who cares what she looks like? Outside of "three 3's are better than one 9" and "hit it and quit it," it's one of my favorite Ben Franklin quotes.
Here's some more about Alcorn's curious suspension:
Marlow school officials haven't told anyone why the post has become a problem after five years, including the teacher himself. He says he is still unsure why after so many years the school just now told him that the quote was inappropriate.
For the past 38 years, Steven Alcorn has been teaching history and has spent the last five years teaching at Marlow High School. Alcorn hasn't had any problems until recently when he was confronted by his superintendent and principal who told him the quote on display in his classroom was inappropriate.
"I was told not to go back to my classroom when the students were there and that they would notify me. And as of this moment, I have never received anything in writing from the school board," said Alcorn.
He says the quote has been on his walls for five years, and this is the first time anyone, including his supervisors, has ever had a problem with it.
"My principal and superintendent have been in my classroom many times and they could not have missed it, because it was right by my front door in my classroom," explained Alcorn.
Alcorn says if he had known that the school didn't want to use the letter as an example in his teachings, he wouldn't have used it.
Yeah, it is kind of weird that the school administrators flipped out over such a minor thing. I doubt half the students in Marlow can even read at a high school level, much less comprehend an 18th century quote from Ben Franklin. If anything, most of the students probably read the quote and then go through life thinking that cats change colors at nighttime.
Since the quote isn't that big of a deal, it makes you think that there's maybe something more to Alcorn's suspension. That he, a high school history teacher, has done something else to warrant a suspension. I wonder if it could be due to things like this on his Facebook page:
Yes, that's Mr. Alcorn standing in front of two universal symbols of hate, racism and slavery, or as some people call it, the tradition and heritage of the South.
Of course, just because you're photographed in front of the Confederate battle flag doesn't mean you're some revisionist historian Tea Party nut who sympathizes with the Confederacy. That would require an actual post like this...
Take a look at the time stamp on the post that attempts to paint the Confederacy as non-treasonist nation that was simply fighting for the rights of (heh) "free men." It was published on November 23rd, 2014, which is around the same time Alcorn was allegedly suspended for posting Ben Franklin erotica. I wonder if the two are related? If you were a high school principal, would you really want a guy who sympathizes with Confederacy and has a revisionist view of the Civil War teaching history to your students? What's next? Hiring someone who doesn't believe in evolution to teach biology? Wait... we already do that in Oklahoma.
For what it's worth, that's not the only example of a pro-Confederate post on his page. We also have this...
I don't want to go into great detail about how wrong this guy is. The South went to war to fight for their right to own slaves. We know this because it's mentioned in Confederate document after Confederate document. If you want to read a good retort to Civil War revisionists, here's a decent resource.
I kind of look at people who try to to defend the Confederacy the same way I do those who try to defend the perps found on To Catch A Predator. You can talk about it being a twisted form of entrapment and point out how the authorities prey on the weak and vulnerable, and tempt and coerce sad lonely people into doing awful things, but no matter how elegant or compelling your argument is, you're still defending a sick potential child molester who drove 200 miles to have sex with a 12 year old.
Defending the Confederacy is the same thing. Sure, the flag is part of the South's heritage and the states were fighting for their own "rights," but the right they were fighting for was to enslave people. Basically, you're defending a dark, draconian, evil "heritage" and the ultimate symbolism of racism. If you want to defend that culture, feel free. In the dark, all crazies are grey.
p.s. - I have no clue what that last line even means, but it seemed like a cool way to end the post.