This new GCSE reading list is outrage. Here’s how to fix it
Assuming their teachers aren’t all on strike, next year’s GCSE pupils will be in for an exciting experience. But not in science. In social engineering.
The OCR, one of the three main examination boards, is removing the works of major writers such as Wilfred Owen and Philip Larkin from its English literature program – to demonstrate its “commitment to greater diversity”. Instead of these towering figures of the literary canon, students will study little-known but impeccably diverse writers, including many “disabled and LGBTQ+ voices.”
The move sparked an outcry, including from Education Secretary Nadhim Zawahi, who called it “cultural vandalism”. Most parents, on the other hand, would probably prefer their children to get to know the great writers, rather than extremely minor writers who were singled out solely for “inclusiveness” reasons.
Fortunately, however, I believe there is a simple compromise that should satisfy all parties. It works as follows. Complete the GCSE syllabus exclusively with major figures from the established literary canon. And if left-wing activists complain that it is not “diverse” and “inclusive,” the review board should point out that, in fact, it is.
Take Wilfred Owen, who was just removed from the OCR reading list. Although he never officially came out (having lived from 1893 to 1918), he was gay. The examination board can therefore proclaim it “LGBTQ+ voice”. Indeed, the same can be said of Owen’s other war poets, Siegfried Sassoon (also gay), Robert Graves (bisexual), and Rupert Brooke (also bisexual).
Other LGBTQ+ voices may include WH Auden, EM Forster, AE Housman – and of course Shakespeare, who is widely believed to have been bisexual. And let’s not forget that, in contemporary productions of his plays, all of the female characters were played by boys – which the review board said shows the bard was an important ally of the Elizabethan trans community.
If left-leaning activists don’t quite believe that, they should at least accept Virginia Woolf, who has had several lesbian relationships and wrote Orlando, a novel about a gender-changing character – which makes Woolf so trans-inclusive as possible. be in 1928.
Renaming Larkin as Woke might be a bit trickier, with his well-known views on immigration (strongly against) and Mrs. Thatcher (strongly in favour). Could his secret passion for writing stories about lesbian schoolgirls under the female pseudonym “Brunette Coleman” qualify him as non-binary? Maybe not. Thanks to Andrew Motion’s biography, however, the review board can point out that Larkin had gay “encounters” with a male friend in Oxford, which should pin him down as LGBTQ+.
They could also try to argue that Larkin’s deafness makes him a “voice handicapped”. In any case, they can certainly apply this term to Milton (whose blindness did not prevent him from writing Paradise Lost), Byron (club foot) and Sir Walter Scott (lame all his life due to polio). Additionally, they can show that the mainstream curriculum fully includes writers with mental health issues. Obvious examples are Coleridge, John Clare, Edward Thomas and again Woolf.
And, if that still doesn’t seem diverse enough, the examining board can always argue that, like Orwell was born in Bengal, Thackeray in Calcutta, and Kipling in Bombay, they were in fact all Indians.
The perfect solution. Parents reassured and progressives appeased. I urge the examination board to act immediately.
Test the water
On Tuesday, Thames Water staff sealed off a large sinkhole that had opened up in Bexleyheath, London. Their barriers carried an intriguing message. “We fix the pipes,” he would say, “so we can always bring you world-class tap water.”
Unfortunately I don’t live in the Thames Water area. Which is a shame. Because I now desperately need to know what “world class” tap water looks like.
I wonder how he earned this exalted title. Has it received five stars from the esteemed critics of Tap Water Weekly? Do tap water connoisseurs from around the world flock to Bexleyheath to sample the latest vintage? Is there a Jilly Goolden tap water, which speaks lyrically of Thames Water’s cheeky bouquet and top notes of tree bark and caramel?
The achievement is all the more impressive when you consider that, since 2017, Thames Water has racked up £32.4 million in fines for water pollution. Obviously, our Philistine government just doesn’t appreciate good water.
When a man loves a womb carrier
Exciting news for women. They have a new name. Verso Books, the radical left-wing publisher, promotes an essay on the harms of misogyny. But, instead of “women”, he uses the term “womb carriers”.
“The rights of our womb surrogate mothers to parenthood are still in question,” the essay states. And: “In the 1970s, it is estimated that up to 50% of Indigenous womb carriers were sterilized against their will… Stripping our womb carriers of their ability to have children is a continuation of over 500 years of misogynistic violence…”
The author of this essay happens to be a womb carrier herself. At least I think so. Her biography – or rather “her” – author states that “Jen Deerinwater is a bisexual, two-spirited, multi-disabled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and an award-winning journalist and organizer who covers the myriad issues in her communities. face with an intersectional lens.
Anyway, remember the name. This time next year she will probably be enrolled in the GCSE English program.
“Way of the World” is a twice-weekly satirical look at headlines while aiming to poke fun at the absurdities of the modern world. It is published at 7am every Tuesday and Saturday