Deep in the bowels of the Australian Safe Schools Supporters (ASSS) headquarters, a planning session was taking place. All those in the room were pondering how they might inject even more focus on sex and sexual identity into the curriculum. Aussie students would have sex shoved down their throats if it was the last thing ASSS did.
‘Why don’t we take some of the classics and give them a little rewrite?’, asked one of those who identified as a Vice President. ‘What do you have in mind?’, came the reply, but voiced in a way that carried not a whiff of bullying.
‘Well, we could take Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and turn it into Sex and Sexability. An educational tool for all 12 and 13 year olds.’
‘What about Shakespeare? We could simply change King Lear to King Leer. We’ve all seen the latest Human Rights Commission’s report on sexual harassment via unwanted stares.’
The VP now had the room’s undivided attention, at least as undivided as was possible with those in ASSS who swung more than one way. ‘We could work in my favourite Russian author. How about Sex Crimes and Punishment?’
‘Brilliant’, yelled the Treasurer formerly known as Brian and now Briana. ‘I’ve got one’, ze continued, just as a train rumbled by the window outside. ‘What about Dickens? I’m thinking A Tale of Two T….’, but no one heard the end of Briana’s suggestion.
The atmosphere in the room was now electric, and not just because the dominatrix who was filling in as the Secretary for ASSS had mistakenly overdone the voltage on her client, who happened to be the President of ASSS. The dominatrix ordered the President to write down her own suggestion, Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, which, understandably, was met with widespread approval.
The VP now informed all the ASSS’s that they only needed two more titles. Silence descended on the room, which was a bit worrying because it was well known that saying nothing could sometimes be construed as a micro-aggression and a serious form of bullying in itself. The silence was eventually broken by a voice from the back of the room, a recent immigrant to Australia from the rural countryside in England. This woman, at least it was widely assumed that she wished to be considered a woman, quietly mooted the possibility of a variant on Thomas Hardy. Far from the Rutting Crowd, she suggested.
‘Perfect’, chimed in the VP. ‘And we can round off our list with one I know will bring a smile to the faces of many of you. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.’ No one other than the VP had actually read the book, or had a clue what it was about, but they sure liked the title.
By this point there was only enough time left in this week’s ASSS meeting to make a few suggestions as to how they might give the ‘Safe Schools treatment’ to the mathematics curriculum. The President called for suggestions. At first no one spoke. And then one timorous soul raised a hand and suggested that they might overhaul trigonometry and rename it ‘Triggsonometry’. ‘This’, ze continued, ‘would look at the power of triangles to take away your rights unless you complain to the HRC, and especially at how “tan” has been oppressed by the lighter “cos” and “sin”.’
‘I agree’, said the VP, ‘though of course rainbow triangles are obviously above suspicion. Does anyone have any other thoughts on the mathematics curriculum?’. ‘Hmm’, muttered a transvestite who identified as a refugee, ‘I might have an idea about algebra if we could focus on something other than sex for a second.’
‘What’s your idea?’, asked the dominatrix, still busy at work with her whip.
‘Well, I know the critics out there are complaining we only think about sex. Maybe we could focus on some other aspect of social justice. Perhaps we could rename this branch of maths “Al Jazeera” and teach 9 year olds that if x = the number of terrorist incidents in the world and y = the number of extremist Muslims then x times y = z, where z = death to the Jews’.
‘I don’t think we’d be wise to suggest that’, interrupted the VP. ‘We don’t want everyday Australians to think ASSS is full of crazy extremists.’