Somehow it all looks so reasonable
when you work it out in Visio...
Nik Honeysett at the Getty once quipped that content management systems make hard things easy and easy things hard. Today I've been thinking about one content management challenge that I wish was a bit harder.
Like something out Shelley's Frankenstein, in 1996 Macmillan/McGraw-Hill used their content management system to conjure forth something so horrific and fearsome that I doubt that humankind has the wisdom to grasp the consequences: an on-demand, sanitized, evolution-free science education textbook for a single school district.
Sometimes publishing on demand and flexible content management aren't such a good thing.
I've been reading Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism, a collection of cogent, well-composed essays edited by Andrew J. Petto and Laurie R. Godfrey. It's worth buying just for the summary of the Dover "Intelligent Design" debacle, but it was the section about schools trying to remove mentions of evolution from their science textbooks caught my eye.
The Cobb County school district in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, went directly to the publisher of a troublesome fourth-grade text and asked that a chapter entitled "The Birth of Earth" be deleted. Modern electronic publishing allowed Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, the publisher, to excise seventeen pages, thereby producing a custom-made text exclusively for the students of Cobb County.
This raises some interesting questions about micropublishing. May I have my school district's biology textbooks with an extra helping of Richard Dawkins please? I wish it had been harder for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.
Just a reminder that our power can be used for good, or evil.
Purchase and/or read reviews of Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism on Amazon.