The folks who run the four public college campuses in Vermont have found an “interesting” way to cut expenses: Get rid of most of the books in the school libraries. That will result in a reduction in the number of librarians and save, oh, about $500,000 a year.

The colleges are facing a $25 million budget deficit, sure, but to solve it by just getting rid of a lot of the 300,000 books in the system? That woke me up.

Ever read in high school any of Christopher Columbus’ journals about his visits to the New World? Me neither. That insight came later, but I wouldn’t have minded knowing it in high school. A social studies teacher in North Carolina has been forbidden to teach it.

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force,” Columbus wrote. “They would make fine servants.”

I never tossed paint on his statue, but after I learned this later in life I did lose my respect for this adventurer. It woke me up.

Was slavery wrong? I was always taught that. An eighth-grade teacher in Iowa was forbidden to say that, because it’s a “stance” not just a fact. That woke me up.

An English teacher in Arkansas was forbidden to teach excerpts from a book by 18th century author and activist Mary Walstonecraft, who wrote, “Men considering females rather as women than human creatures have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses and affectionate wives and rational mothers, and the understanding of the sex has been … hobbled.” That woke me up.

Am I “woke”? I don’t even know what that means. I like to have access to a lot of reliable information and make my own decisions. I wish I was taught a lot more things in high school than I was.

About 60 percent of Americans, according to a USA Today poll, see “woke”: in a positive light, defined as “to be informed, educated on and aware of social injustices.” Who could be against that?

Well, about the other 40 percent of Americans who see it as a negative, as being “overly politically correct” and prone to policing others’ words.

It’s a finding of the poll that 37 percent of Republicans see “woke” as positive, and 56 percent of Republicans see it as negative.

Oops, there I go again. Waking up.

Saturday sermon

“You can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.”

— Jack White


“Read your article last weekend and was intrigued about whether the comic strip ‘Non Sequitur’ (unlike ‘Dilbert’) survived due to the Trump mishap,” wrote a reader. “When I searched, I found it survived and that day’s comic strip was on Daylight Saving, which was also in your article last weekend. Serendipity.

“Will send some $$ to the Council for Children. We want to keep your weekly article going until you get tired of it. Always an enjoyable read.” Double thanks.

So you’re so smart …

Last week I bet you couldn’t tell me the three largest land animals. My answer: elephants, rhinos and hippos. Getting it right was Doug W. Wrong answers included giraffe, T-Rex, mastodon, giant squid — er, maybe some of those were jests.

Now, I bet you can’t tell me, without looking it up, the countries where these musicians were born: Paul McCartney, Wolfgang Mozart, Nicki Minaj and Freddie Mercury. Three right answers and you are a winner. Deadline is noon Tuesday.

Columns for Kids

Donations can be sent to The Greater Attleboro Area Council for Children, PO Box 424, North Attleboro, MA 02761. Its website is And make sure you note that your donation is for Columns for Kids.

Thanks. See you next week.

ORESTE P. D’ARCONTE is a former publisher of The Sun Chronicle. Reach him at