Mr. Chatterbox Returns

Mr. Chatterbox Makes His Own List of Banned Books

Perhaps the following books once had some merit, but in these “woke” times they constitute a clear and present danger, and they need to be “canceled” ASAP.

By Robert Plunket May 10, 2022 Published in the May-June 2022 issue of Sarasota Magazine

I understand that all over the country, people—regular, ordinary people like you and me—are demanding that certain books be banned from our schools and public libraries. They are streaming into meetings and flooding officials with emails and phone calls and text messages because they feel that some ideas should just not appear in public, at least under the sanction of officialdom.

I couldn’t agree more.

Let’s face it: Some thoughts are bad. They are disturbing, they are anti-American and they are just plain dangerous. They send the wrong message to society. I’m not sure what books other people want to ban, but to help them along, I’ve compiled my own list. Perhaps the following books once had some merit, but in these “woke” times they constitute a clear and present danger, and they need to be “canceled” ASAP.  

Charlotte’s Web

It seems incomprehensible that in a state like Florida we allow a book that glorifies spiders. These eight-legged monsters—along with all insects and arachnids—are our sworn enemies, invading our homes and workplaces, even our cupboards and sock drawers, and—most terrifying of all—our very beds. We spend billions of dollars each year attempting to eradicate them, and yet we allow our children to be taught how wonderful and compassionate they are. In this especially pernicious book, the insect-lovers even make a spider the hero and endow her with magical powers, like writing, graphic design and marketing. Wake up, Florida. Let’s go back to reading The Yearling, in which the little boy gives that pesky deer just what it deserves, a bullet right between the eyes.

Gone With the Wind

This book has been decried as racist and glorifying the phony Lost Cause of the “gallant” South. True. But another disgrace lies in its depiction of women. Scarlett O’Hara is a piece of work. She lies, manipulates, cheats, demands attention, open-carries guns, steals husbands, beats animals and is rude to the help. And yet she’s presented as a role model for young women! What if the up-and-coming wave of ambitious young women entering politics began imitating her? Imagine if they started taking pictures of themselves with guns and hurling outrageous lies and abuse and attending white nationalist rallies! What a nightmare that would be. Enough! It’s time Gone With the Wind, well, goes with the wind.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Florida has enough trouble with drugs. Our citizens consume far too many of them, and the state is a major smuggling center. What we need is a strong, clear vision in our public policy toward drugs. And what better way to do this than to ban Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

The book—aimed at impressionable children—is a virtual primer for the world of stimulants, relaxants and hallucinogens, made all the more appalling by having an innocent young girl as the exploited victim. On her “trip,” she meets a hookah-smoking caterpillar, a rabbit on speed and a Mad Hatter on meth. The poor girl ingests mushrooms and then talks to the flowers. And they talk back!

Banning this book would be a worthy addition to our medical marijuana program, which has been carefully planned to restrict cannabis from the average citizen and also brings in money to the state and its investors, many of them visionary politicians.

Just think of how stringent it is. You go to a special doctor, tell him your back hurts and hand him a hundred bucks. Then they send you a card like a driver’s license. (Hint: Don’t carry it in your wallet. It always falls out at the wrong time.) Then you go to a marijuana store. They sell products you never even knew existed. And although these stores are everywhere (three are within walking distance of my trailer park), the strict screening process guarantees that no one entering their doors is taking drugs for anything but serious medical purposes—unlike the druggies tripping out with poor young Alice.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Julia Child’s so-called masterpiece is wrong, wrong, wrong on every possible level. First of all, French cooking? The very word “French” leaves a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Why aren’t they nicer to us? I can hardly count the number of times they’ve been a problem, always sticking up for governments we don’t like, and then there was that submarine deal a couple of months ago.

And the cooking! I like a good French dressing as much as anybody, but French cooking is so complicated that they made a Meryl Streep movie about it (Julie & Julia). So many incomprehensible terms to learn—fricassee, pamplemousse, pomme de terre, degustion. It’s all a big croque. And all that butter and cream and goat cheese are health hazards.
And may I point out the first word of the title? What kind of message is that sending? The word “master” is being removed from the English language, and not a moment too soon. There is no more “master bedroom.” It’s now the “primary bedroom.” There’s no more “headmaster.” It’s now “head of school.” There’s no more “master’s degree.” It’s now “a useless piece of paper that condemns you to a life of poverty teaching English at a junior college.”


This 1977 novel by pulp fiction writer John D. MacDonald concerns a hurricane that destroys an entire Florida city built on a barrier island. Some readers seemed to like it. Others saw it for what it was—an early piece of climate change propaganda. Could such a disaster actually happen? Do the research. Experts say it’s about as likely as a high-rise near Miami Beach collapsing in 30 seconds.

Condominium offends on an even more basic level. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but facts are facts. Florida developers are hardly the villains MacDonald tars with his nasty paintbrush. True, one or two may occasionally “puff the wares,” but the people who are responsible for our built environment should be recognized for what they are. It is they who cut down the trees, drained the wetlands, removed the wildlife, paved the parking lots, changed the zoning. And let’s not forget the enormous economic impact that real estate development provides and all the money it brings in, not just to Florida but to banks in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Panama.


Like most Floridians, I love Martha Stewart. I myself have absorbed many flower arranging tips from her and feel strongly that she has a real gift for combining hues. But, let’s not forget, she is a convicted felon and thus barred from making money off her crimes.

I am not the first to point out that her most recent book contains a recipe that, from all reports, she picked up in prison. Thus, it is a product of her criminal conduct and off limits to make money from. She called the dish chien chaud au fromage. In prison it’s called “franks ’n' Velveeta” and you can make it on a hot plate or even a radiator. It’s known as the Comfort Food of Death Row. It’s not bad if you can come up with some cayenne pepper.

I’m surprised the attorney general has allowed this to go on for so long. There’s a clear legal issue here, and if the so-called authorities won’t act, we as citizens must.


Some books shouldn’t just be banned. They should be punished. Moby-Dick is a prime example. What a nightmare that was to plow through. The two main memories of my college years are smoking dope and reading Moby-Dick, often at the same time. I never did finish it. I got as far as the mahjong scene. But I have done my own research, and the results are startling.

According to online experts, Moby-Dick is largely responsible for the extinction of many species, especially the great white whale. Impressionable readers of the day were presented with such a seductive view of a whaling career that the industry grew exponentially and soon there were no white whales left. There is a tendency among “woke” “experts” to blame their extinction on the evil effects of capitalism, but Moby-Dick proves that this was accomplished by a book—and that book must be banned.

And if you have been pondering the unholy alliance between this so-called immortal classic and a certain chain of coffee houses that takes its name from a major character, you are not alone. Bloggers have reported that 2 cents from the sale of every copy of Moby-Dick goes directly to Starbucks, due to an unusual licensing clause in Melville’s original contract with Random House.

The Everglades: River of Grass

Talk about “alternative facts.” I’ve driven across Alligator Alley many times and, believe me, that thing is not a river. It’s a swamp. The author’s theory—she’s the famous Marjory Stoneman Douglas—is that it’s really a river that’s a hundred miles wide. And she says it’s the only one in the world, which sounds highly unlikely, even if there were such a thing.

People have been trying to drain it for hundreds of years. Just think what all that extra land would do for our state. We could have more sugar growing, more cattle ranging, more housing developments and planned communities. It would make a great outlet mall. There was even a wonderful scheme to build the world’s largest airport out there. But for some reason, something always goes wrong. The Army Corps of Engineers did a great job building 1,400 miles of canals throughout the Everglades, and does Douglas thank them for their efforts? Absolutely not. This book even blames them for all the flooding, the toxic outflow of pesticides and the invasive species that have taken over. It sows the seeds of distrust in the government, the army, the land developers—all the people who have built modern Florida.

And even Douglas didn’t really like the place. She admitted that she never went there except for an occasional picnic. “It’s too buggy, too wet, too generally inhospitable,” she confessed. Perhaps it’s time to ban the book and finally drain the swamp.

Filed under
Show Comments