I often get the sense that Tennessee, Texas, and Florida are locked in a never-ending war to decide which of the three is the craziest state in the union. Granted, Florida wins most of the battles, but Tennessee and Texas get in a lot of really good shots. I think Tennessee may have just landed a doozy.
Before I tell you what it is, let me give you a little background. As you probably know, the governors of most of the states got together to talk about education and came up what they call the Common Core curriculum. Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, was one of the more enthusiastic supporters of Common Core, but the state’s extremely conservative state legislature rejected it as giving too much control over local school districts to the federal government.
In order to consolidate their victory, conservatives (particularly local Tea Party groups) began recruiting and running anti-Common Core candidates for local school boards, many of whom were already on those boards and happy to take Tea Party money for their reelection campaigns. One such candidate was Mark Gregory, a member of the Williamson County school board (I’m from Williamson County) since ’04, who is now staunchly anti-Common Core (though he and his fellow candidates were loath to admit this during the election without being asked direct questions). Gregory won reelection, and the now anti-Common Core-dominated school board elected him to be their new chairman.
Just ordinary politics in 2014, right? Nothing to see here? I would have thought so until I realized that Gregory was the co-inventor, and until 2012 at least, the co-owner of the ButtleOpener. What is a ButtleOpener, you ask? It is a bottle opening contraption shaped like a life-sized female buttocks wearing pink underwear. You open bottles by shoving them up… well, you get the point.
So, Williamson County’s school board is chaired by a man who invented a product so unbelievably sexist that I’m not even going to post a photo of it here (though you can see one at the link above, if you really want to). Even NASCAR, which is generally not shy with its sexism, refused to allow Gregory to be a sponsor. For the most part, it appears that Williamson County voters don’t care though, and he doesn’t appear to have any plans to step down.
So score one for Tennessee. You’re on notice, Texas and Florida: a man who put a bottle opener inside a replica of a woman’s ass is a school board chairman. What you got?