Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chalk Dust – March 9 2012

Chalk Dust – March 9 2012
©2012 Ross Williams

Headline: Blind Student Taped to Chair

Article Synopsis:
A DC-area teacher is on administrative leave following a complaint made by the mother of a “visually-impaired” student that her son had been taped into his seat. The mother confronted the teacher the day after it happened, and the teacher admitted the incident took place, and that her son was in on it, “it was a game”. The mother disputes that, and claims to be “tired of her son being hurt”; she had just transferred her son into this school after her son had been “taunted” at a previous school.

The Breakfast Club: Every community, regardless of where it is, or who participates in it, has admission rules and hazing rituals – informal, if nothing else. To be accepted in that community requires following the rules for admission and surviving the hazing.

This reality has existed since Day One of human civilization, and no one is exempt for any reason of race, color, creed or disability. If you’re a newbie, you’re going to get razzed by the old-timers.

The formal power structure of some communities – such as public schools – typically fail to acknowledge that there are informal rituals and pretend that simply by being given a desk in a classroom a student is perceived to be a peer by everyone else in the classroom. This is false, and it is potentially damaging to a new student in the classroom. The potential damage is only compounded by parents who mistakenly believe that their children are in any way special to anyone other than the parents; in general, no, they are not.

Conclusion: Mom, the reason you’re so tired of your child being hurt is because you’ve been using too much energy hurting your child. It is a game, and the sooner you get that through your head the sooner you child will be accepted and not taunted. Get over yourself.

Headline: School Reinstates Honor Student for Religious Service

Article Synopsis:
A Virginia school district reversed its prior decision to remove its student from the National Honor Society due to the student’s choice to accomplish the requisite community service requirement by participating in a local church’s soup kitchen. Church service violated district policy, and the student was put on “probation” for the honor society. The student hired a lawyer, sued the school for religious discrimination, and the school reversed its decision within hours. The lawsuit is continuing, for the student missed scholarship filing deadlines due to being on probation.

Freedom From Religion: District officials maintain that the student’s dismissal from the National Honor Society was “not sinister”; it was just an honest misapplication of their policy ... which requires that a “secular purpose” is served.

School officials in Virginia have apparently spent too much of their time divorcing themselves from reality that they are unaware that a church’s involvement with food and drink is more than Communion. A soup kitchen is not simply applying the sacraments to the riff-raff.

Conclusion: For officials so desperate to remove themselves from anything to do with religion – even if it’s someone else doing it – they sure are messianic. I’m sure that would be seen as ironic if it weren’t so desperately ignorant.

Headline: Oregon May Ban Native American Mascots

Article Synopsis:
The Oregon Board of Education is entertaining, for the second time, a proposal to prohibit the use of Native American mascots for school sports teams. Critics claim that such a policy would declare that Amerinds are shameful, and that compulsion is heavy-handed. Supporters claim such mascots are a form of oppression that continues to fuel isolation. The proposal was pushed by someone who was “traumatized” by a bare-chested basketball halftime show put on by the other team.

Cry Me A Polluted River: Oregon has an unsavory history on this subject: in 2001 the legislature outlawed the term squaw as “derogatory” toward Amerind women – which makes as much sense as declaring that the term señorita is insulting to Hispanic women. It is entirely possible that Oregon will continue its insulting ways by acquiescing on this tear-stained nothingness.

Every criticism of mascot symbology ever constructed is built out of an offensive sense of self-superiority, presumptuousness and false victimhood. All responses with the exception of telling these weenies to get bent are themselves crafted out of one degree or another of cowardice.

There is not a single sports team mascot that is chosen for any reason other than to draw inspiration or create identity or – most likely – both. I can’t answer for such mascots as “Mighty Ducks”, but if any school were to derive their sports icon from a kilted Scot, I’d certainly be flattered. Greeks are hardly offended by the legions of Spartans and Trojans running around in miniskirts, and that makes me believe that Indians who are offended by Warriors and Braves running around bare-chested have some sort of innate psychological issues going on that are not appropriate to address through legislation, particularly legislation which seeks to blame innocent bystanders for acknowledging cultural referents that are part of the culture they live in. Shame on them for looking around and not being self-centered.

And that is the basis of the primary criticism mounted against Indian mascots and icons: “They are taking control of our image”, in the words of a Klamath tribesman quoted in the article.

Actually ... no ... they are using the image which comes from the culture shared by us all. No one owns the American culture unless we all own it. If no one owns it, or we all own it, we are all allowed to use the images that are a part of that culture – copyright laws notwithstanding. Which is why Scotsmen have been used forever as iconic representation for hardware and lumbers stores, and restaurants, and Scots trappings are used as the actual name for clear adhesive tape – so universally now as to be virtually beyond legal trademark protection.

What the critics are demanding the right to do is to control the American culture themselves, to declare a backhanded copyright on the usage of terms they donated to our common culture. Fortunately, they are demanding trademark ownership of their contributions in the quintessentially appropriate way in our culture: by whining, pouting, and agitating.

Conclusion: Seek professional help, guys. Or else demand that Klamath Falls be renamed. I suggest Scottish Falls, because I’m feeling kinda left out.


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