07 June 2011

A Piece of My Mind (Not That I Can Spare It) About Four Recent News Stories

Okay check out this headline: "Shooting That Killed 3-month-old was Case of Mistaken Identity, Police Say." I don't even know how to get my mind around this one. What, they killed the wrong infant? I don't mean to sound flippant about this but it is utterly mind blowing. Did someone say to the assassin afterwards "Not that three month old, ya dummy!" There's never a right anyone to kill -- but a baby? Not only do you kill a baby but it's the wrong one? I recall some of the lamentations of Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) in No Country For Old Men (2007). As Ed Tom would say, you can't make this stuff up, I dare you to try. No, the baby wasn't really the target, the family with which he was in a car, was. Still the assailant killed a baby. By the way, there's been an arrest in the case. Of a 17 year old. For heaven's sake he was a baby not all that long ago himself. God have mercy on us all.

There was an opinion piece in Saturday's New York Times called When Teachers Talk Out of School. In sum it's about how some teachers have gotten in very hot water, even canned, for making disparaging comments about students on blogs, Facebook and the like. One first grade teacher likened her job to being a "warden" overseeing "future criminals." Another was suspended for referring to her high school students as “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners” and “frightfully dim.”  Having been in the teaching biz for 20 odd years (and by God they were mostly quite odd) I can attest to the fact that teachers make these kind of comments to one another about their students all the time. All the time. But this well meaning Times story about cases of teacher's 1st Amendment Rights and how bad mouthing students isn't so covered, is a classic case of burying the lead. Why are teachers so continually frustrated and angered by their young charges? What social conditions are in place that make aberrant, rude and manic student behavior so common place? And where is the situation the worst? Urban schools? Are many of the offenders African American, or is poverty a more common link? Which teachers are more frustrated? White teachers? White teachers of Black students? What solutions are there to this very serious, very real social problem? Just for starters I'd say getting rid of standardized testing and focusing on the daily discipline issues that stunt education is for more critical than the sideshow of what teachers say and where the venting takes place.

Speaking of distractions...How about the whole Anthony Weiner crotch photos story? First of all I'd like to address my fellow males: Seriously, stop sending pictures of your (fill in one of various synonyms for penis here) to women. It is utterly infantile and you're giving us all a bad name. Any woman who's interested in such a photo is surely someone you should steer clear of anyway. Second of all to everyone, but of course mostly men, if you do something incredibly stupid and get caught you've got an immediate decision to make that you need to stick with. Either confess all immediately or deny until your dying breath. As they say in 12 step programs, half measures avail us nothing. The lie, the cover up, is usually worse than the deed. But really what's most important to me about the (seriously there is no pun intended) Weiner story, is that it's not that important. Good God the media spends (wastes) way too much time on sex scandals, divorces, affairs and drunken rampages. They are rarely very significant stories and those that are get way more play than they deserve. How about spending half the time you do on story's like Weiner's groin pic on the criminal manner in which corporations, big business and super wealthy individuals get around paying tens of millions of dollars in taxes -- every f*cking year. That's just one of the kind of stories that gets neglected while the sexy stuff is spread out all over TV and the web. Shameful.

I close with the lighter side of the news. Those running jokes, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, made the news with their unique interpretations of two events in U.S. history. Palin said this of Paul Revere's famous ride: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms – uh - by ringing those bells and – um - makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots and bells that – uh - we were going to be secure and we were going to be free. Hey, at least she had the right war. As any school kid knows, Revere was alerting the rebels, not the Brits. And this from Bachman: What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. Your the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord. Boy the tourist industry in Massachusetts has some nerve claiming those battles happened in their state. I know comics everywhere hope these two towering intellects will stay in the presidential race long past their expiration dates. Priceless.


Meredith said...

I honestly don't know how some teachers stand it, but appreciate that they do. And yet they shouldn't have to if some of these bigger questions that you bring up were answered.

I think my favorite comical spoof was Colbert's attempt at the Revere ride-Palin style.

Richard Hourula said...

I watched Colbert's spoof twice and belly laughed both times.