David Thompson


Blog powered by Typepad

« Friday Ephemera | Main | Grand Ambitions »

June 19, 2009



But Socialism is for Children,
Capitalism is for Grown ups.


Hilarious. And spot the dope leaf...

carbon based lifeform

So these kids want a world without capitalism but with lots of marijuana?


Free marijuana, presumably. Because capitalism will have failed.


Dollar sign bad. Hammer and sickle good.


I can understand some kids finding it amusing to sneak a dope leaf into the mosaic. What’s odd is that it was approved of and remains there, on show to prospective students and their well-heeled parents. The hammer and sickle is harder to excuse. Unless a symbol of one of the most murderous and obscene projects in recent history is now an object of celebration and cause for optimism.


Makes me wonder what kind of history is being taught at Black Pine Circle School.


Typical. Notice how the commies have gone and taken three of their neighbour's squares. Can't trust them.


No Che...?


Great! When capitalism fails and we are all reduced to cave-dwelling hunter/gatherers the students of Black Pine Circle School will be well prepared to survive with their wits, a tent, an axe, and a shotgun, right?


chirp chirp chirp

Damn crickets...

Spiny Norman

"Skulls full of mush", indeed.


"When capitalism fails and we are all reduced to cave-dwelling hunter/gatherers..."

Nope, the State is not going to allow that:


Horace Dunn

Spiney Norman

"Nope, the State is not going to allow that"

Indeed (funny story by the way - thanks for highlighting it), but my guess about what's going on here is that the teachers at Black Pine Circle, and most of the parents, are likely to be of the generation that might well see the marijuana leaf as one of its defining symbols. No doubt all those washed-up (but unwashed) old hippies fancy that, when capitalism fails, it will merely bring about an end to rules and rigidity. Therefore, everyone will settle into a nice, caring-sharing, spiritual (but NOT religious), happy, easy-going pastoral existence. Easy really. My question to them, though, would be - if some people aren't willing to settle into that lifestyle, are you going to make 'em?


I was very disappointed at the ending of BSG for promulgating a utopian agrarian myth as the rest of the series technology is key to their survival! It seemed very jarring.

Andrew Zalotocky

The other thing that's striking about this image is that the "children aged 13 and 14" seem to have the artistic skills of children aged 3 and 4. Whatever they're teaching at that school it sure ain't draftsmanship.



“It seemed very jarring.”

It wasn’t the most convincing note of the BSG finale, which I otherwise really enjoyed. But it does seem a necessary one, given the larger dramatic cycle. And don’t forget the coda, set 150,000 years later, which suggests the decision changed nothing. Technology arises, as it must.



Well at least the galaxy will be full of evolved Cylons!

James S

From the school's mission statement:

"The ideal BPC student will be maximally free of all the 'isms' which pervade most aspects of the world around them: from racism to sexism to the less obvious forms of discrimination."

Looks like they missed out CommunISM.

"They will have a strong aversion to injustice."

Communism isn't injustice?

"BPC's mission is to create a learning community that encourages humanity, empathy, moral depth, cultural understanding, and freedom in intellectual pursuits... This student-centered drawing out of ideas minimizes competitiveness."

But competitiveness is bad.



“But competitiveness is bad.”

I’m not sure how the school reconciles its disapproval of competitiveness with the claims of “creating intellectually vibrant people.” Maybe the aversion to competitiveness explains the substandard artwork too.

I suppose the question is: how do 7th and 8th graders arrive at choosing the hammer and sickle and the slogan “capitalism will fail” without some external prompting? Is Communist fervour something 13-year-olds just arrive at by default, like moodswings and stroppiness? I doubt many 13-year-olds are sufficiently familiar with what that symbol represents and what it entailed for millions of people. I suppose they might associate it with some vague sense of rebellion. Which is somewhat ironic, all things considered.

Horace Dunn

Clearly the intellectual vibrancy that they talk about will have as its goal the achievement of ordinariness. Simple really. And the school has worked out a way of getting paid $17,000 a throw for this. Capitalist bastards.


Ooooh, with all the designer slogans,intellectual vibrancy, and revolutionary chic, I'm all aflutter.

But can the students balance a checkbook?

David Gillies

One of the biggest failings of the post-Soviet era was the missed opportunity to stimulate the same cultural immune response that accompanied the defeat of Nazism. It should be as beyond the pale, morally, to still adhere to communism as it is to be a racist skinhead. Of course, in the minds of the gatekeepers, the 'wrong' people (Reagan, Thatcher, Lech Walesa et al.) won. I think the rest of us were just so relieved at having the spectre of the apocalypse banished, if at least temporarily, that we did not see what allowing Leftist ideas in general to be given a free pass would entail. Also, that Communism in Eastern Europe ended with a whimper rather than bang made the task seem less urgent. We allowed the soi-disant cultural arbiters (who were wrong in this as in so much else) to hold the line. This is already having baleful consequences, as the newly-aggressive Russia starts to rehabilitate Stalin, and to criminalise any negative slant on post-WW2 Soviet oppression and imperialism.


“One of the biggest failings of the post-Soviet era was the missed opportunity to stimulate the same cultural immune response that accompanied the defeat of Nazism. It should be as beyond the pale, morally, to still adhere to communism as it is to be a racist skinhead.”

Yet a prolonged and earnest involvement with Communism is still held by some as a marker of youthful seriousness, or mentioned as if it were no more dubious than a flirtation with dodgy pop music. Will Bea Campbell’s rhetorical fellatio of Communism be raised during her OBE ceremony? Is it mentioned disapprovingly by those who give her literary awards and honorary doctorates? Does Seumus Milne get dirty looks from his Guardian colleagues? Answers on a postcard, please.


I don't think a teacher would have encouraged that - they'd be aware of the ramifications in the community. But I remember at school how other kids were fond of using symbols like dope leafs, yin and yang, iron crosses, peace symbols, and it's probably not too much of a stretch to figure out how to do the hammer-and-sickle.

Spiny Norman

"I don't think a teacher would have encouraged that - they'd be aware of the ramifications in the community."

In a normal, average middle- to upper-middle-class community, perhaps so. But this is Berkeley, after all.


As long as they keep tuition up to 17 grand I'm very happy.
Enjoy your little Black pine circle jerks you're raising.

virgil xenophon

When Mad Max time comes Morlocks like me will gladly hunt the sons and daughters of these modern-day Eloi and take all their stuff--probably with a sound thrashing thrown in for good measure based on general principles alone. It will be easy, as the Eloi despise guns and people like me have mini-arsenals replete with LOTS and LOTS of extra ammunition. We'll be able to haul away all their stuff by heading straight for the faculty parking lot and stealing all their Volvos. (But I get the SAAB!--I only take from the totally uber-libs) And as I pull out of the parking lot you can be secure in the knowledge I'll be sure to mock them by flashing the "V" peace sign...one can't do enough to mock the sort of people who fit the bill of the Stalin apologist (even AFTER the show-trials) editor of the Nation Magazine of whom Trotsky famously wrote that: "All of us are entitled to our fair share of stupidity in our lifetimes, but the good comrade is seriously abusing his privilege."

The comments to this entry are closed.