Big Plans
No End in Sight to the Agonies of the Left

Elsewhere (88)

Further to this unhinged drama, Glenn Reynolds ponders modern state schooling:

A seven-year-old boy was suspended because he chewed his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Now, really, why would you suspend a kid for that? A gun-shaped Pop Tart isn’t a threat to anyone. Nor does chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun suggest violent tendencies. Meanwhile, a 5-year-old girl was charged with “terroristic threats” for talking about her pink toy gun that shoots… bubbles. The school suspended her for 10 days and required a psychological evaluation. And in Maryland, boys were suspended for playing cops and robbers and using their fingers as imaginary guns. Who is frightened by this sort of thing? People who can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. […] 

A Pop Tart gun, a finger gun, or a toy gun -- even a pink one that shoots, gasp!, soap bubbles! -- isn’t any danger to anyone. Nor is playing with toy guns a sign that a kid is mentally ill or dangerous. It’s a sign that a kid is a kid. When schools and teachers react hysterically to such non-threats, they’re telling us one of two things: Either that they lack the ability to respond realistically to events or that they recognise that there’s not any sort of threat, but deliberately overreact in order to stigmatise even the idea of guns. The first is educational malpractice; the second is educational malpractice mixed with abuse of power. Neither inspires confidence in the educational system in which they appear.

When I was maybe five or six years old, I took to school a Marvel comic, which, naturally, led to a playground battle of ray guns, fireballs and atomic annihilators. Oddly enough, all of my friends survived this exchange of imaginary firepower, and even the toppling of entire imaginary buildings. So far as I can recall, no-one actually bombarded themselves with gamma rays in the hope of turning green. Still, I can’t help wondering how that kind of thing would go down among teachers who hyperventilate at the thought of a single pink bubble gun. Presumably our juvenile imaginations would, for some, now be a cause for concern, possibly correction.

Related, George Will:  

Government is failing spectacularly at its core functions, such as budgeting and educating. Yet it continues to multiply its peripheral and esoteric responsibilities, tasks that require it to do things for which it has no aptitude, such as thinking and making common-sense judgments.

Mr Eugenides feels the pain of the Chavistas

The Guardian has this week been a newspaper in mourning. The death of Hugo Chavez has hit morale hard, with the newspaper all but running a black band around its website in deference to the passing of the man it clearly regarded as the leader of all progressive forces south of the Equator, if not the Watford Gap. […] Tariq Ali’s piece… was a masterpiece of its kind, a full-throated encomium of praise that made Chavez sound like a world-historical colossus, a one-in-a-million fusion of two parts Gandhi, one part Bolivar and a dash of Han Solo, instead of the vaudevillian punchline that he was by the end. No mention was made of the gigantic failures, the petty thuggery and intimidation of opponents, the contempt for the constitution or the rule of law. Why should there have been? To these people, everything is about speaking so-called truth to power, even if it means singing the praises of dickheads like Chavez one week and then with a straight face labelling Rupert Murdoch a horrifying threat to democracy the next.

And Heather Mac Donald on teen pregnancy and what mustn’t be said about it: 

Less predictable was the charge… that the [teen pregnancy] posters “perpetuate gender stereotypes.” Even the most seasoned observers of the academic-advocacy-victimology axis might not have seen this one coming. Presumably, the ads “perpetuate gender stereotypes” by pointing out to “Dad” the costs of child support and to “Mom” that when the father takes off, as he likely will, she’ll be left holding the diaper bag. It appears that we have a new politically correct fantasy: unwed teen fathers are as likely to be the sole provider for their child as teen moms.

As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.

Comments

JuliaM

George Monbiot's existential angst on the subject of ethical smartphone choice must be a shoo- in:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/11/search-smartphone-soaked-blood

Anna

The school suspended her for 10 days and required a psychological evaluation.

Nothing about that sentence is at all weird and creepy. Move along.

David

Julia,

I did like one commenter’s suggestion that Mr Monbiot secretly lets his hair down at monster truck rallies.


Anna,

Nothing about that sentence is at all weird and creepy.

Quite. But many educators do seem overly fond of “treating” views that differ from their own, especially political views. Such that, being insufficiently pretentious and leftwing can be a basis for “counselling” and a visit from the police. It can all get quite surreal.

I was thinking back to when I was five or six and took to school a Marvel comic, which, naturally, led to a playground battle of ray guns, fireballs and atomic annihilators. Oddly enough, all of my friends survived this exchange of imaginary firepower, and so far as I can recall no-one actually bombarded themselves with gamma rays in the hope of turning green. Still, I can’t help wondering how that kind of thing would go down with teachers who hyperventilate at the thought of a pink bubble gun.

Tom Foster

"Oddly enough, all of my friends survived this exchange of imaginary firepower, and so far as I can recall no-one actually bombarded themselves with gamma rays in the hope of turning green."

Don't be silly David. As a result of their exposure to all this horrendous violence at the age of only five, these boys – I don't know why but I feel sure the combatants must have been boys – are certainly now beating their wives and abusing their children. Whereas if only your teachers had been enlightened enough to consfiscate your comic, suspend you and give you a psychological evaluation – and provide counselling for traumatised fellow 'students', obviously – all would now be well and there'd be much less violence in the world. Probably.

David

Tom,

Whereas if only your teachers had been enlightened enough to confiscate your comic, suspend you and give you a psychological evaluation – and provide counselling for traumatised fellow ‘students’, obviously – all would now be well and there'd be much less violence in the world. Probably.

That would seem to be the thinking. I use the word loosely.

In a fit of nostalgia, I’ve been trying to remember which comic it was. This one, I think. And I remember we were very excited when someone brought in a Marvel annual, the first we’d ever seen. Oh, how we gasped. We must’ve destroyed the playground that day, along with hundreds of atomic robots and half the planet.

In our minds, you understand.

Anna

Presumably our juvenile imaginations would, for some, now be a cause for concern, possibly correction.

Luckily we'd never get that kind of thing over here.

David

Luckily we’d never get that kind of thing over here.

Oh sweet lord.

Headteacher Karen Jaeggi defended the policy this week, saying: “We actively discourage children from playing violent games or games involving imaginary weapons in the playground by explaining to them what it represents. Some children can be easily frightened by violent play which is often influenced by computer games and we feel that such games can have a harmful effect on young minds.”

Unlike school, where children have to deal with these soul-withering harpies.

rxc

What is really amazing is that progressives use shame all the time to try to change our behavior. They are constantly trying to shame us into giving more to the poor, pay more taxes, use less resources ("climate change"), support environmentalism, support communitarianism, etc. But when someone proposes to use shame to change the behavior of people who everyone really agrees is behaving in a destructive way, TOWARDS CHILDREN, NO LESS, they demure, and say that it is not nice.

Ahhh... progressivism. Do what we say, not what we do.

rxc

"...Some children can be easily frightened by violent play which is often influenced by computer games and we feel that such games can have a harmful effect on young minds.”

Progressives are trying to convince all of us adults, who want to live adult lives, to emasculate ourselves of everything that they can perceive as threatening or harmful or offensive, or objectionable. And we need to really buy into this meme, and do it on oon own initiative, with full appreciation of the true horror of our bad behavior. I don't think there is any sort of conspiracy, in the conventional sense of the word, but instead it is a shared vision that is truly Orwellian in its conception...

svh

In our minds, you understand.

That's no excuse. It still counts as violence against (imaginary) robots.

Tom Foster

David,

"In a fit of nostalgia, I’ve been trying to remember which comic it was. This one, I think. And I remember we were very excited when someone brought in a Marvel annual, the first we’d ever seen."

I've got that Marvel annual! Felt a little childish shiver of excitement when I clicked on your link. It's still up in my mum's loft somewhere. I'm going to have to dig it out next time I visit her.

I'm tempted to say that reading it never did me any harm – but I'm sure it did, somehow, in some subtle way I'm not 'progressive' enough to understand…

David

Tom,

I’ve got that Marvel annual! Felt a little childish shiver of excitement when I clicked on your link.

Heh. It’s funny what stays with you from childhood. I can’t remember what was in it – old black and white reprints of very early issues, I’d imagine – but the cover made a big impression at the time. It seemed incredibly realistic. Now, I just wonder why Dr Banner was wearing an orange shirt with purple trousers.

David

Ah, here we go. Apparently, it featured Spider-Man’s first meetings with the Scorpion and the Terrible Tinkerer, Hulk versus the Toad Men and their invincible magnetic powers, and the Fantastic Four up against Kurrgo and his robot.

Blimey. Mind-bending stuff.

Stuck-Record

The answer's easy.

Simply have your children play at shooting kneeling prisoners in the back of the neck. When Ms Politically correct hauls them in front of the committee, your child can explain that they were simply pretending to be Che liquidating the counter-revolutionaries.

No problem. Tick. Gold star.

Rob

"...Some children can be easily frightened by violent play which is often influenced by computer games and we feel that such games can have a harmful effect on young minds.”

I expect that if you asked a child which they were most afraid of, the invisible ray-gun or the group of bullies who were going to beat them up on the way home, the answer would be obvious to all except one of our "professional" educators.

As for psychological evaluations, is it possible to arrange for the entire school (adults) to have one?

Rob

" in deference to the passing of the man it clearly regarded as the leader of all progressive forces south of the Equator"

Which would be a terrific Grauniad error, as the country lies north of that line...

Rob

In his Twitter feed Mr E referred to a reference to "Jim Sillars' cock" being cut from the piece (as it were). I expect it was originally in this part:

"The ageing lions of the socialist vanguard are an evolutionary dead end, curiosities which once served a purpose but now are redundant, like my appendix, perhaps".

bgates

“Haydee Morales, vice president for education and training at Planned Parenthood of New York City, [told the Times that] the organization was ‘shocked and taken aback’ by the tone of the new campaign. ‘Hurting and shaming communities is not what’s going to bring teen pregnancy rates down,’ she added.”

Bring the rates down? Why, given that we are to be "shocked and taken aback" by a presentation of the reasons high teen pregnancy rates are undesirable, would anyone want to do that?

Spiny Norman

...the cover made a big impression at the time. It seemed incredibly realistic. Now, I just wonder why Dr Banner was wearing an orange shirt with purple trousers.

What about the shoes the soldiers are wearing? What the hell... ?

pst314

"We actively discourage children from playing violent games or games involving imaginary weapons"

Let's "actively discourage" leftists from inflicting their ideology on others. How any particular person interprets "actively discourage" is left to their imagination. :-)

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Quite. But many educators do seem overly fond of “treating” views that differ from their own, especially political views.

What they're really doing is grooming. They're grooming the children to believe that only certain views are acceptable to hold, and that it's appropriate to use the bullying violence of the State on people who refuse to hold such views.

And yes, I mean to use such a loaded word as "grooming". What these people are doing is worse than what the pedophiles are doing. Roman Polanski could only rape one girl at a time. But the people who are committing injustices like this are harming a much larger number of children in one go, in insidious ways that will last just as long as any memories of being fondled by a kiddie-fiddler.

Spruance

Well Florida at least actes decisively.

The comments to this entry are closed.