Sad but true, gifted kids like horses are looked in the mouth

6 09 2007

. . .or something like that!

So the power of this story is that given enough nature, you get no nurture at all?

“Ms. Fish,” he said, “Could you please not tell our teachers next year who the GT kids are until a few weeks into school? That way we can at least get called on when we raise our hands for a short time…”

The other kids in the group immediately chimed in with their agreement to his request.

Perhaps part perception, part reality, but their explanation was a bit heart wrenching. The kids all said (as it seems to them, at least) that once the teachers (not all of them, but at least some of them) know who the gifted kids are in the class, they quit calling on them when they raise their hands. . .

More gifted and talented woes from the new school year here, in case you missed it the first time around.

And this just in! Tiny Cat Pants objects to homeschool mom and former school board member Kay Brooks saying high school should be for the brightest kids, who really want and need it academically. Auntie B seems to think everybody BUT the whitest, brightest kids need and deserve public schooling, talk about class warfare:

We’re going to look at twelve and thirteen year old kids and decide that educating them is a waste? . . .This is about keeping poor people in their place, denying us the educations we need to better our lives, in order to keep us stupid, compliant, and disenfranchised. The public school system, for all its problems, is a powerful tool for equality.
I can only assume that’s why some folks are working so hard to undermine it at every turn.

Sigh. I don’t think she heard a thing Kay really said or meant, over that agenda bell ringing in her ears.
I’m neither liberal, conservative nor (anything but culturally) Christian, but I was and continue to be academically gifted and talented. I learned (IN PUBLIC SCHOOL all right, through endless remediation!) that “equality” is downright wicked when it resorts to bringing down the top, rather than lifting up the bottom. Kinda like working, childless young feminism would subjugate SAHMs and homeschoolers to set us “free” to march in step with their agenda “for” us — now there’s a lesson in public socialization and identity politics masquerading as education, hard for any education-loving, thinking person to forget or forgive.

What we do know (not hypothetically or rhetorically) is that the kids being looked straight at, and then discouraged from participating in their own “public” education — those being made to feel that educating them is a “waste” –are the gifted kids, who really want the education for its own sake because like the gifted writers, musicians and/or artists they also tend to be, they MUST think and learn, create and express; it’s not an option any more than breathing is a choice. Here I am talking about real education experiences, not schooling and not mere conscription to some public agenda. Not drilling and killing, schooling and testing and shuffling — education! Academics for the thrill of it! They are kids being shut out of a real high school education, not allowed to participate to the best of their ability and yet not fully supported by the “public” in getting better education elsewhere.

Maybe THEY are the ones who grow up pissed off enough not to ever listen again, once they escape into the real world and finally start to get called on. Maybe they’ve been well- socialized to never shut up again once they get their chance, and who could blame them? Was Tiny Cat Pants (poor or not) a gifted kid herself, and Amanda Marcote, hmmm . . .

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37 responses

6 09 2007
nm

I’m not sure how you get “ignore the gifted kids” from anything Aunt B wrote at Tiny Cat Pants. She did say “don’t throw out the kids who aren’t gifted,” but that is something quite different. There’s an interesting discussion going on over there about learning styles and about whether autodidacts miss out on parts of education; maybe you’d like to take part?

6 09 2007
Alasandra

Well there is always lets break them into groups and we will give the whole group the grade even though only one of the kids in the group did the work.

I always hated that. Of course if you complain about it you get told you aren’t a team player.

6 09 2007
JJ

Hi nm, I appreciate the invite and if it’s autodidacts doing the talking, instead of y’all pronouncing what they must be missing, I might get over that way. I hope you can see my point and yours are the same –I can’t see how Aunt B gets public school underminer with her jackboot on the neck of poor kids, from anything KAY actually wrote.

Kay Brooks is, I believe, dedicated to better public schools pretty much fulltime these days. I often disagree with her conservative views on schooling and education but I would never doubt her heart for all kids, nor her unflinching honesty and unselfish roll-up-her-sleeves work ethic to make the world a better place. One certainly is free to critique her views on education without knowing her and understanding she isn’t just shooting off her mouth, but perhaps a bit of evidence is handy before impugning another person’s motives as anti- poor kid and equality, especially with relish?

We have interesting discussions too, among evolved homeschoolers and thinking parents. (You should’ve been here when we were “discussing” Amanda’s essay dissing homeschool moms as unpaid domestic labor who undermine feminism and public schooling at the same time!)

6 09 2007
sam

It always seems to me, when people say “gifted kids” they tend to mean kids that are extremely good in one or two things, but I really don’t believe that there are gifted kids as such. I think that all kids could be considered gifted if we could just find the area where their particular style helps them be the best. Is a kid that naturally excels at chemistry more or less gifted than the kid that excels at sports or shop? I always feel that people who proclaim their kids are gifted are subconsciously trying to tell me their kids are better and more special.

6 09 2007
JJ

Right, that happens although in this post I wasn’t addressing it– here it’s a school-defined label that has been politicized like everything else about school, and therefore instead of helping kids learn the way they need and want to do, may hurt them and keep them down.

6 09 2007
nm

Well, I would suggest that saying “Hey, let’s talk about getting rid of public high school except for the most gifted kids” might make Brooks look like an underminer. She has been asked to clarify or expand on what she means, but so far she hasn’t done so. Whereas nowhere in what Aunt B wrote can I find any suggestion of ignoring the needs of gifted kids.

6 09 2007
JJ

Apparently only to someone whose idea of education is limited to mere school . . . no kidding, this started with Aunt B and Kay talking past each other and it is continuing the same way. Seems kinda pointless.

You don’t know me, but I’m entitled to the Lloyd Bentsen line and then some: I know education and school, education and school were friends of mine, and this is no education, probably not even school — “education discussion” even among professionals these days is mostly about partisan politics using kids to further various mutually exclusive if not mutually hostile agendae, to the kids’ detriment. The few people who actually are willing and able to think about how to EDUCATE kids rather than how to employ kids to their own advantage one way or another, in more progressive, liberated ways, just catch crap from all sides.

7 09 2007
JJ

Perspective on Tennessee Kay, academic JJ, conservative homeschool ideals and liberal public school ideals —
“Doctor Seuss, Doctor JJ and Power of Story for Life At the Highest Levels of Government”

7 09 2007
dolphin

Auntie B seems to think everybody BUT the whitest, brightest kids need and deserve public schooling, talk about class warfare

Wow, that is one hell of a statement to assign to somebody without quoting where they said it.

Nothing to see here folks, just another strawman…

7 09 2007
JJ

Aunt B didn’t quote Kay consiging all poor and unwhite kids to ignorant slavery by undermining the public schools either. She just “assumed” that was Kay’s goal in blogging the issue. There’s all sorts of selective vision through the ideology kaleidoscope —

7 09 2007
JJ

For any Tiny Cat Pants visitors seriously interested in education and public school issues, and how to discuss it all more effectively:

Discernment is called for. . . It stands to reason. . .

No marginalized group in history has gained a place at the table by telling the majority it is too stupid to live, or by closing its eyes and telling the majority you better damn well be gone before I count to ten. . .Until we realize the same thing and extend a far friendlier hand to the more reasonable representatives of the (most likely shocked and surprised) religious majority, we will be deservedly stuck on the margins.

And there’s this too, for the highly educated and well-disciplined neocortex.

7 09 2007
dolphin

Aunt B didn’t quote Kay consiging all poor and unwhite kids to ignorant slavery by undermining the public schools either. She just “assumed” that was Kay’s goal in blogging the issue.

Again you’ll have to quote if you’d like to be taken seriously. Aunt B assigned the following attribution to Kay: “Kay Brooks is championing the idea of doing away with high school for most people, saving it only for ‘for the very brightest of students.’ ” And that is precisely what Kay was doing per an honest reading of her post. Do you disagree?

Beyond that, Aunt B was talking about a larger issue that Kay’s post sparked in her mind (if you’d bothered to read her post, you’d know this. After the first sentence she makes it clear that she’s addressing “America” about “an idea”). She used Kay’s post as a jumping off point into an issue then never mentioned Kay again.

You on the other hand have said that Aunt B (specifically) “seems to think everybody BUT the whitest, brightest kids need and deserve public schooling.” So I’m asking you to put up or shut up. Quote what Aunt B specifically said that you interpreted to mean that we ought to kick bright kids out of school.

There’s all sorts of selective vision through the ideology kaleidoscope

Undoubtedly. That’s why I’m looking forward to you acknowledging that your vision was clouded by your ideological kaleidoscope when you slandered Aunt B, OR provide me with an exact quote from Aunt B saying we should kick smart kids out of school, so that I may see how my vision was clouded by mine.

7 09 2007
JJ

GOOD comment over there just now btw, stimulating my synapses.
🙂

From “bridgett” — comment number 102.
. . .we might consider this very conversation as
a) a regular feature of public life that is designed to be self-perpetuating (230 or so years and we’re still not happy with the education system!)

b) a valuable part of our civil discourse and national imagination, and

c) reflective of the enduring success of our educational systems in creating thoughtful, committed, concerned, and articulate critical thinkers.

7 09 2007
JJ

To dolphin — I’ve been responsible for my own intellectual rigor since I was oh, about the age you sound like with this posturing. You sound oddly like the nerdy but nice middle school boys I used to play in a beginning jazz combo with, as a fellow beginner even though I was old enough to be their grandmother (well, almost) — like you haven’t grown into your own politics or vocabulary quite yet. Are you a boy, perhaps, among women? Did YOU want to be taken seriously by public education professionals, school board members, and home educating parents who have educated themselves intensively in these policy issues? If so you might want to establish a credible body of work and drop the puppy-nip personalized pomposity. Are you intellectually mature enough to be online by yourself in these rough and tumble days?

7 09 2007
dolphin

JJ,

All dime-store psychology and personal insults aside (humorous that you feel the need to insult me, yet I’m the whose maturity is in question?), you’ve still neglected to provide a quote or answer my question.

I’m not interested in what age/maturity/gender/background you suppose you know about me. You’ve made a powerful claim against another person. I’m interested in hearing the well-reasoned and researched evidence you have to support your claim. Other than that you can feel free to leave out the insults and childishness. If you prefer them, that’s fine, you can feel free to use them to, that’s just hasn’t been my thing for awhile now so I’ll be moving on if that’s the case.

7 09 2007
JJ

Doc (also an academic doctor, fyi to any other young pontificators who stopped in expecting homeschool moms to be drooling racist barefoot dropouts due a good scolding from a stranger) has a new post up, “First Day of ‘School’ ” about high school failing her daughter’s boyfriend, so they’re taking his education on as a family project. This would be shocking if, well, you know, there was anything shocking about it . . .

what a great thing for all of you….but especially for that young man…too bad his educational story isn’t rare these days…
so many kids end up with his level of education by the time they leave high school…

anyhow, good luck on the school year ahead…it should prove to be very interesting for you all.

FavD is indignant about how public school failed her BF, too. I’m sensing a theme worth exploring, anyone else having this experience? At the moment I can’t think of any of FavD’s friends getting the education I know they want and deserve, especially the handful of academically gifted ones and all the males, but most of the girls too. Worse, what they ARE getting from our massive investment in public schooling seems disabling rather than merely inadequate, counterproductive habits of mind and profoundly disturbing misunderstandings being entrenched.

7 09 2007
JJ

The state of young liberal blogging looks worse than I’d thought — critical thinking has been supplanted by the schoolyard, and I’m not talking about education.

Kay, are those chips on the shoulder being fitted as part of the public school uniforms now?

7 09 2007
Nance Confer

I always feel that people who proclaim their kids are gifted are subconsciously trying to tell me their kids are better and more special.
***
Maybe they are. Not more special, of course. But better. At doing the sort of things valued by a system that values things that may not be all that valuable most of the time. Or only at very special times.

If you let that system measure and determine the worthiness of your child, well. . . I feel sorry for the child. . . this is coming, btw, from a Mom who went through the rigamarole of having my oldest child tested, evaluated, poked and prodded to find out what everyone already knew, that, wadda ya know, he IS bright, he does need G&T classes. And that, no, nothing really substantive would be available for years. We started hsing and never looked back. Younger child did not have to endure the procedures I okayed in my ignorance.

And yet parents are often so helpless seeming — check out the Mom in this article that has been stuck in my craw today —
http://blogs.trb.com/features/family/parenting/blog/2007/09/fcat_does_not_equal_education.html

What will her daughter say when she reads this years from now?

Nance

7 09 2007
JJ

The principal pops her head in the classroom to cheerily tell us parents that this teacher was responsible for ten children scoring the top score of 6 on the FCAT writing exam last year. She’s just great, the principal says. The best in the school!

You know what? I don’t care what my kid gets on that test. I’d prefer that she enjoy expressing herself writing. I’d like for her to be challenged to think creatively. I wish her teachers might at least try not to suck the last bit of pleasure she takes in learning right out of her.

Nance, do you remember Pam Sorooshian’s work with bright unschoolers on how to pass this standardized writing garbage without losing all will to live and learn? Any chance you have a link or two handy, or Pam, are you around?

7 09 2007
Nance Confer

Sorry, I thought Pam was the math guru. 🙂

But Google helps — http://sandradodd.com/teen/writing — encouraging words!

I couldn’t find anything that looked like what you remember though. . .

Nance

7 09 2007
JJ

Right, math professor careerwise but EDUCATION wise, she figured out some formula easily taught to unschooled kids who were terrific but not “standard” writers, just to pass the stupid formulaic writing tests. (Definitely not taught to them as great writing!)

I’ll poke around NHEN or just write her (in a concise five-paragraph essay if need be. . .)

Thanks though, you’re right that this is good stuff too, and not just about schooled writing:

If you’re comparing to things you see coming out of schooled kids, that’s not fair because they’re generally following a format or template provided by the teacher. And they’re writing drafts, getting comments and suggestions by a teacher, and rewriting. And HATING every minute of it.

And it is all mostly a big huge waste of time because the kids are learning that WRITING IS HARD and MISERABLE and nobody in their right mind would do it unless it was forced on them. THAT is the big lesson learned and, as Frank Smith says, when something is really learned, it is very very difficult to ever unlearn it.

Pam Sorooshian

8 09 2007
JJ

Kay’s latest should make her meaning clear for even the most juvenile pc-ps partisan —

“Regarding ‘cut them loose’: I mean freedom from the compulsory education law.

If we can decide on what is a basic education and a student attains that…I don’t see why they cannot be out from under a law that heretofore recognizes their age over their accomplishment. If the purpose of the compulsory attendance law was to facilitate education–once that education is achieved why does the attendance law still stand? Who does it benefit then?

8 09 2007
JJ

About mandating what the public decides is “good” for all kids through compulsory public schooling, from FL’s capital city newspaper (unabashed cheerleader for public education as the Great Equalizer, heck, its name is The Tallahassee Democrat) back in 2004:

“Kids need a break to stretch or run or play ball. But if they just want to sit in a corner and read, that’s fine, too. Some day they’ll get into exercising.
Or they won’t.
But if they do, it will because of personal choice
not a state requirement . . .”

Exercise mandates never work
by Gerald Ensley, Staff Columnist
TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT

Let us review:

In 1955, a highly publicized report to President Eisenhower created alarm about the lack of physical fitness among American children. That led to creation of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and 50 years of efforts under nine U.S. presidents to put some muscle on American children.

Baby boomers will recall President Kennedy’s fitness test, in which we had to meet standards in chin-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Later generations had fewer tests, but were treated to the concern of some famous coaches and athletes:
George Allen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom McMillen, Florence Griffith Joyner and Lynn Swann all took turns as head of the president’s council.

The result? American children are in the worst physical shape they’ve been in since the dawn of the republic (if you believe the doomsayers). They spend too much time eating fast food and playing video games instead of eating apples and playing outside.

Oh well, here comes the Florida Legislature to make it all better. A bill is now pending to make physical education classes – P.E., as we called it –
mandatory for children in grades K through 8 and to require two credits of P.E. in high school.

It sounds like a great idea. But governmental fiats about exercise haven’t worked for 50 years. Why issue more now?
(snip)
When I was growing up, P.E. was mandatory. And I loved P.E. You got to play volleyball and softball, and didn’t have to take tests.

But P.E. was fun because I liked sports and exercise. I never saw it change the minds of the kids who didn’t. I never saw the light go on for the kids who always had an excuse for not dressing out or those who stood around bored until it was time to go back in.

Good health is important. But you can’t legislate it. Kids like exercise or they don’t. And lots who don’t come to like it as adults, when they have more control over the conditions (such as not being picked last for teams or playing games of their choosing).

You no more set a lifelong course of exercise with school P.E. classes than the sixth-grade science fair turns us all into rocket
scientists. . .

8 09 2007
JJ

Nance, do you have the sense that this “cut them loose” thing sounds scary and even offensive to the um, young adult liberal crowd, because they simply can’t imagine what life could be like without a government mooring and 24-7 government oversight of family time?

And/or — do you think the phrase would evoke other feelings and imagination-rich possibilities as “cut loose” rather than being cut loose? If they felt it was being set free rather than adrift?

9 09 2007
Nance Confer

I have the sense that the type of person posting at TCP is such a dyed-in-the-wool (possibly a phrase from before their time 🙂 ) bleeding-heart liberal with all the more-current-than-my-indoctrination-as-a-bleeding-heart PC concerns that any attempt to change the hard-won help for the folks they are concerned about is met with fierce resistance. Whether or not it should be.

I have the sense that any change is seen as dangerous because the progress they have achieved so far — or others have achieved and they want to protect — has not been around that long.

I have the sense that they have only very recently moved up the Maslow ladder — http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhmasl.html — or, if not them, the parties they are concerned about — and are not yet settled in enough — if they ever will be under the current circumstances — to look around and realize they can do better.

I don’t think it is freedom that is scary. I think they think the current ps system is freedom. And the idea of losing it is scary.

And I think they can become braver in their view of things but it will take a long time.

Nance

9 09 2007
JJ

Which lends weight to the original point — that schooling can’t educate youth! 😉

School can train it like a puppy, contain and control it, but not educate it. Make it poop on schedule and only on the newspaper. 🙂 Maybe brainwash it, shame it, put little gold stars on it and pretend school created the people, not the other way around. School as Stockholm Syndrome, get the kids to identify with their captors and emulate them.

Human growth and development (physically and psychologically) takes time, and while broad stages can be described for a population, for each individual it is idiosyncratic and largely beyond any government’s ability to start up, speed up, slow down, stop or shame away. The culture does all that and it’s real, not academic.

Are “we” as a people capable of learning and teaching that one basic lesson about how the human mind works and how group psychology messes with it? If not, maybe we shouldn’t be quite so sure of our own pronouncements about what’s “correct” to do by public force, to everybody else’s minds, hearts and bodies.

Favorite Daughter is 17 and completely without high schooling of any kind, yet her psychology is more mature and her liberal education more advanced than the tiny cat-erwalling of 20-somethings schooled to believe in their own schooling as education, even though school is more coincidence than cause of any education earned while growing up.

FavD learned (without schooling) all about the Power of Story and the Logic of Failure, for instance, so nyah-nyah name-calling doesn’t pass as issues analysis or even good conversation with her — it’s years beneath her educational level already.

Obviously then, high school is neither necessary nor sufficient to youth learning such lessons. 😉

Babysitting, socialization, crowd control, OTOH — sure, kids do need to be kept physically and psychologically safe until they can mature fully and fend for themselves in a tough world. And sometimes society feels the need to be kept safe from them, un-pc as that sounds to “good-student” youth.

I wouldn’t call any of that education. Parenting? Not for nothing then, that schools were conceived in loco parentis? So why can’t we just leave it at that, a vital social service for those whose own parents can’t or won’t do the whole job of raising their own young? (I don’t have “correct” answers like the kids were taught to believe they do, but at least my questions are educated rather than schooled!)

I just reread the Calgary Sun article Kay posted to start all this backlash (the one that sent Aunt B into pc-ps defense mode) and it lends weight to your take on it, Nance.

And now there’s Tiny Cat Pants’ “On Not Being Nice” which led tothis, in which it almost sounds like young feminist commentary “gets it” but doesn’t quite know what to DO with it yet . . .
I admire brave, articulate, introspective young feminism but wonder why, if it can see this mob mentality to beat up individuals, then how can it — in the same breath from the same young women even — beat up Kay or me or Nance? How can we be attacked as evil underminers for doing exactly what young feminist bloggers do, when we write individually about our own thoughts from our own perspective, about the same political problems young feminism sees, trying to imagine how the world could be a better place by connecting ideas a bit differently, telling our own stories and using our own words to do it?

This has happened to me and to similarly mature and evolved homeschool blogger moms like Nance and Doc (not counting Greg Laden and cmf because they are guys supposedly, although their psychological immaturity did scream out through their “education!”) three times lately, counting this current foolishness. It happens just as described in the Jessica incident linked above.

The psychologically problematic part is that the very same young women who decry it, do it. And can’t or won’t see themselves doing it. Kinda like politicians moralizing to the public about sacrifice and self-discipline while sneaking around themselves– when *I* do it, it’s completely different!
Cognitive psychology. Maybe we could add some into the standard high school curriculum . . .

9 09 2007
JJ

Whew, good thing wordpress is free, what a longwinded comment! 🙂
I should’ve just said they seem to clutch the chains that bind them.

9 09 2007
Nance Confer

And as much as it pisses people off who are younger than some of us, aging and experience can help. But that doesn’t mean they’ll listen. They have to have their own experiences and see their own children suffer and then, maybe, make some sort of a change. Or not. Like the Mom in the FCAT story above. Maybe they remain trapped along with their children. And object to being told there are other options. Ah well. . .

Nance

10 09 2007
JJ

Ah well indeed.
We make the best decisions for our own families and try to persuade others to make better choices for their own.

But remember when we did the Teresa Heinz Kerry blog tour on women’s health and the environment? Standardized public schooling can be seen as environmental crisis — childhood plundered by political and corporate interests, strip-mining families and teachers and kids and whole communities in the name of business and politics as usual. Public SchoolThink has become an insidious environmental toxin that threatens us all, when it systemically harms generation after generation of the nation’s kids.

Lead poisoning — pronounced with a long ‘e’. School leadership has almost nothing to do with education anymore: “What’s the Matter with THOSE Guys?”

NPR is covering the NCLB reauthorization before September 30. I woke this morning to its report that the (white male Dem) ed chair, co-author and staunch supporter of NCLB for the past five years of misery inflicted on innocent nonpolitical folks everywhere, finally admits that the “mandatory” thrust and federal threat of it all went awry and needs some different mechanisms — as long as it remains tough with no loopholes! The (black female R) fed ed dept head insists if the public gets squeamish on the mandates, tolerant of children as more than their test scores, remembering education as liberal art rather than state workforce development, then political “stalemate would be better. . .”

(For whom? I’m pretty sure they’re not thinking about little kids throwing up on their high-stakes standardized test booklets or Rob Reiner’s grand plan to institutionalize toddlers in universal preschool. . .)

Maybe that summary makes Spelling sound like my villain du jour but there’s plenty of legit criticism for the whole carload of kid exploiters imo. Including we the public-schooled people as voters and taxpayers, because we apparently can’t do any better than this embarrassment as our nation’s “education governance.” Miller’s committee is “Education AND LABOR” — in other words, not really education but schooling, in practice public schooling primarily for employment. And in practice, public schooling primarily is about teacher employment now, not even preparing kids for good jobs later.

No Child Left Behind is not simply George W. Bush’s misguided policy; it is the product of decades of influences pushing in a particular direction—always, always with the guiding hand of business exerting its inexorable influence. . . For Patrick Shannon, the intersections of business, science and government during the last decade or so amount to a “perfect storm,” generating conditions that “keep even the best school in America in continuous triage activities to keep themselves afloat” (p. 165).

That was my whole career in education, folks. Continuous triage activities to keep ourselves afloat –

. . .It is impossible to read the historical material Shannon has compiled and not develop a sense of how intransigent some issues are, or of how long the weather conditions producing today’s perfect storm have been brewing. . .

p.s. Suppose this NCLB news story from Canada is right, and what these public charters do actually works for the most desperately disadvantaged kids, the ones we all worry about helping to learn. Different strokes for different folks — then will politics admit it and get OUT OF THE WAY?? (I’ve learned my lesson, not betting on it.)

“Most kids in most schools in most inner cities are not getting a good education. We want to show that they can.”

Lesson 2: The Schools
So how do Amistad and the others do it? By working hard and keeping the unions out.

13 09 2007
JJ

“Black Swan-Ugly Duckling School Software Found In Florida” — a post and comments about why we can’t even talk about SCHOOL, with young people schooled so thoroughly to know what they know, rather than unschooled to know what they don’t.

13 09 2007
JJ

I just got my hair cut. My young stylist Juliet is an artist and color expert, and lots of fun. When I walked in today, she had done one side of her dark hair in an electric pink crown of wispy hair that made me think of pink feathers. I love it! I said. So we talked idly about that as one does with one’s hair-cutter, about what had inspired her to the new look, how I enjoyed living vicariously through her experimenting and probably a lot of her clients do. 🙂

She said she was glad I saw it that way, because some people disapproved of her unusual looks. But she refuses to limit herself by public opinion, and just do what the public wanted her to do with her hair, ask her boss and parents and the clerk at Starbucks and then only do what they voted for.

So then we made a joke about how ugly that would be anyway, if you polled everyone and had them point to the particular color swatch each would choose, and then dumped all their responses into a vat and dyed your hair with the (no doubt disgusting mud color) that would result. Even the people you polled and were trying to please, and whose collective advice you had followed exactly, would hate it. And point and cluck, and say that wasn’t what they meant.

Like standardized testing, I said. Break all the learning down into little bits of statistical achievement data, and never ask yourself if the end result is education or just MUD. A whole self-perpetuating swamp of it. . .

And that’s when we flashed on politicians, specifically Congress. That absurd exercise is what they rinse and repeat endlessly, to get elected and stay elected, isn’t it? Rather than being creative in their own style and letting us approve or disapprove of them for that, they poll us on each little question and mix it all into one disgusting, toxic chemical and then burn us (and their own scalps) with it, and wonder why we don’t applaud their new look? Creativity and style are DEAD in politics, it looks like. I could give them Juliet’s number but I don’t think she’d have much patience with them. . .

13 09 2007
Nance Confer

It sounds like she’s too busy getting on with what they should be trying to do! 🙂

Nance

13 09 2007
JJ

Some of them do still have enough hair to turn streaks of it pink or green, I guess, now that there are so many women. . .and Edwards has a lot of hair, and he’s young, and doesn’t mind spending money on it, or so we hear. Why shouldn’t he go for his own style instead of that standard politico helmet-hair?? 😉

The bald guys could do little temporary tatoos on their pates, maybe?

13 09 2007
JJ

Maybe this is a good place to wrap up this thread, with the following rhetorical (and ironic) line from Aunt B over at TCP, that applies to so much everywhere:
“Why are you attacking your allies instead of your enemies?”

14 09 2007
The Waning of I.Q. Makes Room for Arts (and Individual) Again « Cocking A Snook!

[…]Sad but true, gifted kids like horses are looked in the mouth – – – High School Is a Zoo! […]

16 09 2007
“Helping the Sense of the Homeschool Conversation” « Cocking A Snook!

[…] certainly not warm and fuzzy and better suited to school than homeschool rhetoric– witness Tiny Cat Pants! — and seriously, is there any politically correct insistence of any sort, that helps the […]

19 10 2007
JJ

Dear Kay,

Talk about blaming the victim! A roving band of young agitators lie in wait for an older woman they know in their real community, singling her out for their gangbang because she’s a member of a hated group — Christian conservative women –and dump lighter fluid rhetoric on her, call her everything in the book: hateful, deranged, horribly wrong, preposterous, flippant, incredibly dangerous, beyond tasteless, spewing, ranting, headed in exactly the wrong direction.

Wrapped up in a not-so-vague threat that her opinions would get her attacked in public, by the public as mob justice, and she would deserve it! (So she’s asking for it?)

That’s what was heaped on Kay at home, on her OWN blog — not after she foolishly walked alone in a notorious Tennessee park, certainly not because she went out looking for it. What they do to her in their own litterblog huddled together mewling at the top of their kitten-lungs for attention is worse, indignantly blaming their victim as they kick and punch her in effigy — see “Who Does Kay Brooks Hate More, Men or Women?”

Did she deserve it then? Could she have prevented it by being more ladylike, less outspoken, staying home with her opinions and not crossing the bad and the ugly? Are these self-absorbed young “feminists” any different (in their irrational PC rantings, biology isn’t supposed to matter, remember?) than the testosterone-oozing troll “cmf” and his father-figure mad scientist master, who viciously blame the innocent homeschoolers they single out for all the spewed insults and deliberate blows aimed at them? I’d be interested in seeing a well-reasoned argument that they are, because I haven’t got one myself.

Like stereotypical wife and child abusers, they patiently instruct Kay about what she could do to protect herself from their attacks as they continue to whack her. She should just answer the question! (They’ll keep repeating it until she gets it right and stops their abuse. It’s up to her of course, she brought this on herself.) Don’t say anything that makes the avengers mad. If she doesn’t want to be wailed on, then she just shouldn’t provoke anyone.

Sorry I didn’t get it before, Kay, but this mewling litter of kittens in tiny pants must know you locally and sharpen their tiny claws on you regularly? So it’s familiar, domestic — maybe you serve as some sort of mother-teacher figure (or Christian strawmom?) for them to rebel against, test their torches and lungs and legs and limits, see how far they can take it before they self-destruct in their own juvenile self-righteousness?

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