Junk-Free Schools Video Contest

25 09 2007

Calling All Young Filmmakers

The first Junk-Free Schools Video Contest is underway from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This consumer advocacy group seeks short videos that will help bring healthier foods to schools.The grand prize is a $100 gift certificate for iTunes and the winning video will be showcased at the CSPI school foods Web site.
Deadline is Nov. 1.
(via WaPo food/health columns)

God Bless America: School Fight Song for Our Times

25 09 2007

What an odd mix of politics, prejudice, socialization, schooling, private ignorance and public religion! Dawn found some real power of story in this one . . .and I feel a song coming on!

Perhaps in response to Rob Sherman’s atheist activism or his daughter’s recent (successful) campaign to get God Bless America off of the Homecoming Dance song list at her high school, the family evoked a response from the suburban Chicago community.

Their home was vandalized Friday night . . .

It’s a curious sort of counter-melody, isn’t it, for schoolkids to transpose GBA into this fight song key? God Bless America has been playing “good cop” to The Star-Spangled Banner’s bad cop, the song nobody can sing or wants played at their school dance or baseball game.

I learned as a schoolchild to sing gospel as popular music and not in church, while my guitar gently weeps: “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose.” Singing and dancing, too. So if there has to be just one song, something like this would make the most sense to me.

But if we must fight over god and country songs for the public school dance and make God Bless America a winner or loser, it seems to me that even between “believers” and ‘atheists” the discor-dance (pun intended) is more politics than religion. More about purposes of war and peace than heaven and hell. Flag and country today, not ancient prophecy of kingdoms to come in the end times.

God Bless America hit the charts as an armistice song celebrating peace, while The Star Spangled Banner was inspired by war — bombs bursting in air, rockets’ red glare, the Flag was still there — so which really suits the purpose of school “homecoming” — defending the homeland or homecoming for the troops, both, neither?

And sing out right now if you believe it’s unAmerican that we teach kids to believe in the lyric, “school homecoming” which surely is unworthy here in the Land of the Free. Maybe what homeschooling freedom fighters really need for their time and purpose, is a stirring and easy-to-sing anthem about coming home, rather than those droning responsive readings from the dictionary. . .

Guess what happened to my senior prom? It never happened at all, canceled by song-fighting. We the diverse and contentious student body of a recently desegregated public high school, couldn’t agree on which band would play what kind of dance music (white or black, basically) and the obvious compromise of having two bands — one at each end of the ballroom as we’d done for the junior prom — hadn’t solved anything and wasn’t any fun. The one thing it turned out our schooling gave us in common then, was learning that lesson the hard way.

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