Messages at School From T-Shirts to Serious HATS

29 08 2009

Do you have a serious hat-wearer in your circle of menfolk? Quite unexpectedly (to me) Young Son is such a fellow.

Although he does love literary and theatrical costumes, he also has a serious workaday hat, a medium-brown fedora, that became part of his real-life persona before the Mad Men craze brought serious hats back to serious television.

Young son as Richard III at Summer of Shakespeare camp, Tallahassee Democrat, July 28, 2009

Young Son rehearsing as Richard III, SAIL Summer of Shakespeare

Essay: In Praise of Serious Hats:

The serious hat is not a masquerade, not a goof . . .The serious hat is the opposite of a disguise. It is a working piece of clothes and an adjunct of character. . . a hat does have psychological power.

A man places the thing just on top of his brain, and the one takes emanations from the other.

Now, as a general rule schools do not like hats. I know this not merely from my own school administrator background but more colorfully because when Favorite Daughter took elementary/middle classes at the school system’s gifted resource center here, the female Captain Queeg of a principal reportedly roamed the halls and sidewalks obsessively snatching off any headgear in reach with the memorable message, “Gimme that hat!”

FavD and her friends would tell me these stories chortling over the punchline, and vowing that when they reached the end of their eligibility and were leaving campus for the last time, they would use her own words to send HER a message, presenting her as a group with, yes, a customized T-SHIRT! — emblazoned with her own three word, all-purpose principal-principle message for school.

Gimme that hat, hahahahhahaha. . . . (girls fall in a heap laughing helplessly)

I thought then and still do, that for these smart and culturally savvy girls, this absurdly irrelevant authoritarian message had extra entertainment value due to its temporal context, IOW its real-world incongruity. Consider that their years as students under “Gimme that hat” as prime learning directive, spanned September 11, 2001, when for any Thinking Parent or Principal, deadly serious school security concerns surely would have topped a priority list that if addressed in proper order, could never reach all the way down to hats serious or otherwise.

So let us review what we’ve learned. T-shirt messages at school are powerful enough to disrupt the learning environment. Hats at school are even more powerful; a serious hat can send a disruptive message with no words at all!

But don’t stop there. Let’s put on our serious thinking caps and take it beyond hats and t-shirts to all the serious message wars at school. Read the rest of this entry »