If Your Kid’s in Trouble at High School, Be Proud!

4 06 2010

Well, when you hear that coming from the morning teevee newstalk, what kind of unschooling parent would you be if you didn’t stop to hear more?? 😉

It was John Waters, the individual’s individual who made the movie Hairspray (snooked here). He’s got a new book out called “Role Models” and said the individuals he chose to write about are all rulebreakers, that each in their own ways they led “extreme lives and got in trouble” (and eventually transcended those rules to become great) — even the Catholic saint he prayed to as a child, because she “sucked roots and spit” and “she hung around with bad popes.”

[I Googled her and she was a lot crazier than just that!]

It was pure Power of Story: “You learn to see it the way they’re telling it and it changes how you think about everything!”

“I don’t like rules of any kind,” he says. “And I seek people who break rules with happiness — and not bringing pain to themselves.”

About how well it worked out for his heroes, he said admiringly that Johnny Mathis was beyond fame, beyond race, never got hassled even though in the 50s he was singing about girls making out. . .[these were] people who didn’t fit in and didn’t want to fit in, and were better people for NOT fitting in. Indeed, for being “bizarre” and sometimes even “insane.”

[UPDATE: apparently early atheism lobbyist Madalyn Murray O’Hair is among his book’s role models, too, despite her complete lack of mention to the Morning Joe crowd, hmmm . . .]

And GOP lawyer-politician host Joe Scarborough, conservative tea party sympathizer, was agreeing with all this, no hint of irony! Somehow he fancies himself a rebel and traditionalist simultaneously. (We’ll think more about that later.) He blathered on about bumper stickers and tv commercials, saying things like: “Women who behave never make history” (bumpersticker). and “Think Different” (old Apple ad) and “Can you name a great writer, artist, musician who led a predictably safe middle-classs life?” (Isn’t that what Joe is still living and profiting from, though?)

Waters doesn’t just mean school rules but all social constraints and conventions. Love despite our differences being more moral than not loving because of them. On gay marriage, he told Terry Gross:

“I understand wanting gay marriage. I would never vote for somebody who was against gay marriage. [But] I purposefully have no desire to imitate a rather corny tradition of heterosexuals to me. I would owe three alimonies. I basically think that it’s more fun to go against the rules … to make up your own rules. Sexual confusion is fun. ‘Heteroflexibility’ is something that really makes me laugh, that term. And kids today are like that; you don’t have to be gay or straight. They don’t care, really. And I like that.

I think it’s funny and more liberating in a way. It’s sexual anarchy, which is exciting.”

Joe’s co-host Mika never connected all this to the rewards she’s reaped from her traditionally even-featured blonde good looks, high metabolism and dress, nor to how she’s squandering all that on her safe targets like working motherhood and some strangely prissy personal war against obesity. Too bad. Having been both traditionally model-like and quite hefty, both penny-pinching aspirational and well-paid for being well-turned out, I easily connect it:

“I actually enjoy being in the position I’m in, because being on the red carpet and not looking like the other four girls next to me kind of makes me feel good about myself. It almost gives me a little more confidence, my size and my stature….”

Non-standard thinking presents similar challenges to non-standard looks. Are there Hairspray-like fixatives for intellectual confidence too?

Seems John Waters does too, perhaps even without realizing his favorite childhood saint suffered from the opposite culture-induced pathology to Mika’s big concern:

Anorexia mirabilis literally means “miraculous lack of appetite.” It refers almost exclusively to women and girls of the Middle Ages who would starve themselves, sometimes to the death, in the name of God. The phenomenon is also known by the name inedia prodigiosa (“prodigious fasting”).[1]



3 responses

4 06 2010
Crimson Wife

He was interviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air” last night, too. Very interesting to hear him talk about his influences. I never would’ve pegged him as a Johnny Mathis fan in a million years.

4 06 2010

Our wedding first dance was to “Chances Are.” 🙂

20 08 2010
We Need to Sing Our Epics or Lose Them « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Florida and his “creative class” plus meaningful movies from Milk and Mindwalk to Hairspray and Madagascar, not to mention Harry Potter and Stanley Fish, plus the leading science lights of […]

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