Thursday, September 3, 2015

Of Chickens and Roosts

Here We Go...

The school year has just started, and already stories of absurd school-related contretemps are starting to pop up. I'm something of a connoisseur regarding such stories, and they'll be a frequent topic of conversation (and mockery) on this blog throughout the school year. You've been warned.

Hillsboro High School, Missouri
So on Monday, more than 100 students walked out of Hillsboro High School in rural eastern Missouri in protest of a senior student by the name of Lila Perry announcing "her" intention to use restrooms and locker rooms designated for female students.

Why did this announcement spark such a response? Well, Lila is not biologically female. Lila has a penis, in other words. Understandably, female students at the high school did not want to be forced to look at Lila's penis (remember when showing a woman your penis against her will was a crime?). And now, thanks to the ubiquity of communication technology, the whole country is involved in the issue of who does or does not have to look at Lila's penis at school.

Gosh, who could have seen something like this coming?

I think people could have figured that out without your help...

Anyway, for as long as I can remember public schools have been used as test beds for all sorts of trendy progressive theories about education, and about the young people those schools were intended to educate. The focus on "gender identity," a product of the 1960s, is just the latest progressive idea to be shoehorned into the public school system.

In her excellent book Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform, educational historian Diane Ravitch puts it this way:
Every perceived need, interest, concern, problem, or issue found a place in the curriculum or provided a rationale for adding new specialists to the school's staff. Once the hierarchy of educational values was shattered, once schools lost their compass, hawkers of new wares could market their stock to the schools. Every purveyor of social reform could find a willing customer in the schools because all needs were presumed equal in importance, and there was no longer any general consensus on the central purpose of schooling.
Diane's book was published 15 years ago, but anyone associated with the K-12 public education system knows her observation is, if anything, even more true today than it was then. Somehow, I managed to get all the way through my K-12 education without knowing or caring what anyone else's "gender identity" was. These days, however, that sort of un-progressive thinking is what the LGBT movement seeks to overthrow.

That this is mostly an exercise in narcissism is evident from Lila's response to suggested accommodations for her "identity."
I wasn’t hurting anyone. I didn’t want to be in something gender-neutral. I am a girl. I am not going to be pushed away to another bathroom.
In other words: Everyone else must kowtow to my delusion that I am a female, and I'm going to keep stirring up trouble until they do. It is all about what Lila feels, what Lila thinks, what Lila wants. Other female students who would prefer not to see Lila's penis on a daily basis are heartless oppressors, don't you see?

Meanwhile, we're not even entirely sure that catering to this particular delusion is
a good idea to begin with.

One would hope that some sensible adults will deal with the situation sensibly,
at Hillsboro and everywhere else it comes up, but since we're dealing with both progressive ideology and the public school system, I doubt that will be the outcome...

Things That Make Me Happy: Blowout Edition

After Tuesday night's disheartening 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium, my beloved Kansas City Royals bounced back in a big way last night, bombing the Tigers 12-1 in front of nearly 27,000 fans.

Young right-hander Yordano Ventura turned in another outstanding start, pitching seven innings while allowing only a single run on just five hits. He tied his career-high (set in his previous outing) with 11 strikeouts, and walked only one batter. His record improved to 10-7, 4.24 ERA. His ERA over his last five starts is just 1.13.

A game like this does not lack for offensive stars, and the Royals had plenty of them, including 2B Ben Zobrist, All-Star CF Lorenzo Cain, and DH Kendrys Morales, all of whom hit home runs. But the Star of Stars was rookie 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, who had a two-run single in the 2nd and a two-run home run (his first in the major leagues) in the 5th.

Rookie 3B Cheslor Cuthbert showing off his home run trot.
Nice game, rook...

Successful People

From the indispensable comic strip Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

So I was reminiscing a little bit this morning about my very first teaching gig, which led me to remember a particular colleague I enjoyed working with (the drama teacher), which led me to remember a particular show she directed that made a strong impression on me (a production of the one-act play Interview, by Jean-Claude van Itallie), which led me to recalling her clever use of music to enhance the show's theatricality (a technique I put to use myself when I began directing plays 18 years later), which led me to remembering the song she used in that production...

Today's send-off is that song, Elly Stone's performance of "Carousel (La valse à mille temps)," from the 1968 Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording of the revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Enjoy...

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