The Time is Now to be an Adult – Amanda Green

The Time is Now to be an Adult – Amanda Green

 

Yesterday, during a break from work, I hit Facebook like so many others do and came across a couple of articles that not only had me shaking my head but I have no doubt had my father spinning in his grave. There were any number of things he and I disagreed about, not the least of which was politics. One thing we did agree upon, however, was our love of books. He, even more than my mother, believed that the best way to educate yourself wasn’t to go to school. Books, to him, were the gateway to all knowledge. They gave you the foundation and then practical application gave you the mastery.

You see, my dad was an Okie who grew up during the Great Depression. (Of course, growing up in Ardmore, OK would be, in my opinion, the Great Depression but that’s another tale.) Unlike so many during that time, his father was able to make sure the family had a roof over its head. It wasn’t always the same roof. My father and one of his sisters were parceled out to their grandmother for several years because the family couldn’t afford all the kids. That left scars but, as adults, they learned that was probably the best thing the family could have done.

There was another benefit to spending those years with their grandmother. Neither my dad nor my aunt were in the best of health. They spent a lot of their time in bed, getting over the latest bout of illness. To pass the time, they read. The one treasure their grandmother had were her books. She had been born on the Trail of Tears. She had grown up dirt poor in Oklahoma before marrying their grandfather. Together they had farmed and raised their own family and he had taught her to read and she learned to love not only the escape fiction gave her but the knowledge non-fiction did.

That love for books was passed on to my aunt and especially to my father. It is a love he passed on to me. I was doubly fortunate because my mother also loves to read and together, she and my father made sure there were always books to read. More than that, they taught me the importance of reading books and stories that were written in times long past. They explained that the subject might make me uncomfortable and I certainly wasn’t supposed to embrace those uncomfortable or controversial ideas – unless I fully investigated them and believed in then and then I had better be prepared to accept the consequences. However, as they pointed out, reading about those times and idea was the only way to learn from them and make sure those mistakes weren’t repeated.

Unfortunately, in this day and age of political correctness and delicate flower egos, that is something that has been forgotten. That was brought home to me again yesterday.

The New York Post has reported on a school making the decision to ban The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This isn’t the first time the book by Mark Twain has been the center of controversy, either by being banned or being sanitized (the offending language being cleaned up and modernized). But, in many of those situations, the students involved were middle grade students. In this particular instance, the students were 11th graders.

“We have all come to the conclusion that the community costs of reading this book in 11th grade outweigh the literary benefits,” principal Art Hall said in a letter to parents.

What? Wait, it gets better.

Hall said students were challenged by the use of the racial slur, and felt the school was not being inclusive enough. . . “I do not believe that we’re censoring. I really do believe that this is an opportunity for the school to step forward and listen to the students,” Hall said.

The one redeeming fact from all this is that the book isn’t being removed from the school library. But what troubles me is that the administration is bending to the will of students about what should be taught. I get that they are uncomfortable with the use of the N-word. Hell, so am I. I was brought up with the knowledge that it was a derogatory word and shouldn’t be used. If either of my parents had heard me use it, they would have impressed upon me the error of my ways.

However, the word was used back when Twain wrote the book. The world was a different place than it is now and we need to learn from that world. Learn the history and society so we don’t repeat them.

But there is something else regarding this particular instance that bothers me, something I’m seeing more and more of. Instead of using Twain’s book as a learning experience, the school gave in to the “feelings” of the students. The administration didn’t want to make the students uncomfortable. Instead of teaching them that life will sometimes be uncomfortable, the lesson being given is that your feelings are more important than anything or anyone else.

This is very similar to what is happening in Dallas with regard to the name of one of the schools. In the 1950’s, around the time that the Supreme Court decided Brown v. the Board of Education, the Dallas Independent School District opened a new school. That school was named for John Bell Hood. For those unfamiliar with the name, Hood is best known for his military service to the Confederacy. Prior to that, he graduated from the United States Military Academy. He then served in the Army in California as well as Texas. But he will forever be tainted in the eyes of so many because of his loyalty to the Confederacy.

Earlier this year, students at Hood Middle School were given the opportunity to vote on whether or not they wanted to keep the name or have their school renamed. The reason? Quite simply it boiled down to whether or not they should commemorate the name of a man who served the Confederacy. Nothing else about his life was considered. Only those few years where he fought for a nation (legitimate or not) he felt loyalty to.

I don’t blame the kids in this. One of the current trends in this nation has been to erase not only the Confederacy but to shame everyone because of what happened so long ago. Yes, there was slavery in parts of what now comprises the United States. Yes, slavery is horrible. But let’s be real. It neither started in the US nor end here. Nor should those of us living now be held responsible for what our ancestors may or may not have done. But that’s not the point of this post.

Now, while I object to removing memorials to men and women simply because they took part in the losing end of the Civil War, I have no issue with Hood Middle School being renamed. Not because he was a general in the Confederacy but because he had no real ties to Dallas. From the best I can tell, the only connection Hood had with Dallas was he served with one of the then trustees’ grandfathers before the Civil War. That’s all. So yeah, let’s find someone with strong Dallas ties that can be used as a role model for our kids.

My issue with removing books like Huck Finn from the curriculum boils down to willingly blinding students to history. They need to see what they are taught in their history classes in the context of the time and learn from it. Will it always be easy and comfortable? No. But it shouldn’t be. We need that discomfort to help us remember the lessons.

More than that, where do we draw the line? Will we soon be saying, “Kids, we let you decide that you don’t want to read this book because it used a word you are uncomfortable with. Now there’s another group of kids who are uncomfortable with the language in this book. So we aren’t going to let that book be taught either. Oh and there are some of our students who aren’t comfortable learning algebra because they can’t catch on as quickly as others, so we won’t be teaching it any longer.”?

Yes, it seems far-fetched but is it really? We are reinforcing this idea in our kids that if they are uncomfortable with something, they need a safe place. Or they don’t have to read the item in question. Schools have actually quit assigning and/or grading homework because it makes those who don’t do it or don’t understand it feel bad. You don’t grade papers in class (remember those days when you would finish an assignment, hand it to the person in front or behind you and then everyone would grade the assignment right there?) because someone might be embarrassed by their grade.

When do we, as the so-called adults step up and start adulting? When do we tell our schools that their job is really simple: they are to educate our kids and prepare them for the real world, not the world of cotton batting and good feelz? When do we take the responsibility of making sure our kids know history and understand that the world today is different from the world of yesterday and why? When do we make sure they know about those times we never want to see repeated: slavery here and elsewhere, the Holocaust, etc?

I challenge you to talk to the average student attending public (or even private) school and ask them the cause for the Civil War. See if any of them can name, much less discuss, anything other than slavery. Then ask them to name the parties that made up the Axis and the Allies and ask about things like The Final Solution. Ask them about Korea and Vietnam. Or, even more telling in some ways, ask about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

I fear for this nation, not because of the current crop of politicians (although they are an issue in themselves) but because of the younger generation that believes their feelings are more important than anything else. How in the hell are they going to function in the real world where they won’t be the best at everything they do, where people will disagree with them and – gasp – might use language that makes them uncomfortable?

Look at what your local schools are doing and if, like the school mentioned in the article linked above, books are being banned because they might make kids feel uncomfortable because of the use of a word thought bad now but that was common at the time the book was written, demand a more adequate explanation than “they might be uncomfortable”. This is an election year. It is easy to forget that there are local elections as well as national ones. Most school boards are elected. Demand accountability from them and if they aren’t making sure the schools are teaching your children the way you think they should, replace them.

It is time for the adults to start adulting and that means teaching our kids that they aren’t special flowers all the time and that the world isn’t always going to coddle them.

388 responses to “The Time is Now to be an Adult – Amanda Green

  1. c4c

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    What’s worse is that these “adults” don’t want the kiddies feel uncomfortable about “those things” but are willing to make the kiddies feel uncomfortable when hearing that they (the kiddies) are racist/sexist/homophobic/religious fanatics for their “politically incorrect views”.

  3. However, as they pointed out, reading about those times and idea was the only way to learn from them and make sure those mistakes weren’t repeated.

    At one point I choose to read German about history in the first half of the twentieth extensively. I wanted to get a grasp on how a largely educated advanced industrial society could have behaved as they did. If such a repulsive thing had happened once in a (so-called) civilized society something like it might happen in the future. I believed that the only way to prevent this was to understand how it had occurred.

    A relative expressed the fear that, as I had been living in the southeast, I must have developed neo-NAZI/anti-Semitic sympathies to pursue such a disgusting subject. 😦

    • While I avoided the topic because I did not want to have to read more about the NSDAP, having had it shoved down my throat before grad-school. So I stopped my research in 1936 (which made sense for reasons related to my research topic as well.)

      Four years ago I started going back to that era. It’s still horrible. The Holodomor is as bad in some ways. Happily, no one has ever accused me of leaning neo-NAZI.

      • Mankind has proven on a number of occasions an amazing ability to be unkind.

      • Happily, no one has ever accused me of leaning neo-NAZI.

        How have you pulled that off. I get accused of that or worse all the time when people find out I vote Republican. I have had relatives (by marriage admittedly) accuse me of being a Nazi at Christmas when I admitted being a Republican when asked about the then current Nixon biopic. I was expected to appologize for how I reacted to him and thus caused a scene.

    • The Other Sean

      I wonder how many who accuse conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans of being Nazi’s support a self-described “nationalist socialist,” Bernie Sanders.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Sadly, they know nothing about what the Nazi called themselves so don’t realize what “National Socialist” means to knowledgeable people.

        Of course, they don’t understand what real Nazi would do to opponents because if they did, they’d know that we’re not Nazi.

        • “Did he really say that? Are you sure? Well, but Nazis weren’t really national socialists, they were fascists, which is a right wing ideology. Trump is a fascist.”

          I walked away.

          Yeah, thou shalt not argue with elders with memory loss is, I’m pretty sure, covered under Thou shalt honor thy parents. It’s not as if he’s going to be convinced of anything at this point. I haven’t been able to convince him I’m not a Republican after nearly two decades. (Do you think a dementia test for voting would be unreasonable?)

          • The problem with such would be getting it past, and in getting it right.

            I hear Democrats do a bang up job getting into ‘retirement’ homes to ‘help’ the elderly with filling in their absentee ballots.

            In the European Parliament, there was a serious attempt to pass legislation declaring belief in religion a symptom of mental impairment.

            Once you allow any such limitations on the franchise, who gets to decide someone can’t vote?

    • I visited one of the camps when I spent a semester in Europe. I went because a) I believe that you understand something better having seen it for yourself vs. having read about it or watched a documentary on it, and b) morbid curiosity because I’d heard rumors that one can “feel,” for want of a better word, evil in places like that.

      I had numerous classmates and professors suggest (no one out and out accused me) that I might have Nazi or neo-Nazi sympathies for wanting to do that. And several relatives expressed similar feelings after I returned to the States. I think my, ahem, passionate reactions to those “suggestions” probably convinced them that they were incorrect. No, nobody got hurt (except maybe some pansies’ feelings).

      BTW, yes, you absolutely can sense the evil that occurred in the camps. Going on eight years now and I still have nightmares about that place.

      • I visited Dachau, with my daughter – who was then about five years old. I was curious – and I wanted it to be an object lesson for her, about prejudice and anti-antisemitism.

        We both could feel the miasma about the place — she possibly more than I. (Not to go into creepy new-age territory, but she has been freakishly sensitive to certain places, from the time that she was a toddler. Don’t know why – and it’s not that she picks anything up from me, because sometimes she has had a reaction in a place that I have never been in and have know knowledge about.)

        We were there on a weekday mid-morning, with a light fog – and the thing that has always freaked my daughter out (she felt the same thing at Verdun, for example) was that it was quiet. No insects, no birds. It didn’t feel normal and ordinary until we got some distance away.

        And that was Dachau. What she would have picked up at a place like Auschwitz doesn’t bear thinking about.

        • I went to Mauthausen-Gusen. Not one of the more well-known camps, but it was the closest to where I was and the only one I could get to and return to our home base in a single day. It was a labor camp, but really the only difference between a labor camp and a death camp was that the inmates’ stay of execution was however long they could last performing back-breaking labor under insanely dangerous conditions while being fed starvation rations.

          From the moment I walked through the gate of the main camp, I started to feel this weight pressing down on my shoulders. Like I had an empty backpack on, and somebody began slowly filling it with sand. By the time I left 2-3 hours later, the weight was almost unbearable.

          And… let’s just say that while I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits or any of that stuff… I experienced things in the camp that I simply cannot explain any other way.

          • My daughter has the same reaction to certain places. Since I have a lot of imagination, I can write off my own feelings to … well, imagination and the overactive exercise of thereby… but my daughter — it’s different. On one occasion when she was still assigned to Cherry Point, she had a visceral reaction to the sign for a turn-off on a particular highway. It was to a town off the highway where there had been a particularly vicious skirmish in the Civil War. She didn’t find this out until much later.

            On another occasion -she was at 29 Palms for a field navigation exercise – and called me on her cellphone, because it was night – and she could see the right path that they were to take. It was glowing faintly in the dark, she said.

            There are things that certain of us can see and sense – I am glad that I can only see and sense them through an effort of imagination. Those who have that gift unwitting – that is truly frightening to contemplate.

            • I do my best to keep it turned off. the ability to turn it off was hard fought. It imapirs some things. I used to “see” when people were sick. Older son can do that, which will be handy, right? I also saw some people as… not precisely human, shall we say?
              I learned to turn it off. Unless I’m very sick or very tired. All I can say, if you see me running, there’s something to run from.

            • It’s odd (or Odd). I don’t get the creeps from places with known spirits present. But there are places (and a few people) that give me such a visceral reaction that I go into full defensive mode and start backing away slowly while looking for the proverbial large rock or firearm. I usually have to be alone, or slightly separated from other people while in a group, but whoa boy, when it hits, it’s very strong. And then there’s the other bits and pieces . . . “Second sight” runs in the maternal line, and apparently I got a hefty dose of it. Not fun.

          • I had a similar reaction when I visited the ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ Japanese work camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I’ve never experienced as potent a feeling of dread in my life, even under actual life-threatening conditions.(Possibly because I was too busy at those times to let my feelings come to the surface.)

        • Night & Fog — “Nacht und Nebel” — by Alain Resnais, (1955), 32 minutes.


          Find and watch the whole thing.

  4. I wonder if the same people would throw a hissy fit over Bowdlerizing Shakespeare, or banning Harry Potter.

    • One excuse given for intruding on Shakespeare is that it is being ‘translated’ it into modern English to make it more accessible. Mind you, they usually do not update certain bawdy sections, they loose them. Which confounds me as, while the powers want to prevent the hurt of certain tender feelings, forbid that feeling should be regarding an innocence about sex.

      • One excuse given for intruding on Shakespeare is that it is being ‘translated’ it into modern English

        According to my high school English Lit class, it’s already Modern English.

        • When I saw a video of Shakespeare done in the “original pronunciation” I found it quite a bit easier to understand than the way it is usually done. It sounded more like English being spoken with a funny accent rather than a completely different language.

          The first time I watched Branagh’s “Henry V” I had more luck understanding the French than the English.

          • Shouldn’t translating Shakespeare into Contemporary English be denounced as an act of cultural appropriation? As I understand it, the Gullah (?) culture on the S. Carolina barrier islands still properly speak the Queen’s English.

            Mind, if there were any contemporary writers halfway competent enough to translate I might be able to feign interest. “David Mamet’s Macbeth” could be fun.

            • OOOH…another reason for a time machine: Shakespeare’s lost Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross.

              I’d love to read his version of the motivational sales speech at the beginning.

              • Sigh. I’m ashamed of myself.

                I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to say that I didn’t see anything wrong with translating Shakespeare into Modern English… from the original Klingon.

                • Wouldn’t that risk crossing the threads (although perhaps crossing the political threads is the only way to stop Trump).

                  • It’s not like we’re using unlicensed nuclear accelerators when we cross the threads.

                    We have too much respect for the rule of law. Our portable nuclear accelerators are licensed.

              • It Could Be Verse

                Hear well; a contest shall be held hereforth,
                In which each man among you prove his worth;
                Should you attain the highest place a prize,
                The finest stagecoach; second takes home knives,
                The third man will receiveth for his chase,
                An order to forever quit this place.

            • I have heard that the Appalachian natives, while certainly not the Queen’s English, do have a dialect that Shakespeare could understand.

              • In the middle of the last century there were still residents on the Outer Banks of NC who were considered to speak in such a dialect — so much so that the British sent linguists to study them.

            • In rural New Mexico, there are towns where most of the people speak Castilian Spanish. Many of them were deported from Castile as “conversos” in the 15 & 1600’s.

      • I will admit that The Canterbury Tales are more ‘accessible’ than in Middle English. Shakespeare, on the other hand, is modern English.
        Perhaps rather than worrying about it being ‘accessible’, they should ponder that teaching children the skill to read unusual words, and the skill to look them up in the dictionary increases their ability to communicate, in not just Shakespeare, but in their lives.
        If you want accessible, try a comic book version. Easy to understand and never TL;DR.

        • Can also increase the accessibility by _listening_ to the Canterbury Tales in something close to the original pronunciation, rather than reading the old spellings it’s usually published in. Quite amazing how clearly it comes through.

          • In high school, we had to recite the beginning of the Prologue, based on a recording that was (at least supposed to be) in Middle English pronunciation. I thought it was easier to read.

            • A couple of years ago, I went to an SCA scribal class to be introduced to a hand from some 13th-14th c. grants patent. At the end, the instructor read the sample grant to us.
              Beautiful aural language, and intelligible with no more guessing than, say, a modern teenager or half of the ESL folks I’ve dealt with. No idea how accurately he’d reconstructed it, tho.

      • Yeah, because all that maders about Shakespeare is the story.

        If that’s all that matters we could just use Cliff Notes.

        Those “translations” into English are a real hot button for me. It is the only time I’ve wanted to burn a book (after reading the Chorus’s Prolouge to Henry V in “English translation”).

        • SJWs duly allow us to yap about sex. But of course we’re not allowed to say anything funny about it.

          • Or prefer heterosexual sex to homosexual sex.

            Given the “refusing women intercourse is reverse rape” and “not baking a cake is evil” memes how long before refusing an offer of homosexual sex is considered bad manners or worse illegal?

            • Not before the blowback on that crap happens. It will not be pretty on either side when it happens.

              • That worries me almost as much as the current trajectory. Anyone at all other is going to get lumped in, as angry people don’t make fine distinctions.

                • Given some of the company I keep I figure the blowback will kill a lot of people I know and maybe even me by splatter but very few people want to listen.

                • The folks on the coastal areas tend to forget that most of the guns, AND most of the infantry vets are from flyover country, including most of the veterans who have recent combat experience.

                  • A man in a post-apocalyptic novel heads to Seattle for survivors. wtf?

                    • Yep. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

                    • That isn’t actually THAT bad of an idea– the winters aren’t too rough, and there is a lot of food, relatively speaking.

                    • But it’s not grown in Seattle. What will be left when the swarm of hungry millenial drones starts leaving the city when everything breaks down?

                    • Moving down due to hitting wall.

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      I’m picturing a swarm of quadcopters roaming the countryside, sucking jerrycans dry…. I know that’s not what you meant.

                    • They won’t make it far. The bodies would start ten miles outside of the city limits. Most of the rest would fall by the wayside in the Cascades.

                    • I doubt most of them from Seattle (or Tacoma) proper would make it to the Cascades … in any real evacuation, the freeways and bridges would all quickly become parking lots. Most survivors would be from suburban cities north, east, and south of the Seattle-Tacoma urb, especially the people who regularly hike and camp in the mountains. And yes, food for the multitudes would be a problem.

            • aacid14’s comment about backboards (above) applies to “offers” of homosexual sex made with pressure or force.

              • I think more the line from Ding Chavez in Rainbow Six to the IRA terrorist that had taken his wife and MiL hostage.

                “I may not be a doctor but I know the first step in a sex change operation”

                Although I will state in certain circles it is actually a major pressure to “admit” that you’re not straight. Sometimes I would even characterize as outright bigotry even without admitting you are religions or Illiberal.

            • “First it was banned, then it was allowed, I’m getting out before it becomes mandatory.”

              • There are two theories of law historically:

                1. That which is not permitted is forbidden (which is arguably the more common one historically).

                2. That which is not forbidden is permitted.

                We are working on a third:

                3. That which is not forbidden is madatory.

        • I came close to wanting to burn a book under similar circumstances. I’d mail-ordered a copy of Malory’ Morte D’Arthur that was described as being in the original Middle English. When it arrived, I shoved it aside in disgust once I read in the foreword that the spelling had been “updated and regularized.”

          As far as I’m concerned, that makes it no longer in Middle English, which was specifically what I had wanted. I still kept the book, though – the illustrations were by Beardsley.

          • That one is a grey area for me. Most modern versions of the Caxton edition have regularized spelling and punctuation. I don’t find that objectionable as Caxton and his peers were already starting that process that would bear full fruit in English with Webster. I don’t consider regularizing Caxton’s spelling and punctuation as adulteration although modernizing it (which maybe what is meant by update) is another story.

            However, updated spelling isn’t close to the turgid renderings that destroy Shakespeare’s language:

            Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
            Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth;
            For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
            Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,
            Turning the accomplishment of many years
            Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
            Admit me Chorus to this history;
            Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
            Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

            becomes

            Imagine, when we talk of horses, that you see them stamping their proud hoof-prints in the soft earth, because it’s your imagination that must enrobe our kings. Move them around, jumping over periods of time, turning the events of several years into the span of a single hour. To help you in that let me be the Chorus to this story. As the Chorus, I humbly beg you to listen courteously to our play and judge it kindly.

            And this in an age when simultaneously the only worthy measure of modern fiction is the overwrot artristry of its sentences? Anyone who takes a minute can understand the original and hear the beauty in it. The butcher that comes after is horrid and yet the kids reading it will be told of the beauty of Anne Prolix’s prose.

    • On the contrary, these are often the same people who make fun of those who are uncomfortable with Harry Potter’s treatment of witchcraft.

      Because, of course, that discomfort is rooted in superstition and religious hysteria, not feelings and oppression. Or something.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Of course not. Those people deserve to “feel uncomfortable”. [Sarcasm]

  5. Sometimes I think Bradbury was more on the nose about HOW political correctness/newspeak would arise.

    • c4c

    • *nods* The censorship regime will arise because its what the people want. The firemen who burn books only show up when they’re almost redundant.

      George Orwell’s “a boot stomping eternally on a human face” is a chilling image, but the reality seems more like the faces crying out, “Boots, save us from ourselves!”

    • Mix that in with the drive towards eternal childhood as seen in “Brave New World”

      • Precisely. They see the education of children to be helpless delicate flowers AS proper preparation for the adult world as they think it “should be”.– the failure to educate children to handle real-world discomfort is not, in their eyes, a failure at all.

        • I don’t want eternal childhood. Let me be a young adult. Let me make my choices and rise or fall on them. Let me choose to pack up and rush into burning buildings or jump out of airplanes or listen to music just a little too loud.

          • “Peter Pan” was a tragedy, not something to reach for.

            • The Other Sean

              I’d be OK with eternal 25-year-old-hood, though. Alas, I’m already quite a bit past that now. [sigh]

          • Back in the Depression, when adults were struggling, children dressed like this:


            Now? Adults wear dungarees, T-shirts and hoodies.


            • Heck, even juvenile delinquents dressed better than today’s “grown-ups.”

            • Problem: both of those photographs are from promotional material– it’s Hollywood, not reality, to be inexact but get the idea across.

              *looking around*

              Here’s some real kids:
              Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Mass.  (LOC)

              More to come.

              • From this article:
                http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2036932/New-York-City-photos-Charles-W-Cushman-reveal-1940s-life-Big-Apple.html

                Ignore the initial reaction of “suit = well dressed” or “dress= well dressed.”

                The lady in black is very well turned out, I’m guessing the very clean little girl with her hair carefully done is with her. The lady she seems to have just been talking to is wearing the skirt version of my jeans. (I remember my granny’s, almost the same style, though this lady would be a generation older at least; she’d sooner have died than wear that to ‘go out.’) The print dresses on the other two ladies function like my jeans and t-shirt, and aren’t any more or less flattering.

              • It looks like where my Dad grew up.

              • The important thing about such photos is that they were credible to the public, meaning they reflected life as they knew it.


                Here’s a picture of Cubs fans lining up for tickets at the Wrigley Field box office before a September 1945 game

                • You mean like how we all believe that real, modern gangsters dress like the Sopranos, or that pictures of young actresses at the studio are how they just happened to look when they got up and dressed?

                  That picture is actually a pretty good example of a relatively casual/normal way of dressing– now look at how they’re actually dressed, without assuming that button up shirts are inherently nice, ditto slacks or dresses. (Honestly, the dresses part is hard for me, but my dad only owns about a half-dozen t-shirts that aren’t undershirts so I’m very familiar with the difference between my husband’s nice work clothes, his daily work clothes, and my dad’s daily work clothes. 😀 )

                  That said, I can almost smell the pants, since they probably weren’t washing them every other day. >.<

                  • No, I mean like how when we see a depiction of kids in a High School we pretty quickly grasp whether they are contemporary or 1950s.

                    The critical point remains that kids back before the Boomers aspired to look more adult. These days adults aspire to look more adolescent.

                    As for washing those clothes every day — you are aware of the laundry limitations of that time, I know. Not the simple chore of dropping them in a machine and hanging them out on the line afterword.

                    • No, I mean like how when we see a depiction of kids in a High School we pretty quickly grasp whether they are contemporary or 1950s.

                      That clothing changed in 65 years, especially when those years included very major technology changes, isn’t being contested; that a promotional picture for the ‘Dead End’ kids would represent normal clothing any more than a “we just signed Shirley Temple” promo photograph is the root disagreement, with a secondary one that “the way things are portrayed in the movies or on TV is the way they really are.”

                      Here’s the ’97 version of the ‘Dead End’ kids’ photo:
                      http://assortedbuffery.blogspot.com/2013/06/feature-buffy-vampire-slayer-welcome-to.html

                      The critical point remains that kids back before the Boomers aspired to look more adult. These days adults aspire to look more adolescent.

                      So you keep asserting; without assuming the conclusion– that jeans and T-shirts are inherently “adolescent,” rather than were what teenagers happened to wear in the 50s and 60s– that’s the argument that was going on.

                      Especially gets hard when one notes that in a lot of the pictures I found, the only ones dressed in an entirely different kind of clothing are small children. The “pants and shirt” for males wasn’t adult, it was just clothes. The dress or shirt and skirt weren’t adult, they were just clothes. I didn’t wear boots and jeans as a kid because I was trying to look like an adult, I wore them because I was doing the same sort of work and they fit the demands.

                      As for washing those clothes every day — you are aware of the laundry limitations of that time, I know. Not the simple chore of dropping them in a machine and hanging them out on the line afterword.

                      I’ve only been hammering on it pretty much constantly. It’s part of why they dressed differently; it gets rather annoying to have people point to things people did because of how hard it was to clean entire outfits and declaring it’s a sign of dignity or how very adult they were, or because they were all trying to look adult.

                    • I don’r know when or where you went to high school, but even in the late 70’s and any young woman appeared in my high school with skirts or dresses that short, they would have been sent home with a threat to be expelled if they ever came back with anything similar — and I started high school ion 1979.

                    • I’m a quite literal millennial– graduated in ’01.

                      They definitely didn’t dress like that at school. 😀

                    • The promotional stills were used to most clearly display the clothing.


                      Watch any of the old Rooney/Garland flicks and you will see them wearing clothing oriented toward adult styles. Other clothing styles were available, they had knit shirts and slacks but chose to dress toward the adult standard. Note that Garland’s outfits typically were more demure versions of what adult women wore in that era.

                      Same thing with the Bowery Boys/Dead End Kids — although those were adult actors playing adolescents, the manner of dress represents what people expected such people to wear. The illusion of being younger than they were would have been enhanced by putting them in less adult clothing if that’s what such kids might have worn. Instead they wear adult styles childishly.

                      Jeans and T-shirts came into youth fashion in the Fifties — you see them turning up in such movies as The Wild One or other depictions of “rebellious youth.” In the Sixties such clothing became the Boomer uniform and the boomers have resisted wearing adult clothing ever since.

                    • Apparently we’re back in the “never going to answer the arguments actually made loop” and have hit the wall.

                      Peace out.

                  • I used to enjoy thumbing through old mail order catalogs. (Another place to see how people dressed – and what their houses were like – are old copies of Look and Life.) Clothes have long been a symbol of status. In the past people dressed more formally when going out in public. If they could afford them at all the men appeared in public in hats and jackets and the women in hats and gloves.

                    In the 1960s styles became far more informal, but, if you had a white collar job you did not go to work in what would have been deemed casual wear. Dress pants for women started to appear in the 1970s. Casual Fridays is a thing of the last quarter century.

                    • Clothes have long been a symbol of status.

                      Exactly.

                      When times were tough, you dressed as well as you could so you didn’t look like you were having a tough time; when everyone works outside, you’re pale. When anybody can wear silk dresses, it’s not a big deal. When everybody works indoors, a tan is what signals “I am doing well.”

                      Not age related, success related.

                      When the Irish came over, they bought corned beef, because it was beef and if you ate beef you were doing well.
                      When my mom was a kid, her mom would serve them chicken feet, and spam, but for love’s sake they would NOT be eating Corned Beef. That was POOR PEOPLE FOOD.
                      When I was a kid, we’d eat rabbit, and ramen, and lots of pasta– but we would NOT eat spam, that was poor people food.
                      And now… there isn’t any “poor people food.” It’s just… food, although there are some fancy things you can do.

                    • ramen and rice and beans are poor people food.

                    • They’re food poor people eat, they’re not “…oh, my, goodness. You’re kidding. You’re eating BEANS?!?”

                      I was about to say the only one you wouldn’t serve to company is the ramen…but no, because of the anime underculture, I would make real ramen and serve it without a thought, and my hesitation to serve normal ramen would be that it’s packaged, and that’s cheating.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Cheating? Well, I guess it depends on how long you (and your family/friends) want to wait before eating the meal. 😉

                      Seriously, Mom was a cook.

                      I just open a package and put the contents into the pan or oven.

                      I disliked (after I took over making the meals), Mom saying that I was a good cook. 🙂

                    • Not counting family, I’ve had TWO people over for meals in the time we’ve been married. (Family who for some strange reason was born in a different clan of course doesn’t count.)

                      It matters to me. 😀

                      Oddly, we usually end up doing take-out, because that’s *special* in our house. :/

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      We all have our “Odd” features … well not me. I’m perfect. 😈 😈 😈 😈

                    • I’ve got a skillet dish that uses ramen that I’ve served to company a few times. Got the recipe a couple decades ago at the National Western Stock Show from the American Beef Council’s booth.

                      I like ramen (scratch and instant), but I have oriental groceries near me that allow me to dress up the instant with Chinese sausage and other ingredients.

            • These guys are working, but it’s a “going out in public” aspect of their working:
              Mountaineers and farmers trading mules and horses on "Jockey St.," near the Court House, Campton, Wolfe County, Ky.  (LOC)

            • See this lady:
              http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/cushman/results/detail.do?query=year%3A1940&page=1&pagesize=20&display=thumbcap&action=browse&pnum=P01754

              I’ll post a link that should repost the picture here in just a sect, I want to make sure I offer the source. Really impressive collection.

              Anyways:
              my girls have at least a dozen dresses of roughly the same design, because they’re easy and they are dang near indestructible, even for Duchess the climber. If I could find something as practical for adult women that didn’t either cost through the nose or make me look like I should be chopping off a braid to send with Willow on his quest, I’d buy it.

              • Incidentally, I’ve got pictures of a great great grandmother at about this time, a bit older than I am, wearing dresses like that.

                She looks like she just finished chopping a braid off to send with Willow…. (and is hiding her pipe under her apron, trying to glare without scowling at her less-darling-by-the-moment son that was taking the picture. She couldn’t move, it would ruin the picture!)

            • I was watching the original Mission: Impossible and remember seeing that and being surprised at the button up shirt and slacks for the kids.

              I admit that there was probably more dressed down stuff for other cases (Usually photographs would be special occasions) but there is a bit of a dressing down today. For instance I doubt they went to the store in pajamas.

              (I usually only wear T-shirts to concerts or if I am working around the house on the weekend. Although most of our uniform shirts are T-shirts so when I am on call over weekend I am in T shirt and cargos.)

  6. I can pretty much guarantee that most of those eleventh graders listen to music that uses then nword. So in reality it had nothing to do with that word.

    • I suspect so — Hey, we have the power over the adults!

    • scott2harrison

      Actually it does. The music uses the “N-word” as a transgression against good taste. Twain’s characters use it as a word like any other word with no implication that they are being shocking. This is what is unacceptable to th vile progs.

  7. “However, the word was used back when Twain wrote the book.”
    It’s not as though it went away after the Rebels were defeated – it’s in constant use by hip-hop-rap so-called “artists” now, along with “whores” and other epithets. So how can anyone say it’s not relevant?

    • Yeah, I wonder about that myself.

      • Twain is an old dead white man.

      • Further Twain is not a hip young transgressive.

        • They’ve forgotten how transgressive Twain was, in his time.

          • They never knew.

            • Most of them have no clue about what being transgressive is.

              Hint: being a politically liberal homosexual in the US today isn’t transgressive…hell, being trans isn’t being transgressive (which is how we get otherkin so they can be even more special).

              • The Other Sean

                I think the lesbian atheist Republicans I met once might be considered transgressive by many members of the three groups by which I identified them above.

                • The ladies (a couple) who ran the gun and sword shop near my first apartment were probably in the same boat, but with an added extremely pro-military bend.

                  Like, decorated the ceiling with the flags of everybody we’d ever beaten, even though it freaked out some of the customers, and sold me a sword for my then-active-duty-fiance at a price I’ve since figured out was less than ordering cost, never mind operating costs.

                • Just because you are homosexual you don’t need to lose your mind and vote Democrat.

                  • Same as being female, or Latin, or, as you probably have experienced, Jewish. AND YET they think they own us. Which is why I show them my middle fingers.

                    • A story was told by The Mother-In-Law: When her father’s family migrated to Chicago from Canada they were greeted by the local ward healer who explained it to them this way: Vote Democrat for Democracy.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      The fun-and-games about the old time Machine ward healer is that they actually assisted immigrants.

                      They were there “dock-side” to welcome the immigrants, gave the immigrants help in dealing with their new home, etc.

                      IIRC they didn’t have to make the immigrants to vote Democratic/Republican as the immigrants knew who helped them so supported the politicians the ward healer worked for.

                      The big politician machines are a problem as far as good government goes, but the old time ward healers can be see as a good for the real help they gave immigrants.

                      Of course, the old-time ward healers also helped the immigrants *become* Americans in ways that the Identity Politicians would hate.

                • Eh. I know one atheist, republican gay man. He’s as close as a sibling, and we sometimes hold each other’s hand via text (he lives across the country) to keep from going postal in these hard times.

                • My black female friend in a D/s relationship where she identifies as slave to her white husband and accepts his rules for their life and punishment for violating them.

                  That’s transgressive and would freak all these SJW f**ks out.

              • “He was one of those who are driven early in life into too conservative an attitude by the bewildering folly of most revolutionists. He had not attained it by any tame tradition. His respectability was spontaneous and sudden, a rebellion against rebellion. He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realisation; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene. Hence the child, during his tenderer years, was wholly unacquainted with any drink between the extremes of absinth and cocoa, of both of which he had a healthy dislike. The more his mother preached a more than Puritan abstinence the more did his father expand into a more than pagan latitude; and by the time the former had come to enforcing vegetarianism, the latter had pretty well reached the point of defending cannibalism.

                “Being surrounded with every conceivable kind of revolt from infancy, Gabriel had to revolt into something, so he revolted into the only thing left — sanity. ”

                G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

      • Offense, and the specific ‘banned words’ are a part of the privilege function. After you submit to the ‘purity and safety committee’, you will be grouped into your ‘proper’ place. The list of words is totally based on your victim status.
        Kind of like the new segregation. Whites want blacks at ‘black only fountains’ = BAD. Blacks want ‘black only safe spaces’ = Good. Conservatives want a private function – press must be invited. Progressives want to hold a protest and not have anyone notice they pay protesters by the hour – press stay away.

  8. Time to home-school, if there ever was one.
    https://cynthiarobertson.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/book-burning.jpg?w=500&h=269

    Okie’s are the best people :o) I’m from Okmulgee

    • I grew up in Jenks. ^_^

      Would still move back there in a heartbeat, despite the tornadoes. Real estate is so affordable there! And you can grow almost anything!

  9. It’s especially stupid to ban a book for using the n-word when one of the themes of the book is explicitly ANTI-racist. JHC, people. You need to teach kids critical thinking.

    • I believe “critical thinking” is something schools go out of their way to avoid. I kid you not, my youngest brother, in his early elementary school days, was forever in trouble with teachers because he was ‘disruptive.’ Why? Because he asked too many questions. They don’t want you questioning *anything*, either because it goes against the public school goal of creating obedient little statists or (more fairly) because too many teachers don’t know the answer/don’t want to go to the effort of providing answers, or teaching a child how to find them for himself.

      • Teaching someone to think is a whole lot harder than teaching them what to think.

        • I was fortunate to be taught by first wave progressives. They believed so passionately that any person who thought would believe like them, they taught me to think. Those whom I still keep in touch with wonder where they went wrong. Nowhere. I just had more information than they did and used the logic they taught me to use.

      • Schools, heck– even a big chunk of the articles at PJ Media these days, the ones they’re proud enough to share to facebook, utterly fail to apply critical thinking. (Or take ten minutes and a search engine of your choice to check if there’s maybe something more than the spin copied directly from the source article.) It’s not even good blogging. 😦

    • You teach the kids critical thinking and they’ll use it, which means they’ll start rejecting the idiotic Progressive agenda. Can’t have that now, can we?

      • That’s the REAL reason Huckleberry Finn is always on the “ban” list. Not because of the words that are used, but because Huck decides to act according to his own conscience, even going against what society teaches.

        • Anonymous Coward

          In fact, HF was removed from certain library shelves immediately after it was published. The literati viewed it as trash, coarse, and a threat to impressionable young minds. Sadly, modern students are missing (1) one of the first novels in which a black character is realistically portrayed
          (2) the evolution of Huck’s attitude toward Jim and blacks in general. When HF is written off as the ramblings of a racist, I have to stack up more mouse pads on my desk (to prevent head injuries).

          • Yes, realistic word usage for a time and place by a character coming to realize a run away slave is a human being just like him is racism.

            Treating the descendants of those slaves as incapable of achieving like others or having the emotional maturity to deal with mean people and thus making special rules for them is endorsing equality.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            3) They miss seeing “Polite Society” shown as fools. That’s way Huck Finn was disliked earlier. 👿

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The funny thing about Huck Finn is that in that book Clemens mocked “Polite Society” both of Huck’s time and of the time that Clemens wrote it.

          The Black Jim came out looking good, Polite Society came out looking not so good. 👿

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      “Critical thinking” is racist. 😛

    • The problem is teaching the adults who want NO PART of that!

  10. Allowing young’uns to read about Huck Finn can’t be allowed because it doesn’t fit with the narrative that today’s people of color are suffering under a system of ‘institutional racism’. If they were to be exposed to an example (fictional, granted, but in accord with the society in that place and time) where such a thing actually was in place, they’d realize they’re being fed a buncha baloney and start questioning their ‘learning facilitators’.

    Second Mobius’s advocacy of home- or un-schooling.

  11. When do we, as the so-called adults step up and start adulting? When do we tell our schools that their job is really simple: they are to educate our kids and prepare them for the real world, not the world of cotton batting and good feelz? When do we take the responsibility of making sure our kids know history and understand that the world today is different from the world of yesterday and why? When do we make sure they know about those times we never want to see repeated: slavery here and elsewhere, the Holocaust, etc?

    When the Gods of the Copybook headings with terror and slaughter return.

    • John C. Wright’s answer to political correctness seems to be a Trump presidency. (See his recent post about endorsing the devil.)
      Can’t say I buy it.

        • I find that the GOPe has been an absolute failure, and they deserve Trump. Now, what does America deserve? None of the above is about all I can come up with. Hillary is a disaster, a felon, and a serial liar. At least, with Jeb! out of the race, none of the remaining GOPe candidates are as disgraceful as the Democrat Dynasty.
          Frankly, I’m down to about a single ‘litmus test’; If elected President and presented the bill, will you sign to repeal Obamacare?
          But the mask has come off the GOPe, they hate the ‘flyover masses’ as much as Progressives, and they will lie, cheat and steal whatever it takes to remain in power. Ted Cruz represents the last best hope for conservative America, and the GOPe hates him more than Trump.
          A constitutional convention and forced term limits are what we badly need.

          • The problem with the GOPe isn’t the politicians who stay in Congress for decades, it’s the policy wonks and money guys who never hold elected office. Term limits would only give them more power, since they’d be the only ones with experience in manipulating the system. Those politicians they approve of would get stuff done, while the ones they oppose would find themselves stymied at every opportunity.

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              Good thought! It’s the unintended consequences that get you. I keep hoping we have enough role players to detect most of them and enough sense not to shout them down in our own echo chambers.

              • I think there should be term limits for government employees, including Congressional staff, long before there are term limits for politicians. The latter can be voted out every 2-6 years while the former are largely invisible and also mostly responsible for the mess we’re in.

                Force a high-level bureaucrat to come in from outside – because anyone who starts below him gets term-limited out before they can be promoted from within – and not only will he be largely unfamiliar with the bureaucratic culture, he’ll bring in new ideas from the outside that might even improve the process. And if it doesn’t, well there aren’t many areas of government where a complete lock-up is actually a bad thing.

            • Those politicians they approve of would get stuff done, while the ones they oppose would find themselves stymied at every opportunity.

              How is this significantly different than now. I will accept it might accentuate this trend but that is a difference only in degree.

              • In theory if we can keep the likes of Cruz in long enough, they’ll learn enough of the system – even if its via the hard way of getting stopped because of it – to start winning some victories.

                • Perhaps…what is the “fights the whole time” vs. “surrenders like Bob Michaels” vs. “goes native like Mitch” ratio? We have to get enough that the first group can cower the second so their combined forces overwhelm the third and the Democrats.

            • As we’ve been talking Shakespeare today: First kill all the campaign consultants.

              • scott2harrison

                Don’t forget that the line “First we kill all the lawyers.” was uttered by one of the villians.

          • If elected President and presented the bill, will you sign to repeal Obamacare?

            Put an “and not replace” after repeal and I’m with you.

            The all promise to do the first but all have their improved Republican government dominated healthcare (Walker’s was arguably worse than Obamacare in that it would make people more dependent on government in the short term than Obamacare).

            But for repeal and only repeal the only option has been Cruz or Jindal the entire time.

            • Oh, I’d vote for a replacement – sort of an “anti-ACA” package, where you reset to the status quo ante except 1) fix the rules against interstate competition, and 2) for less than 10% of the cost of ACA, provide direct basic medical for the 15-20 million who were actually uninsured and wanted coverage back in 2010.

        • I haven’t made up my mind yet on that question. I doubt I will until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

          • Many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip and if ever a candidate was running like a bat out of hell ahead of the sheriff, that’s Hillary. Sure, the elected Dems would close ranks around her just as they did in the face of Bill’s impeachment — but how does that move people to act on that great come ‘n’ get it election day?

        • Next week I’m voting Cruz even if for some odd reason he drops out before SEC Primary day.

          That said if Trump is the nominee (which looks likely) I’m going to take every GOPe blowhard who told me I had to slurp excrement and vote for their loser of the year out of party loyalty while they threw tantrums about losing primaries by failing to endorse, running third party, or even endorsing the Democrat (and in my state pre-emptively endorsing the Democrat before we had a Senate candidate in 2014) to heart on party loyalty.

          By voting for the party’s nominee, good and hard, in the general election. They’ve earned it. Plus, I remain unconvinced he will govern significantly different than their #1 choice, Jeb!, or their #2 choice, Rubio, or their #3 choice, Kasich, on anything other than immigration and on that he’s closer to me than their choices.

          • In one very important way Trump is the anti-Obama. In 2008 nobody had any idea where Obama stood because he never actually said anything. In 2016 nobody knows where Trump stands because he’s said literally everything.

            • True, but then again I listen to most GOP candidates and figure they’re lying too.

              In fact, immigration is the one thing I might think Trump is telling the truth about because it is the only change he has bothered to explain.

              Regardless, based on 2003-2006, and recent GOP behavior I don’t expect a Rubio or Jeb! or Kasich White House to be much different from a G. W. Bush one except perhaps more liberal and all three will assuredly sign amnesty. None will have a meaningful repeal of Obamacare; at best they’ll substitute GOP brand deck chairs. At most they would be another pause on our way to socialism.

              Trump might be that. He might be less of a pause. He might be a parital reversal. He is the only one besides Cruz I believe even has a possibility of being the third (although the odds of that are like hitting on a roullette wheel).

              However, I’ve always been told I have to support the GOP or Democrat. I’ve slurped a lot of excrement in holding that up. I’m going to enjoy proudly proclaiming my party loyalty while those who beat me with it like a stick since 1996 (I proudly voted G. H. W. Bush in 1988 and although unhappy in 1992 I do get you don’t primary a president of your own party) as they try to excuse their 3rd party or Democrat votes.

              If you can win, win. If you can’t stab the bastards nearest you on the way down.

            • 21 Questions Any Decent Trump Fan Should Want Donald Trump to Answer: http://linkis.com/www.nationalmemo.com/0gfT9

    • scott2harrison

      As a side issue, I believe that “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” is the single most quoted piece of writing on this blog. It is rare for a week to go by without it coming up.

      • We are a Kipling required blog. We are obligate Kipplers.

      • Read the poem then look at the world around us. It’s amazing it isn’t quoted every day.

        • I somehow never came across it before coming here. The first couple of times I saw it excerpted, I thought it was something contemporary that the people here were putting together… I though the title referred to writers’ struggles with publishers.

          It wasn’t until someone specifically mentioned Kipling when quoting it that I discovered the truth.

        • That and The Second Coming go through my head at least that often.

          • I tend to think of this one instead of Second Coming:

            Jubal sang of the Wrath of God
            And the curse of thistle and thorn —
            But Tubal got him a pointed rod,
            And scrabbled the earth for corn.
            Old — old as that early mould,
            Young as the sprouting grain —
            Yearly green is the strife between
            Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the new-found sea,
            And the love that its waves divide —
            But Tubal hollowed a fallen tree
            And passed to the further side.
            Black-black as the hurricane-wrack,
            Salt as the under-main-
            Bitter and cold is the hate they hold —
            Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the golden years
            When wars and wounds shall cease —
            But Tubal fashioned the hand-flung spears
            And showed his neighbours peace.
            New — new as Nine-point-Two,
            Older than Lamech’s slain —
            Roaring and loud is the feud avowed
            Twix’ Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the cliffs that bar
            And the peaks that none may crown —
            But Tubal clambered by jut and scar
            And there he builded a town.
            High-high as the snowsheds lie,
            Low as the culverts drain —
            Wherever they be they can never agree —
            Jubal and Tubal Cain!

        • As long as we can stay clear of City of Brass, eh?

      • Newcomers and old hands, please stand for our blog anthem.

        As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
        I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
        Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

        We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
        That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
        But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
        So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

        We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
        Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
        But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
        That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

        With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
        They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
        They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
        So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

        When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
        They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
        But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

        On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
        (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
        Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

        In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
        By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
        But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

        Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
        And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
        That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
        And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

        As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
        There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
        That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
        And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

        And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
        When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
        As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
        The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  12. There was a TV producer a few years back who had a “clever” closing credit with a whiny teen boy’s whinge of “What does that mean?”.

    It’s become an anthem, and the victory cry of an incredible campaign of intellectual control in the West.

    Even putting aside ‘serious’ intellectual pursuits (cavil: accepting for example the notion that gargling and regurgitating snake oil like gender theory, critical theory , Sartre and Derrida is ‘serious’), American culture and to a lesser Western culture had an amazing degree of commonality of cultural, popular, and personal references. People knew who Leopold Stokowski was, not only for his talent but as a (literal) cartoon for vanity and pretension, Napoleon for vaunting ambition, Custer for bad judgment. They were shorthands for communication and exploring those shorthand’s led to genuine learning.

    Today, well, you don’t have to “show your work.” Kids have absolutely no idea of any popular cultural or historical references beyond their most recent childhood. That’s because all the references with the rough bits that snag on your brain and stretch it have been replaced by plastic Happy Meal toys designed by commerce and ideologues exploiting commerce to slide down smoothly with no risk of choking. Nothing sticks. That’s why making references to FDR, or Carrie Nation, or Carter or Reagan or Clinton, let alone Father Coughlin, Alger Hiss or Huey Long (especially to a Trump voter) are useless. The younger audience today have no idea who they really were or what they stood for.

    All they know is what happened today, and since that changes daily it leaves them adrift at the mercy of every petty tyrant and bully who comes along. All they know is that as long as they parrot ‘privilege,’ and ‘gay wedding cakes are a right’ and ‘rape crisis on campus’ Anna Sarkeesian might leave them alone a little longer. And that’s nothing to build a culture on.

    • “We Don’t Want No Education”–Theodore Dalrymple

      http://www.city-journal.org/html/5_1_oh_to_be.html

      “The children themselves eventually come to know that something is wrong, even if they are not able to articulate their knowledge. Of the generations of children who grew up with these pedagogical methods, it is striking how many of the more intelligent among them sense by their early twenties that something is missing from their lives. They don’t know what it is, and they ask me what it could be. I quote them Francis Bacon: “It is a poore Center of a Mans Actions, Himselfe.” They ask me what I mean, and I reply that they have no interests outside themselves, that their world is as small as the day they entered it, and that their horizons have not expanded in the least.”

  13. “Nor should those of us living now be held responsible for what our ancestors may or may not have done.”

    My ancestors were part of the Underground Railroad. They risked everything they had to help the escaped slaves reach the comparative Land of the Free, someplace North of the Mason-Dixon line. That was my mother’s side of the family; my paternal ancestors were cut from a different cloth, but when they went to war they wore blue uniforms. They didn’t like the war much, although I suspect a few of them profited from it.

    So why can’t I be held responsible? Please?

    • You also don’t get to dress in borrowed glory.

      • I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, “dressed in glory” has been used as a euphemism for nekkid. Hard to borrow that.

        OTOH, “dressed in glory” has also been used in the religious sphere to refer to His glory, and the only way for us to be so dressed is by His gift, clothing us in His glory. So “borrowed glory” is the only kind we get to dress in.

    • I consider myself an American Mutt. My ancestors who had already made it to the USA before the crisis in the middle of the eighteenth century were represented on both sides of the conflict. They are also represented among the various abstainers as well.

      Pfui! I refuse to become a victim of the internal conflict that, according to some moderns, I should be suffering. The ancestors did what they did with nary a thought of me.

      • At least one side of my family fought for absolutist kings in the Portuguese civil war. (It wasn’t exactly that. As in the South in the US there were also regional entanglements, etc.) They lost. I think their choice was stupid. I neither revile them nor defend them. They were themselves. I’m me. The DNA we share is “distant counsins.” Don’t care.

        • After listening about the complete mess that was the English Civil War, I felt very sorry for King Charles, to the point that I actually wish I could be descended from him, even though I agreed that he kindof brought it upon himself for being ridiculously stubborn, and had some sympathies for the other side.

          Which is weird, if you think about it: who would want to be descended from a loser king who was so stubborn he literally lost his head? Especially when you kindof wish that England’s new Republic had “stuck”, rather than revert back to rule by kings because Cromwell’s son was so politically naive that he couldn’t maintain the new Republic?

          But the sympathy is there. And even if I *were* a descendant of King Charles, would it mean anything of importance? Probably not.

      • Nineteenth century. USA didn’t exist mid-eighteenth. Or perhaps you meant the French and Indian Wars? Proto-USA in that case.

        Sorry, compulsive proofreading has taken control of me again.

        • Actually I can lay claim to family involved here in both, but yes, I had meant mid-nineteenth. Thank you. 😉

      • Anonymous Coward

        #MuttLivesMatter ! Haven’t you heard that being a victim is fashionable these days ? I’m a descendant of an Englishman who tried to get rich by taking advantage of innocent Pacific islanders and one of the oppressed islanders. I deal with my inherited guilt by periodically writing myself a reparations check. Unfortunately, another ancestor was a sailmaker on a Norwegian whaling ship. Since I owe a debt of inherited guilt to whales (who are, of course, far above humans in the Hierarchy of the Oppressed), I figure I am pretty much screwed.

    • My wife’s great grandfather fought for both sides of the Civil War. Two Great Uncles, one for the north and one for the south. Arkansas in the 1860’s.

      • I presume I had relatives who fought for the South because while my Acadian ancestors were shipped to New England (whence one escaped to reappear in Quebec), obviously most of them were shipped farther south.

        Got an ancestor whose brothers fought — one died and one was crippled.

  14. Speaking of special flowers who don’t want to adult:

    View story at Medium.com

    If you can’t afford to live in SF, don’t. If you can’t afford an apartment, don’t sign the lease. If the job you are offered doesn’t pay enough, don’t take it. Sorry, if that makes you feel uncomfortable, Snowflake.

    • Yeah. Seriously, this guy didn’t, y’know, find out the specifics of his job *before* he moved? So he’d know whether or not he could afford an apartment in that area…? Or, say, plan accordingly and live somewhere he *could* afford? And thought that piling debt onto a credit card in order to move…was a GOOD idea? Seriously, he’s only making $1400 a month, and thought this was a *good* job?

      Frankly, this guy sounds like an idiot. Who somehow expected that a job making memes and twitter posts was…going to pay well. ::facepalm:: Honestly, he’d be better off getting two retail jobs. (Though I know from bitter personal experience that retailers in the Bay Area don’t want you if you either have a college degree or are the wrong color/age/level of education or experience.)

      • She’s been told her entire life that she should follow her bliss, so that’s what she did. Nobody taught her that reality doesn’t care if you’re happy or not. I don’t blame her for doing what she was taught. I don’t really even blame her for the extended whinge, sometimes a good vent is necessary to clear one’s head. I do blame her teachers and parents for utterly failing to prepare her for the real world, and if she doesn’t learn from this experience she has no one to blame but herself.

        • Gee, you think anyone taught her about a ‘budget’? You know, take in, pay out, save for special needs?
          It mostly takes simple addition and subtraction. No higher math is required. What it mainly takes is discipline and self-restraint; two things children are never taught any more. The need is most intense when you start out on your own.

          • A budget would involve math, and everyone knows math is just a tool of oppression used by the patriarchy.

          • “Gee, you think anyone taught her about a ‘budget’?”

            No.

            • A budget? Isn’t that what the President and Congress get all knotted up over once a year and then completely ignores? I thought that was a side show for the media!

              • You know, I think the Senate Republicans should announce that they’ll consider Obama’s SCOTUS nominee. Just as soon as the federal budget is passed and signed.

                • Unfortunately, they surrendered that leverage with the Cromnibus…. because they can’t shut the government down, that’s mean. It is to laugh.

                  • Here’s the thing everyone keeps forgetting about the omnibus bill: it expires October 1. They have to do a budget every year.

                • I like that idea!

                  “We must follow the Constitution!”
                  “Yes, we we do, now how about following it?”
                  “…”

              • A little like the argument above about adult vs. youth clothing, it seems to me that Congress used to model their budgeting on what people did in private lives, but now people in their private lives are (too often) modelling their budgeting on what Congress does – which is a piss-poor example!

        • The making of a Bernie voter.

      • I’m rather attracted to the types of companies that are found in Silicon Valley; the few times I’ve looked into it, though, I couldn’t convince myself that the cost of living worth the salary I’d be getting paid for those positions…

        Where I currently live, $100k/year is a very nice wage. In Silicon Valley, I’m not sure if I’d be able make ends meet…

        • We lost someone here to Google. They had tried to recruit him annually since he turned them down a decade ago. He admitted what finally helped convince him was the salary offers quit being, “here is the reduction in standard of living and pay you’ll have to take for the honor of working for Google,”

          • Anonymous Coward

            Yup. Back in the day, I would periodically get low-ball offers from tech companies who acted as if they were doing me a great favor by offering to rescue me from the Wilds Beyond the Bay and the primitive natives who dwell therein. By the time the offers were high enough to where I would NOT take a large cut in net pay, I had grown convinced that life in Silicon Valley would entail dealing with more left wing, California chicken shit than I could handle. Although I was born in San Jose, the thought of moving back makes various body parts reflexively contract (and not all of them are designed to do so).

          • From what I have heard Scaled Composites did that. Heck, I took a job in OKC and in real dollars probably make 20% more than I would in Seattle even with union rate and higher wages. Plus I have to deal with a lot less snide remarks over people like me.

      • > find out the specifics of his job *before* he moved?

        Something I’ve seen a lot of, is people who thing everyplace else is exactly the way things are where they are now. And then they’re freak out when they find trash pick-up comes on a different day, or there is no public transit system, or pedestrians don’t have right of way over motor vehicles. We get a lot of the latter here, mostly winding up in hospitals.

    • She did claim comedy as one of her skills…

    • Wonder if Talia’s been told to check HER privilege yet?

      • I understand that her whine was brought to the attention of her employer who fired her sorry butt. Problem solved.

    • This person is a disgrace to my generation. Good night. I had a better grasp of how to be an adult when I was coming out of high school.

    • Given her brie and prosciutto poverty diet I have no sympathy. I’m a well paid bankster and I don’t eat like that.

      http://michellemalkin.com/2016/02/24/starving-on-the-prosciutto-and-brie-poverty-diet/

      • You feast on the corn fed livers of orphans and sip their blood from your solid gold chalices.

        In all seriousness,this is the same as those SNAP challenges drove me nuts. I ate on significantly less than that a month and that included fresh meat, frozen fish and fruits and veggies. But people are complaining because no sushi or whole foods on SNAP

        • I wrote about how to eat moderately well on very little, way back in the early days of mil-blogging. I was an E-4, living in base housing, and child-care for my then-toddler age daughter was the expense that ate up a substantial portion of my pay. I budgeted $25 in groceries every two weeks, plus another $10 for sundries. Of course, toddler daughter had at least two meals of the day at the child-care center, but I am still amazed at how far I was able to stretch that grocery money. Lots of rice, beans, homemade bread, yogurt, apples from the farmer’s market made into apple sauce, the cheapest meats available – no prepared foods, or frozen entrees. At that rate, the refrigerator and my bank account would both be practically empty the day before pay-day.

          • Yep. I admit I wasn’t being OCD about it because it was for not overspending vs necessity (IIRC was ~100/mo with an additional 50 to eat out or get alcohol). I live alone and it’s easy to do meals for a few days. But a crock pot, stew meat and vegetables can be good for a day or two even for a full family. Heck. Even just getting a premade pizza and cooking it in an oven is cheaper than delivery or microwave ones.

            I understand and am a victim of the impulse to not want to do things like prepare ahead of time but sometimes its your only choice.

        • I always wondered with those SNAP challenges if we had people who were failing on purpose or if they really had been raised by French poodles. On one hand, writing about your week and saying, “Yeah, I ate a lot of rice and beans along with some hamburger I bought on sale. It kind of sucked, but I survived” probably wouldn’t make your point. On the other hand, some of these people seem genuinely clueless about the concepts of budgeting or tying to find a cheaper alternative.

          • Ramen noodles. Extremely cheap. Cooked with some chicken from a whole bird, not just the breast makes a tasty meal. Beans, rice, and peas are cheap too and easy to fix.

            • Spent a summer on ramen once. Adding an egg and some other spices, and it was pretty dang good.
              Sadly, my body can no stand MSG…

            • leg quarters, precooked chopped and frozen. Throw a handful, plus a handful of frozen vegetables, into the ramen.

              • At least in Washington, there are mechanically butchered leg-quarters that they sell for between $4.50 and $6 per ten pound bag.

                You have to do a little trimming to get spine shards on about half, but if you basically strip the skin off, check for bone shards, cover a pan with them and
                then sprinkle with a spray of olive oil, sprinkle of garlic salt, pepper or lemon pepper as you prefer (or whatever seasonsings you like– simple “seasoning salt” works fine, and you can skip the olive oil)
                then bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until they don’t bleed when poked.

                Take out, drain into the sink; allow to cool, then chop and treat as Draven says.

                Trick for freezing, lay them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about half an hour, then dump into a ziplock; prevents clumping.

      • What the–

        Okay, I was prepared to give her some benefit of the doubt on the grounds that: 1. she may really have been poorly educated on practicalities; 2. if she was genuinely depressed-suicidal in her previous location, that probably also affected her decision-making abilities; and 3. once you’ve fallen behind badly enough it can be difficult to finance a move even if it’d be cheaper afterward.

        But the food-facial-alcohol blogging combined with the “haven’t bought groceries”? Seriously?

    • Another living wage kvetch. Sorry, but when I accepted my job it included this thing called a salary. It is what tells me how much I will be paid per year broken out into 26 payments. I took that and calculated my rent, utilities and estimated spending before I decided to move. Admittedly because it was a stem job and in a state where I am not paying 1000/sf or more it was easier. But it’s not that hard.

      See these things all over where people complain over working a normal schedule at an office, having to plan ahead for childbirth (or at least live in a fashion where losing part of an income won’t kill you), and being in an industry that is too top heavy to guarantee you a promotion every two years when your job has not changed. Grow up!

    • Heh. She got fired less than two hours after posting that ‘open letter.’ Quelle surprise.

      Seriously, though, who chooses to live in San Francisco…and *doesn’t* get a roommate? (or anywhere, really, if you’re single and looking at rent costs?)

      (Though a side note: $1200+ rent isn’t unusual where I live, either–in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming–and you get the added fun of high heating bills during the nine month winters. And likely having to drive at least an hour to get anywhere for semi-decent shopping. And San Francisco at least has a fairly robust–for America–public transportation system. No such thing out here: you *have* to have a vehicle, and one capable of dealing with ice/snow. So I especially wanted to smack that entitled little whiner…)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Ever hear of “Champagne Tastes, Beer Budget”?

        Dad used that expression when he thought us kids were wanting something that cost more than our family could afford.

        Somehow I doubt that “little girl” ever learned about that sort of thing. [Frown]

      • $1200+ rent isn’t unusual where I live, either

        Buildings cost money. They require materials, labor and capital to purchase those. They also require routine and regular maintenance. if a landlord is not making enough return on investment to recoup costs, maintenance gets skimped. The cost of an apartment is at the intersection of supply and demand — in Wyoming demand is low so few get supplied, which keeps the cost high; in San Francisco demand is high but supply is artificially constrained, which keeps the cost high.

        Adults, such as those here, know all this. Those who refuse to grasp such basic facts do not deserve being called adults.

  15. The spirit of Dr. Thomas Bowdler lives on, embodied in those who have undoubtedly mocked him.

    The past is what it is, and needs be seen warts and all. We ridicule the Italians for draping sheets over nude statues to make welcome the Tyrant of Iran, but how different is that from draping metaphorical sheets over our ancestors’ “statues”?

  16. How in the hell are they going to function in the real world where they won’t be the best at everything they do, where people will disagree with them and – gasp – might use language that makes them uncomfortable?

    By the sink or swim method. Instead of slowly introducing them to the pool and teaching them how to breath, how not to panic, how to dog paddle and backstore, and finally to crawl and butterfly (what, the breatstroke? I hate the thing) we are waiting until they are 20-something, motoring three miles off shore, throwing them in, and saying, “we’ll see you when you get home”.

    This will not end well.

  17. One minor quibble, and not targeted on the author, but this paragraph —

    I don’t blame the kids in this. … Yes, slavery is horrible. But let’s be real. It neither started in the US nor end here. Nor should those of us living now be held responsible for what our ancestors may or may not have done. But that’s not the point of this post.

    — offends me.

    It reeks of ritual obeisance to the ruling terror. It ought be the accepted premise that all here detest slavery; we are, after all, dedicated to the premise of humankind’s inalienable rights. That such boilerplate is needed (and it is needed, lest trolls enter and employ the absence of the ritual invocation as ammunition) is absurd and odious.

    Lost in the knee-jerk denunciation of slavery are the realities of time past, when nearly all human life was miserable, from the white trash laborer in the South to the Chinese tracklayer in the West to the Irish well-digger in the North. Giving special status to certain crimes against humanity diminishes the broader perspective of how awful the lot of humanity has generally been.

    • I would point out I regularly attend events where people wear shirts with a pyramid on it and the slogan “Slavery gets shit done” (yes, I know they weren’t built by slaves…I don’t make the tee shirts) and the people wearing the shirts identify with the slogan they are wearing in most cases.

      Giving special status to certain crimes against humanity diminishes the broader perspective of how awful the lot of humanity has generally been.

      Well, some people want to repeat those crimes just with themselves as the criminals I mean the enlightened masters. Of course they don’t want the general nature of those crimes recognized.

      • But the folks that will crucify you for not giving the ritual do the same except they have a third party act in their stead to take your labor from you in the form of taxation.

        (Wolf got his bonus statement today and saw half of it gobbled up by Mr Fed)

        • I didn’t quite lose half of mine but enough to annoy me. The tax rate on me is very close to the “you know, lost money would be less than gained time going back to deliverying pizza”

          • That makes you Greedy. (They, of course, are not Greedy for wanting your money; only you are Greedy for that.)

            They are quite confident that if you go Galt, a better person will be willing to do the work.

            • yeah like publishers thinking they can treat us like crap, and they’ll find equally good writers. Right…

            • Well according to them – there is your problem, you think it is your money.

            • We interview less than 1 in 1000 resumes received. We are banksters who wear jeans and tee shirts (or in my case sports shirts) and have a map of Middle Earth for corporate art. We make lots of money. Even then we cannot hire enough people to do the work we have. If the Sanders type think someone better more than happy to give up more money to taxes will replace me…well, based on their policies I’m not surprised they think that.

              I am fairly sure my employer isn’t and will try to increase compensation to make up for the taxes. The problem is at some point it isn’t the actual amount but the percentage in taxes that tells me to switch jobs. Especially when instead of paying for other people’s free stuff I’ll bet getting “free stuff” of my own.

      • Anonymous Coward

        After many years in the tech world, I came to view ridiculous work hours not as some kind of badge of honor, but as a sign of failure (usually in planning or project management). When new hires would work themselves to the point of exhaustion, I would tell them “Human sacrifice didn’t work for the Aztecs; why do you think it will work around here ?”

        • There are occasions where extraordinary effort is needed… but yeah, if you’re doing it on a regular basis, something went wrong in the planning.

          • Other than an AOG or something I screwed up, I work hours NTE 45/week. If it doesn’t get done with that perhaps a fix needs to come from elsewhere. But the mindset now is that managers and employees are widgets that should be interchangeable and the fact that they add 50% overhead from the charging and reporting and meeting requirements mean you should just accept it and work longer.

  18. Nit… removing a book from the curriculum is not banning it. It’s still in the library. I doubt copies will be seized if students are found with them.

    • Bjorn Hasseler

      In eighth grade, we were almost assigned the book _Bless the Beasts and Children_. Copies with sent home with permission slips, with the proviso that it had to be unanimous. It wasn’t, so we had to hand the books in the next day. I’d figured out the odds on unanimity and read it that night. It was gray goo. Much of the modern stuff we read in seventh and eighth grade was gray goo.

      • Given my views on judgement of teachers when it comes to books, I don’t have the least bit of a problem requiring unanimous permission before they subject a class to the @#$# thing for the next four months. (Imagine spending 30-45 minutes, every other day, for months on end… listening as one bored teen then another reads one paragraph at a time. Year after year. It was worse than the endless sex ed class.)

        If it results in a teacher having to actually choose texts

    • 1. Telling students it is A. Bad. Book.™ has mixed effects. Some will be more avid to read it, the majority will be eager to denounce anybody observed reading it.

      2. Imagine the school administration’s reaction to students showing up for class in T-shirts bearing Huck’s likeness and a quote from the book, say, perhaps:

      I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “All right, then, I’ll GO to hell.”

      or

      I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

      or

      All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they’re a mighty ornery lot. It’s the way they’re raised.

      Truly, there is a wonderful wealth from which to select.

    • Banning a book is a good way to get kids to want to read it.

    • Well, by the rules “Banned Book Week” works by, they have.
      They’re silly rules, but making people play by the rules they’ve set is hilarious.

      • I remember seeing a display of “banned” books in a local library, and an explanation for each book on how it got there. The only book on the list that I considered truly banned was the one that landed the author in jail for a day or two, sometime in the 1970’s, for having written the book.

        On a different note, I remember the American Library Association refusing to denounce the actions of one Fidel Castro, in a weird place called Cuba, when he had arrested people who had collections of thirty or so books that were literally banned–these people would quietly lend these books to others. Their reasoning? Those people weren’t really librarians! So apparently it’s ok to be arrested for sharing books if you aren’t officially working in the capacity of a librarian…and apparently there’s no such thing as “amateur” librarian, either…

        • That sounds a lot like the press’s believe that free speech and free press only apply to “real” journalists.

        • Yeah, you gotta be real careful of those free-lance book lenders. Who knows what kind of training they’ve skipped? Only borrow books from professionally trained, government certified librarians if you know what is good for you. Preferably, only books with officially bestowed awards, too.

          In fact, perhaps you’re better off just not reading books at all, except those properly designated. Readers lacking in professional reading skills are prone to getting the wrong ideas from books, even those books which have been stamped with the Good Thoughtkeeping Seal of Approval.

  19. Andrew McDowell

    Here is a curious variation on this. When I was studying History at school in N. Ireland during the troubles, our textbook on recent Irish history had a number of pages towards the end cut out by the school before we received it. We were told that the school was perfectly happy with what our reaction would be if we had been provided with them, but the school was worried about the reaction if any of our PARENTS read them.

  20. I worked in the school library in 1977. One day I was given a list and a cart, and went around removing every book by Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and copies of books like The Federalist Papers. Other library aides had their own lists and carts.

    So, (at least that particular) Arkansas school has been badthink-free for a long time now…

    • and went around removing every book by Mark Twain

      Reading about frog jumping competitions can lead to animal cruelty. And competitions.

    • When I was younger, I had this understanding that I didn’t need to own books. I always assumed that (1) there were so many books, I would never want to re-read one again. (Ha!) and (2) the library would always have the books I know and love.

      I can’t remember why I decided it was a fine idea to own books, but getting married cemented the notion…and while it has taken several encounters of “winnowed” books (in some cases, it’s merely because I have eclectic tastes–for example, would anyone like to program in “Forth”? If so, I would recommend “Starting Forth” by Leo Brodie, but it’s no longer available in the public library) I have come to realize that you can’t really trust the Public Library to keep the books you love.

      It’s a fantastic ability, being able to maintain your own library! And it’s not that hard, either…at least, not until you start running out of place, and you can’t remember where you put that one book, and you’re frustrated by your children for leaving that book you love on the floor, where it’s been trampled to death…

      • I figured out you can’t trust a library to have the books you’ll want the first time I saw a book on the “Discards – take one” shelf that I thought should be available in the library forever!

        • I got both volumes of NESFA’s Essential Hal Clement at a Friends of the Library sale. They had been part of the library collection, but did not appear to have ever been checked out. Some books get “discarded” for non-political reasons.

          • I remember being frustrated one day at the library. Having just read Weber & Ringo’s March Upcountry. I was trying to check find March to the Sea. The computer said it was available at that branch but I couldn’t find it anywhere. The librarian tried checking one last place and found it with the books for the next used book sale. From the back I heard “Damn! I thought we were going to get rid of that crap!” I keep checking out Ringo & Weber on general principles now. Must keep them on the current list.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Lovely language Forth. The Brodie book is only an arms’s length away from me. I still grin when I think all the gushing over Java and it’s Brand Spanking New idea of a bytecoded language.

      • I’ve always owned books, and helped my daughter start her own library when she was young. Some books that I used to own (some were lost in a move, others were triaged for space and weight considerations) I regret no longer having, because I can’t find them anymore. Sometimes, it’s because the replacement cost is more than I am willing to bear, other times it’s because I just can’t find them at all.

        There are people who don’t read. I remember how horrified I was at one interstitial anecdote that appeared in Reader’s Digest – I actually had it taped to my refrigerator for a few years. A woman had recommended to her teen-aged son that a book might be a good birthday present for one of his friends. His response was, “I don’t think so, mom. He already has a book.”

        By the way, if you’re interested in Forth, both Starting Forth and Thinking Forth are available online. I like Starting Forth, but for me, Thinking Forth was the more useful book, because Starting Forth teaches the language, but Thinking Forth teaches the philosophy.

      • I’ve always owned books, and helped my daughter start her library at an early age. I regret the books that I’ve lost or discarded over the years, because I’ve never found replacements for some of them.

        I know other people who don’t own books, but they do trust that there will be libraries available. Others don’t read at all – I remember one interstitial anecdote from Readers Digest that I clipped and had taped to my refrigerator for years. A woman had suggested to her (teenage) son that a book might be an appropriate birthday present for a friend of his. His response was, “I don’t think so, mom. He already has a book.”

        A friend once told me that I had “packrat taste in music.” That could also apply to my reading material. I also like Forth (used it professionally for several years), but I found Thinking Forth to be a more useful book than Starting Forth.

        • Do you know that some people have no bookcases? I guess gym would express similar horror at my lack of any exercise.

          • Somewhat related– our realtor suggested we pack up all of our books that we possibly can, as well as any book cases we’re not leaving.

            If they don’t read, the books will knock them out of the “my house” daydream she needs to sell the place; if they do, the books will knock them out of the “this could be YOU!” fantasy as they browse. 😀

          • gym rat.

          • Back when, before Borders and B&N, we had a local indie book shop that gave regulars a card in which a hole was punched for every book bought; a completed card (ten punches) could be redeemed for $10 off a subsequent purchase.


            Beloved Spouse & I endeavored to talk them into changing the program so that 100 punches (ten cards) could be redeemed for a new bookcase. Nothing fancy, just a plain wooden 5-shelf case.

          • When my couch was delivered, one delivery guy was muttering to another about all those bookcases as they left.

            • When the FBI came to call on me (back around 1973; they were doing a background check on the guy in the apartment across from mine … so they claimed) the bookcases caught their attention. Presumably not enough for me to be sent in for regrooving.

              • Yes, they will talk to neighbors when doing investigations.

                And you can tell them to bugger off. It’s a courtesy thing. People do it often enough that when they re-up your clearance, they will ask for a list of references that they can talk to.

                Funny related story, they did the “ask random people at the school he just graduated from” thing and the investigator actually came back and asked what the heck my brother had been doing, because people were flat-out hostile when he tried to find out if my brother had ever done anything that could hurt his clearance. 😀 Apparently he’d never been nearly assaulted by little bitty office ladies for asking about student misbehavior before, and don’t get me started on the lunch ladies’ reaction.

      • I’ve always owned books, and helped my daughter start her library at an early age. I regret the books that I’ve lost or discarded over the years, because I’ve never found replacements for some of them.

        I know other people who don’t own books, but they do trust that there will be libraries available. Others don’t read at all – I remember one interstitial anecdote from Readers Digest that I clipped and had taped to my refrigerator for years. A woman had suggested to her (teenage) son that a book might be an appropriate birthday present for a friend of his. His response was, “I don’t think so, mom. He already has a book.”

        A friend once told me that I had “packrat taste in music.” That could also apply to my reading material. I also like Forth (used it professionally for several years), but I found Thinking Forth to be a more useful book than Starting Forth.

        This is the third time I’ve tried to post this comment. On the presumption that WordPress doesn’t like me linking to the online locations of the books, I’ll note that Starting Forth is available at forth dot com slash starting-forth, and Thinking Forth is available at thinking-forth dot sourceforge dot net.

  21. I remain of the opinion that one reason “The Dam Busters” — a fabulous story and a great movie — is so little known today is the historically accurate name for the commander’s black Labrador dog.

    • I used to work for a company back in the 70s with a black yard dog. You knew when the owner arrived the morning. He would call the dog.

      ” Here N—–r! N—-r! N—-r! Good boy. Such a good N—-r.”

      There were a fair number of blacks and Mexicans at work. Oilfield Trash was a different world. He also gave all the blacks a N—-r holiday for MLK birthday before it was an actual thing.

    • When I teach the history of the New Wave immigration (or Second Wave) of the late 1800s, I ask the students if they’ve ever heard any of the following: Kike, Dago, Wop, Spic, ‘Ski, Cracker, Paddy, and a few others, including the dreaded “N.” Most of the epithets just get puzzled looks, as you’d expect. It’s fun to point out that those were all as nasty at the time, to various groups, and That Word is purported to be today.

      • The scene from “Rescue Me” where the firefighters go to sensitivity training and start complaining about how blacks only have one epithet while Hispanics have half a dozen is utterly hilarious.

        • One of my favorite parts of Gran Torino was all the new ethnic slurs I learned.

          The best part was a film that finally showed an example of what it means to be a man and what it takes to raise one up to and including Thao’s smile of understanding at the reading of the will (which had nothing to do with him getting the car).

        • Anonymous Coward

  22. And then there is Common Core. What if the idiots in DC decided to ban Huck Finn from the American curriculum. Let’s keep these fights local.

    • Common Core is worse. The idiots in DC want us to convince our kids that regulations and air conditioning repair manuals is normal reading.

      Never mind that reading stories like “And He Built a Crooked House”, or reading “Garfield” and “Calvin and Hobbes”, or Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, or whatever “trash” that the Literati can’t help snub, is the key to getting kids to read, so that when they have to read “RFC 1139” for work, they can, even if they are bored to tears by it…but if we approach reading that way, then kids will develop a love for it, rather than view it as a boring chore, and we can’t have that! Then they’ll start thinking for themselves!

      (Incidentally, RFC 1139 *isn’t* boring, and it has even been implemented a couple of times, so it’s an official Internet standard.)

  23. I had a possibly related thing happen with my 8yo daughter. She asked me about Martin Luther King Jr because they were making a big deal about him at school around the holiday (Rightly so, of course, he was a worthy individual). However, because things like slavery, and racism, and such are such uncomfortable topics, the school didn’t teach any context for WHY we celebrate MLK Jr. SO…. she was left with “he was a cool guy who walked around a lot and people liked him”.

    I tried starting at explaining that he worked to secure civil rights for black people, but could see I was losing her. She couldn’t understand because, to her, people are just people, skin color doesn’t matter. So, while we were cleaning the kitchen (for about an hour), I started with Slavery, and moved up through the civil war, post civil war (Jim Crow) era, and into the civil rights era. Just giving an overview, not bother with too many details, just giving enough so she would have a frame of reference.

    No idea how much sank in. The topic hasn’t come back up. But while it was going on she listened and asked pointed questions which was almost surreal since that particular kid of mine is usually a bit of an air-head. I’m starting to suspect there is a brain in that cute, fluffy, blonde head.

  24. I kind of wonder- is one of the reasons our youth shun adulthood because they never really had time to be a kid? Ponder the modern regimented march of preschool, daycare, sports practice, music practice, summer camps, school, after school, homework, mandatory “Community Volunteering”… a list of activity even Ivan Denisovich would find oppressive.
    All this hustle and bustle with no time to just do goofy kids stuff- no wonder young people are so messed up.

  25. This part has stuck in my mind all day:

    Hall said students were challenged by the use of the racial slur

    Goodness, we can’t let the poor darlings be challenged — they might actually learn something!!!

  26. You don’t grade papers in class (remember those days when you would finish an assignment, hand it to the person in front or behind you and then everyone would grade the assignment right there?) because someone might be embarrassed by their grade.

    Not sure about other schools, but the real reason mine quit this is because people were falsifying the grades.

    Not because folks would feel bad, but because the teacher couldn’t trust the results– turns out having kids with no sense of responsibility do chores has bad results, especially when there aren’t any consequences. (Well, other than for the person they don’t like who they marked “wrong” on everything.)

  27. It is a truism that the human race strives to adjust our environment to what we are comfortable. Apes came down from the trees, exposed to the environment 24/7 and adapted to caves which was a cool idea. Hunter-gatherers gathered into collectives to plant and harvest the first crops, permitting them to build villages and towns. Steadily we’ve increased our comfort levels. The whole thing with colleges and the millenials are just outgrowths of the same thing. But…

    In psychology the rough distinction between neurosis and psychosis is whether or not it affect your life adversely. A neurosis is walking around a ladder leaning against a wall… a psychosis is when you run away for it. The difference between the two diagnoses is, simplistically, a matter of degree. An aversion to someone expressing a differing opinion or giving offense some way is a neurosis. Running to a “safe space” or actively shaming someone is a psychosis.

    Another point, a hopelessly behind-the-times cousin (a week older than me) has a granddaughter about to start high school in the fall. She asked me for a list of schools that teach Japanese in Arizona, because her granddaughter loves anime. I kind of like anime as well, and so I googled “high schools that teach Japanese in Arizona” and got a list. It turns out that the granddaughter was already slated to attend Central High in Phoenix. My cousin is at least as pig-headed and obstinate as I am and went down to the school and proceeded to give them h..e..double toothpicks about why it wasn’t in the literature her granddaughter had gotten for enrollment. “Too tough!” she was told. “We are thinking about ending the program if sufficient students don’t enroll.” My cousin asked a simple, blunt question: “Why would you expect students to enroll in a program you hide?”

    Let’s face it — Glenn Reynolds is right. Enrolling someone in a public school is child abuse. It turns out there is a Japanese Teachers Association and they have Saturday schools for high school credit, as well as distance learning classes. They are about one millimeter from home schooling my cousin’s granddaughter. I blush to say I encourage such things.

  28. From above:
    emily61 | February 24, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    A man in a post-apocalyptic novel heads to Seattle for survivors. wtf?

    Joe Wooten | February 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm |
    Yep. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

    Foxfier | February 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm |
    That isn’t actually THAT bad of an idea– the winters aren’t too rough, and there is a lot of food, relatively speaking.

    Joe Wooten | February 25, 2016 at 8:53 am |
    But it’s not grown in Seattle. What will be left when the swarm of hungry millenial drones starts leaving the city when everything breaks down?

    We’re one of those areas where people who were hunter/gatherers could have permanent settlements. And you can walk to where family friends have vast acres of potatoes– it would suck, yeah vastly, but you can walk there. That’s ignoring that there are actually a lot of non-fluff-headed growing operations around here, though they tend to be very quiet while the fluffheads assume that they’re all one with nature. “Yeah, babble at me all you want, you’re paying through the nose for that tomato grown with the best technology I can get.”

  29. We’re losing our history because of the way it is(n’t) taught.

    We had Civil War reenactors at Old Tucson this past weekend for an event; and while they all knew that Tucson was part of the Confederacy, they didn’t know the reason that Tucson got the University of Arizona in the 1880s was because the city was “a hotbed of secessionists and Confederate sympathizers.”

    (Tucson knew it wasn’t getting the Territorial capitol back, but was aiming for the Territorial Asylum, there was a lot of money in running Asylums. At the time there wasn’t even a secondary school in the Territory, so the University was viewed as punishment.)

    • I think I left the comments box uncheck. oops.

    • Hunh. And now the universities are indistinguishable* from asylums.

      *Not really – the inmates aren’t running the asylums.

      • Danville Area Community College (Danville IL) uses buildings that formerly housed “shell-shocked” patients of the VA hospital.

        For some time after the patients were moved to new buildings, some of them would visit the classrooms that were once their homes.

        The story goes that they were better behaved than the students. [Very Very Big Grin]

        • In the late 1800’s, not so much. That was why Tucson wanted the Asylum; you could a) confiscate personal property of the inmate as an income source and b) bilk any family members out of money for amenities, like descent food.

          Wait a minute, maybe not that different than 21st century universities.

      • Except we’ve closed so many asylums and put the inmates on the street.
        Hey, idea! Maybe the way to clean up a lot of the “homeless” problem would be government-guaranteed “asylum inmate loans”. (Safer, more attractive place for many of them.)
        Of course, to prevent a bubble and later implosion in the asylum industry, the enabling legislation would have to forbid hiring lots of “diversity”, “asylum life”, etc. administrators.

  30. “This is why the whole “The president can be a dumbass if he hires good advisors” always fails, as we have proof daily.”

    First-rate presidents hire first-rate advisors.

    Second-rate presidents hire third-rate advisors.

    Third-rate presidents hire Hillary Clinton.

    I blame some of our current problems on the entire “No Child Left Behind” philosophy. You cannot simultaneously uphold high standards of education and insist that everyone meet them. You have to be humane enough to find decent employment and give decent treatment to people who cannot absorb very much education. And by “decent” I don’t mean high-paying employment or generous government benefits; I mean individual decent educated people looking out for individual decent uneducated people.