Give a Man a Quarter and He Can Play One Game, Teach Him to Write in Basic and He Can Feed a Village (Really), They Don’t Make Video Games the Way They Used To (and Get Off My Lawn!), Russ Can’t Help Falling In Love…Again…, Is This the Text That Launched a Thousand Ships?, How Rabbits From Certain Places Can Help You Recover Your Voice, How Many Meppers Does It Take to Get One Mepper a Date, Angry Pictures are Angry, and Chemistry = Not Fat.
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Beyond expressing my sorrow for the lost and injured and all those affected by this tragedy, I have little to say about the horrific events in Arizona yesterday except one thing. Regular Mep readers / listeners will know all of us here put a high value on communication and the power of rhetoric; the two greatest speakers of the twentieth century (arguably) were Martin Luther King and Adolf Hitler, and I don’t think anyone needs a cheat sheet to determine which person pursued the good and which the evil. What yesterday conclusively, definitively proves is that rhetoric is not an unalloyed good. It is a neutral tool, and it has consequences.
Every once in a while, I’m reminded of why I love literature…and why, just maybe, the future isn’t as bleak as everyone seems to be fond of predicting these days.
Teachers are used to working with less. Primary school teachers are used to buying basic classroom supplies out of their own salaries; secondary school teachers are used to teaching with classrooms at double or more capacity; post secondary teachers at all levels are used to ever increasing demands from multiple masters (publish now, do committee work now, teach now, advise now…everything now, or preferably yesterday). I’ve taught at all these levels, and most of the teachers I know accept their respective situations with a shrug and a sense of humor (there’s a reason the teachers’ lounge is the most important room in any school building for the people to whom it caters).
To quote Good Will Hunting, “You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.”
I’m late to the party here, but I just spent almost an hour catching up on this group: a chorus of fifth graders from Staten Island, in a public school no less (how shocking! /snark), who thanks to exactly the kind of music teacher the schools need more of (and believe me, he’s not getting rich doing this) is producing some pretty amazing arrangements. They’ve been featured on Nightline, Good Morning America, and have had a bunch of celebs weigh in with their praise, all while fighting budget cuts and skeptics who wonder whether this is the “right kind of music”…but that’s not really important. What’s important is that, every once in a while, something comes along to remind us that there might be some hope for us after all.
Really, where the hell was this when I was in sixth grade?