Friday, August 16, 2013

Letter #13 - Observations on Public Schools After Parents Night

Letter dated August 16, 2013:

With the start of the 2013/2014 school year at its beginning and after attending parent’s night for my oldest daughter, who is entering the middle school level of public school, I decided to write an informal letter for you to read when you are parents, with some observations on the public school system as I currently see them.  The school system we are currently attending conducted parent night through a structural format with parents following their child’s schedule to each classroom for a ten minute brief from that classroom’s course instructor.

The first classroom we visited was the social studies course.  I believe the majority of American schools alternate between U.S. history (a very narrow curriculum that briefly touched American slavery and Native American genocide and displacement, let alone capitalism, government, foreign policy, territorial expansion and imperialism) and world history.  The grade level we are currently entering is world history, and knowing this in advance we have worked hard to cover the globe over the summer.  After all, when it boils down to it….this isn’t about letter grades, this is about acquiring truthful knowledge and critical thought for our children. 

The social studies teacher at this particular school was a somewhat young, in my opinion, male teacher.  I will state here that with the growing trends of teacher misconduct and moral problem in American society that I still support gender segregation in the classroom, but that position has been put forth previously and will be discussed again in the future.  My first concern with the first classroom, since history is one of the most vital subjects of required knowledge for our children, was that this teacher was also the football coach, the basketball coach (for both genders) and the track coach.  I found myself questioning the level of academic dedication in the field of history that a teacher could give to studebnts while being so active in sports coaching.  Since I do not know the man, I will give him the benefit of doubt at this point, because while I am an avid pursuer of historic knowledge, and I am also a sports fan and I also coach my daughter’s recreational sports teams on occasion.  This teacher provided a brief background on himself, and with this background (shared by many teachers), I found a problematic trend among educators in the public school system.  This teacher of social studies, otherwise known as the very important subject of history, did not have a degree in American or world history.  He only possessed a degree in teaching.  This realization told me that he was possibly pushing forward a pre-established state curriculum, in effect no different than a politician reading a pre-written speech.   This realization solidified my position of the importance of home education in addition to systematic education and public school resources.

Question #1:  Should our teachers be required to hold degrees in the areas they are teaching our children?  I hold the view that this requirement, in itself, would be a very positive element of education reform.

The second course classroom that we visited was pre-algebra and the teacher was a healthy looking grandmother with three young grandchildren.  She also had a teaching degree, but a minor degree in the field of mathematics, and she generally portrayed a passion for mathematics, which I greatly appreciate.  The advanced work that my daughter and I have put in over the summer seems to have covered the areas previewed in her curriculum, and I left this course classroom with little concern.

The third course classroom was drama and speech.  The teacher for this course was an older male teacher, eccentric in character and obviously by his gait a theatre-actor type.  Even though the curriculum of this course was basically a state sponsored acting class, I support the social interaction involved and, as the instructor himself stated, the social interaction building on life skills (even if the topic areas of that interaction are irrelevant, we can work that on our own time).  Even though my hopes that the speech portion of this course might contain topics pertinent to society, I could only cede that this course would not hinder or damage the educational process.

The forth class was gym.  Again, we find ourselves dealing with a gender integrated gym course with an older female gym teacher and a young male gym teacher.  Again, I am not supportive of this structure, especially in the physical education (if it is still called that) arena.  I noted that the school gym shorts being sold were too short for young girls who are physically developing into women, but at the current stage of our society I seem to be in the minority group of people holding these views, or even considering the concern.  As our children grow up, we must allow them to make certain decisions…but must ensure that our children are fully informed, to the best of our abilities, prior to making those decisions.  My daughters, your mother and I have always been upfront and have never candy-coated or hid the ugly realities of the society.  When news reports of rape, sexual assault or teacher misconduct have been reported….we have attempted to make you aware of them in order that you may reflect on the dangers in society.  At this point in our society, I simply do not see the issue with a slight increase in modest dress for our young women.  I left this decision with my daughter and she is considering her options.

The next few courses of classes brought no new concerns.  I support the Spanish course with the mentality that a future bi- or multi-lingual generation of Americans can only be beneficial.  I had no problems with the science course, as we have long anticipated the periodic chart, or the teacher, an older no-nonsense instructor, other than she had no degrees in science…only teaching.  Apparently Pluto is no longer a planet (note how the field of science can change).

The most impressive teacher was the language arts and reading teacher.  She informed parents that she had been teaching at the 1st grade level for several years and was making her first jump to the middle school level.  Perhaps this organic educational passion she displayed was an eagerness to advance to a new age group of students, but I sincerely hope that her passion burns for a long time.  We were lucky enough to draw her for dual classes, language arts and reading.  She had me sold as soon as she made the statement that her students would do a book report every two week on exterior books.  Not only does this play directly into our home studies, I instantly began envisioning working on our college level citations for each of these book reports.

These were the main observations that I took from parent’s night at the public school system.  Since this informal letter is focused on the public school system, I feel compelled to revisit a topic concerning capital, the quality of schools in economically healthy neighborhoods, and the dilapidation and lack of resources for schools in lower economic areas.  Why is there a disparity of equality concerning available resources, obtained by capital, between schools in lower economic areas and upper economic areas?  I am sure that there are a plethora of reasons that can be put forth, but the most basic and problematic area (based on the current state, county, and city structure that I can theorize on is crime and drugs.  We know the government is big business and currently has little concern for our children, and we know the private sector is profit driven; therefore WE, the people, must take responsibility for reform efforts.  In capitalist society, the private sector corporations, who practically out-capital the individual business owners and eventually force them out or swallow them, hold the sole motive of accumulating profit.  The private sector corporations care for very little else and certainly show little concern for our children outside of opportunities for solid PR campaigns (public relations).  At the same time, the public school system draws its majority budget from tax revenues from the state, county, or city.  With this being said, a degenerating neighborhood or community that is plagued by violence, drugs, and other negative elements will be held stagnant, or more than likely reduced, in tax revenues due to a lack of investment by the capitalist corporations (caring only for profits) in their avoidance of investments into those neighborhoods, which results in less available jobs, higher unemployment, and less tax revenues for schools.  For so many years we have heard empty rhetoric from politicians about rebuilding destroyed cities (and lower economic areas), such as areas of Detroit and Chicago, but these politicians do not control the private corporations.  If anything, the private sector corporations own them and their votes.  It is vital for our lower economic community members to build their communities by cutting off the drug supply lines (through the reduction and eventual ending of demand), reducing the epidemic of violent crimes (usually young men murdering their peers over reputations or chump change), with the end result aiming for the increase of individual business operations (or corporate job creation) to create jobs, generate stronger revenues for school and community resources, and an overall better living community for the youth.  Of course, we must also identify and remove all forms of corruption in the local levels of government.  How can we accomplish this?  Education is one tool and it is a tool that must be wielded by a parent or a true mentor, not the public school system, and conducted on individual AND community collective levels.  How can we make better opportunities for our children, if we do not understand the economic, political, and government structures within the levels and operations of government, the private sector, or the public school system?  We must educate ourselves, so we can educate our children.  We, especially the lower economic-working class, have to teach our youth that the system is designed for them to fail or fall short.  Instead of the tired slogans of “Drugs and violence are bad”, we need to begin teaching our children these economic, political, systematic formulas and how the systems (and the social, economic traps) work….how they impact THEIR individual and community futures….to include the consequences, both individually and community level.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letter #12 - The Funny Man, The Comedian, and the Influence of Mass Production

Should men be defined as funny?   With all the urgent issues facing society today, especially American society, do we need court jesters, fools, and grown men acting out as either buffoons for laughs, or even worse, verbally belittling others for so-called ‘hilarious’ entertainment?  I have been giving contemplation to the roles and responsibility of men in society, and among many areas, would like to focus on the character of the funny fool.  At this stage in Western society, it would seem we would need more technical experts and technical educators, intellectual and moral mentors, proactive parents, physical contributors to society, laborers, protectors of families and children, and multiple other strong, positive roles instead of jesters at the individual and public level.  After all, the world is currently plagued by very serious negative issues from mass incarceration of non-violent crimes to mass poverty, from government corruption to wars instituted on behalf of vulture capitalism and global imperialism (amassing national debt for our children), from racial division to outright public ignorance, from high murder rates (youth murdering youth and mass shootings in public places) and drug epidemics to the rape and sexual assault of our children, along with many more disturbing issues that I have not mentioned here.  With all of the troubling issues in American society and throughout the world, with the next generation scheduled to inherit these issues, who is the man who spends his hours in idleness and joke telling, and comedic buffoonery?  Who is the funny man who stumbles to the floor like a bumbling derelict simply to get a laugh?  It is one thing to entertain a (very) young child, but it is another thing among adults in a troubled society, which in itself should bring question to the intellectual levels of both the buffoon and those who appreciate the buffoon.  Does the man who constantly jokes and never takes important issues in a serious manner, or in his mind and hands, hide behind his humor out of weakness or fear?  This brings up another issue for consideration.  Is this type of behavior naturally inherited through DNA or is it shaped by society and culture?  I will concede that DNA combination shape human personality traits.  Although, I do not tend to believe that the majority of social behavior patterns are naturally born in a human infant, even though a small child will dance and purposely fall down for approving laughs or attentions, while on the other hand, a grown man is not a child despite, in some cases, having the intellectual levels and disciplines of one.  Therefore, I lean toward the position that the acceptance and imitation of excessive comedic behavior in grown men is the majority result of society norms and values (in accordance with intellectual levels).  Therefore, as we have discussed in prior letters, I am unable to ignore the influences of inorganic popular culture on this social phenomenon, which is derived and shaped by mass produced entertainment by the elite holders of mass capital.

Let us look at a few random examples of comedians, supported by mass produced exposure to the public, and review some of their material, which is obviously embraced by a bulk of American society and clearly represents the dilapidating cultural condition of our society….and the shaping of future American society. 

Random Example #1:

The first comedian we will look at is the very popular Kevin Hart in his stand-up routine entitled: ‘Seriously Funny’ (on the Viacom owned Comedy Central Network).which originally aired on July 11, 2010.

Excerpt #1:

“I saw my dad get knocked out one time. I was 13, traumatized me.  This guy hit my dad twice in the same spot, mm-mm, quick as hell, quickest two punches I've ever seen in my life.  I've never seen anything like it.  Bop-bop.  Hit my dad so fast, in the middle of the fight, my dad stopped fighting and asked me what happened, in the middle of the fight.  In the middle of the fight, it was like, bop-bop.” [1]

In telling his story, inputting jester-like animation while doing so, Mr. Hart continues to build up for the punch line.

“…that was the day that he stopped being my dad.  I lost all respect.  He didn't understand that, though.  He was still trying to discipline me around the house.  "Kevin, hey, didn't I tell you to get the trash out?  Get up, get the trash out " "shut up. Shut up.  You get the trash out before I get Steve to come over here and put his damn hands on you " "oh, oh, oh, you gonna get Steve, huh?  You are something else.  Give me the trash." he didn't want to see Steve again.  STEVE BEAT THE [bleep] OUT OF My dad.” [2]

Is this supposed to be funny?  Is the disrespect of a parental figure humorous?  With all the American families with no father figures due to abandonment or incarceration, is this funny?  A sub-level discussion concerning this utterly disrespectful joke would be the topic of when a physical alteration is necessary.  Today, men and women will physically damage each other like animals over the most trivial disputes.  I hold that the defense of family, the defense of a victim’s life, self-defense, or defense of the American people by foreign enemies (on American soil) would be legitimate reasons to enter into physical violence, and those reasons provided are considered important enough to not only enter into physical violence….but to do so with no consideration of my own life or liberty.

Excerpt #2:

“He goes through his daughter's phone.  He found a picture of a little boy's thing on the phone, right?  He tells me everything.” [3]

So, Mr. Hart goes on to talk about if this was his son pulling his penis out at school, and how he would chastise him in front of the mother, but after the mother was gone he would….

“And if I found out that my son was pulling his thing out in school, when his mother's around, I'm gonna have an attitude.  I'm gonna have a lot of stuff to say.  "Really?  Really, dude?  That's what you do in school?  So you don't need pants, 'CAUSE YOUR [bleep] IS OUT." as soon as his mom leave, "hey, come here.  What did she say when she saw it?  Give me some.  Give me some.  Yes.  Hell, yeah.  Sometimes you got to put it on the table, son.  Let 'em see it.” [4]

Is this funny?  How funny would it be if a boy, or young man, or a grown man exposed himself to your daughter or mother?  And how funny is it that the humorous acceptance on behalf of this kind of immoral social behavior can lead to future sexual assault or worse, not to mention the utter disrespect of our own women?  This type of promotion for immoral humor, which Mr. Hart earns millions to promote in his comedy, and the many others like him who are mass produced in the entertainment field succeed generation after generation in desensitizing an uneducated public and spreading immoral cancer cells within society.

Random Example #: 2

Jeff Durham is the second example, and he makes jokes (and a wealthy living) utilizing stereotypical toy puppets and ventriloquism.  In the following sample, he utilizes stereotypical ‘white trash’ puppet for his humor.

Excerpt 1:

“[Laughter] >> bubba j, are you married?  >> Oh, yeah.  >> Yeah, is your wife pretty?  .. no.  [Laughter] >> what's the difference?  >> The light.  [Laughter] >> where'd you meet your wife?  >> At the family reunion. [Laughter] >> Dunham: So bubba j, where was this family reunion?  >> At the state fair.  >> Dunham: State fair?  >> Why don't you tell us about the first time you saw your wife.  Where was she?  >> Oh, she was leaning up against the ferris wheel.  >> Dunham: Yeah?  >> Dunham: Yeah?  [Laughter] sunlight glistening .. [Laughter] corn dog in one hand, a budweiser in the other.” [5]

What is funny about this?  If an American falls under this reality, it is not cute or humorous at all, and they obviously need guidance instead of ridicule.  This is another comedian that has grown rich on puppets, cultural stereotypes, and apathetic meaningless talk.  This comedian also has an Arab terrorist skeleton puppet, a mean (and perversely immoral) elderly male puppet, and a few other stereotypical toy puppets.  Here is the conclusion of his so-called humor at the expensive of the lower economic white community:

“[Laughter] >> so I guess you had the, the wedding at the church?  >> At Wal-mart.  [Laughter] >> Wal-mart?  >> Yeah.  >> Why?  >> Easier to return the gifts.” [6]

These are just two of the popular comedians of the current period.  There are endless examples of them and their little comedy ‘acts’ contain absolutely nothing of substance or intellectual importance, and certainly do not benefit a state with so many social, economic, political and moral problems.  I would advise you to analyze the topics of these jester’s jokes, and avoid being lulled into mechanically watching (and subconsciously absorbing) their so-called inorganic entertainment.   In order to gain individual wealth and admiration (which Americans eagerly provide them), these comedian tools are required to perform the desired content that their executive producers (funding) desire: content desensitizing immoral behavior, desensitizing disrespect toward all elements of family and humanity, and content that laughingly encourages the further degeneration of American norms and values.  As I asked with glamorized self-destructive rap and pop music, who produces these mass produced artists?  What political, ethnic, religious, and economic similarities do these producers share?  These so-called artists are really no different than those artists who glamorize violence and drugs in rap music or apathetic emotional teenage pop music, because each of these sources are all funded by the same capital sources which shape domestic norms and values.  Identify the sources that influence your society.  Mass produced comedy is no more than another tired diversion on the subconscious minds which divert the people from the issues that their children will be faced with.

Let us quickly scan the most popular comedy movies from 2012, which are mass produced much heavier than stand-up comedy acts, and reflect the same apathetic diversion tactics, immoral desensitization of uncivilized norms and values, and the numbing of conscious minds.  We will only randomly discuss a few of these comedy movies from 2012, simply to show the trend, because it is quite easy select a year and research the products being mass produced out of ‘Z’ollywood.

The first comedy movie of 2012 that we will briefly look at is the movie ‘Project X’ about a massive teenage “party of all parties” that practically destroys a suburban neighborhood in an all-out pursuit of shallow social popularity by one of the characters.  I am not sure what Americans find humorous about excessive underage drinking and drug usage, property destruction, youth sexual promiscuity, and the false concluding (subliminal) message that the party goers were not really held accountable by the law.  This lack of realistic responsibility in the face of the justice system may be possible for children of wealthy Congressional leaders, but not for the working class.  Needless to say, this movie has been mimicked more than a few times since its release.  The fact that our youth are so impressionable to such advancement hindering and self-destructive images is a serious and troubling concern.  This is the human element, as a human being is influenced by his or her surrounding environments from birth.  On the other hand, if that absorption of influence would be utilized by strong, positive and conscious elements with understanding of ramifications (and multiple other positive results), it would be incredible to watch a future generation build itself in areas of economics, politics, morals, intellectual development, law, and social collectivity.  Alas, the capital-wealthy mass producers of entertainment would never mass produce positive images in order to get the youth thinking and building because it would be detrimental to their exclusive position of extreme capital wealth (and media control).  A dumb public is an easily manipulated public.

The second example of a so-called “hit” comedy movie from 2012 is a movie entitled “Jeff Who Lives At Home” about an unemployed 30 year old stoner who still lives at home with his mother.  This is actually a trend in the United States.  Are we laughing yet?  What this comedic performance does not concentrate on are the causes that create this trends.  These trends include: 1) American jobs lost when American (and multinational) private sector corporations open manufacturing plants in foreign nation-states with lower wage requirements (in order to maximize capital profit).  2)  The growing correlation of a growing population and growing technology (as new technologies reduce the requirements of manual labor for generating capital profit as it did during the industrial revolution)  3)  Lack of true educational development  4) Lack of technical skills  5)  Social and economic traps aimed at the lower economic communities of all colors through mass produced inorganic popular culture like a psychological carrot under a box.  There is just no humor in any of this to the rational, responsible, and conscious mind.

I will cease writing this letter at this point with the hope that you, my children, and beginning to understand the influencing power of mass produced entertainment and how it impacts the mass majority of our population.  You are what you watch.  You are what you read.  Who are you, my son and daughters?  Who have you become?  If this is a startling realization for you, I assure you that there are no chains of indoctrination that are unbreakable.  Your father has broken a few chains to become the person he is at the time of this letter.  Learn history…and watch the world, as it has been mass produced to appear before you…….change before your eyes and understanding.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strides in Education: Frederick Douglass 'My Bondage, My Freedom' Chapters 13 and 14

Topics include: The Inheritance of Slave Owner Property, Division of Slave Families, Uncle Tom, Starvation of Slaves, Slave Master Conversion to Christianity, Hypocrisy of Christian Slave Owners, Hypocrisy of Christian Pastors in Slavery, Christian Leadership Preventing Sabbath Studies of Slaves and Blacks, Edward Covey the Slave Breaker.