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					COMMENTARY
COMMENTARY


LET THE WEAK ONES
                                                                             keeping a pet around the office.
                                                                                        I spent the first eight years of my educational career in the
                                                                             public grammar schools of Jersey City, New Jersey. After that my
      DROWN                                                                  parents, God Bless ‘em, feared for my life and shunted me off to a
                                                                             private high school run by hard-nosed Jesuits in Jersey City. (The
                                                                             public High Schools in Jersey City are the sorts of places, I am told
      Social Darwinism Vs. Social Promotion                                  by trusted and more adventurous confidants, where nice pale boys
                              by Jeff Somers
                                                                             like me either turn to hard narcotics for solace or are last seen
                                                                             entering the library, chased by several members of the Crips.) I know
                                                                             a little bit about social promotion. Half the idiots I graduated with
                                                                             were socially promoted. I think one of them is still alive.

me.
         My whole life, I’ve been busy doing things assigned to                         Social promotion is, to put it as clearly as I can, a major case
                                                                             of the assholes winning, and I can think of three good reasons to
          I’m not sure where it started, whether it was my parents           stop doing it, even though that would probably result in a 50%
influence or television, Cub Scouts or some other perverse light             failure rate in New York City alone (Chicago did it cold turkey one
shining on my pale, chubby skin back when I was but a lad. At                day a few years ago and immediately had to fail 35% of its high
some point my febrile brain equated the approval of authority                school students. Some Chicagoans are still hiding in their
                                figures with the very stuff of security      basements, awaiting the riots). Number one, let the stupid
                                and happiness. Hell, it was probably all     motherfuckers know that they’re morons instead of treating them like
  we are often                  that Romper Room. From that moment
                                until I was in my rebellious teens,
                                                                             the disabled, number two, stop treating them like the disabled and
                                                                             maybe we’ll find some of them aren’t morons, and number three,
  promoting,                    school was just my job, just a place I
                                had to go and do a bunch of stuff and
                                                                             keep those stupid motherfuckers as far away from me as possible. I
                                                                             don’t care about the potential psychic damage inflicted on these
  and                           then go home and get approved of. By         poor kids, I don’t care that they might suffer lowered self esteem as
                                                                             they repeat the fourth grade for the fifth year in a row. There is a
                                the time I thought to wonder about this
  eventually                    cozy situation, it was too late: I was a     certain point where stupid people should just accept the fact that
                                good student. Even in my worst years,        they’re stupid, and let the rest of us get on with the busy work of
  graduating,                   in which I am still currently embroiled, I   running the planet and making the decisions. There are a lot of
                                perform better on standardized tests         burgers to be fried out there, and the sooner they get started the
  absolute                      than most of you, and could write a          sooner that glaze-eyed ennui will set in and make it bearable.
                                                                                        Trust me: I hurt because I care.
  morons.                       paper on a novel I’ve never even heard
                                of, much less read, in less than a week                 I do not give in to the simpering liberal bullshit that
                                and get an “A”. Somewhere along the          demands we treat everyone equally in spite of their defects and
                                line, I was hardwired for school and that    lackings. I certainly never expected to make the football team simply
was that. Does that make me a brainwashed zombie goose-stepping              because I showed up every day and ate lunch in the same cafeteria.
to the shadowy cabal’s beat? Probably. Who cares, rebellion’s a              We all have defects and lackings, goddammit, and if yours happens
shell game too. We’re all fucked.                                            to be a brain just large enough to handle your cardiovascular system
          I still believe in going through the motions of caring,            and little else, well, too fucking bad. the sooner someone takes you
though: The big issue in education these days is Social Promotion,           aside and hands you a mop the better. Passing you in the name of
which is the practice of promoting kids to the next grade whether or         not hurting your reptilian feelings is not an answer, its a dodge. It’s
not they have accomplished the goals of the previous grade. In               a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility and guilt, because we
other words, just because Johnny can’t read and got a big fat F in           gave the morons every chance. We put them through grade after
math, we’ll move him into the fifth grade anyway. The reasoning              grade and kept supporting them and nurturing them, and when they
behind this is that leaving kids back would cause such irreparable           go on to be morons we can shrug happily and say, hell, we tried.
psychic damage that any hope of rescuing them from the downward                         I think about some of the idiots I graduated grammar school
slope of ignorance would be lost. Better to let them hang with their         with. Some of them undoubtedly managed to pull their heads from
friends in the hopes that this cozy emotional cushion would help             their asses and have made good. Some maybe are even decent
them finally get with the program. Critics naturally point out the           people to have a drink with. Who knows? I never will, that’s for sure.
obvious fact that this means we are often promoting, and eventually          Most of them, I’d bet, are just as stupid and narrow and dull as ever,
graduating, absolute morons. It doesn’t take long for the quality of         only they’ve been pushed through the grey colon of the public
these diplomas to become common knowledge amongst potential                  school system, given a diploma, and sent out to fend for themselves
employers, who quickly come to regard hiring these simians akin to           in a world which very rarely offers social promotion. I’ve certainly
never been promoted in order to keep me with my peer group, so I
don’t get too depressed about sucking at my job and watching my life
degenerate into a tasty melange of failure, humiliation, and fear.
          Some would say that’s its easy for me to take this harsh
position, since I am obviously the product of not only a decent
education, but a supportive and at least moderately intelligent family
life, while a great many of the challenged students in the world do not
have these advantages. To that I say, with a full grin and a rakish wink,
that is just too fucking bad.
          Every human is capable of amazing things, even the morons.
The least intelligent of us can still pretty much accomplish all manner
of impressive feats. No one ever got off their ass and did anything
unless properly motivated to do so. If you treat people like fragile little
children who could not possibly handle the spectre of failure, you will
get exactly what you deserve: pathetic morons who are so pathetic
they don’t even know they’re morons. Can you possibly think of
anything sadder?
          I do not propose that anyone be branded with a scarlet letter
“M” for moron and left to collect dust after failing their third
consecutive math test in the third grade. Give everyone an equal
chance, and all they have to do is pass the same tests everyone else
passes in order to advance and be rewarded. Not so hard. I did it.
Most of the people I know (most of whom are not very bright, as far as
I can tell) did it. And after thirteen years if you can’t manage to pass a
few simple tests, well, babe, grab a spatula and start frying, because
you’re screwed. And there’s nothing my liberal urges can do to
change that: you screwed yourself years ago, long before we got to
this point. It’s too late. You’re a moron.
           Ah, the sharp scent of vitriol and hubris, my favorite
dressing. I’ve been busy doing things assigned to me my whole life,
chumps, I played the game and have been rewarded with debt, despair,
and dental insurance. You don’t think that occasionally makes me a
little fucking angry?
           Fuck it. It’s just me and showbiz, now.

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