You can do it, Johnny!

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 @ 12:30 pm | Culture

Add me to the list of those thoroughly disenchanted with the cult of self-esteem-above-all maniacs, especially those running our schools (credit goes to Andrew):

Racists, street thugs and school bullies all polled high on the self-esteem charts. And you can see why. If you think you’re God’s gift, you’re particularly offended if other people don’t treat you that way. So you lash out or commit crimes or cut ethical corners to reassert your pre-eminence. After all, who are your moral inferiors to suggest that you could be doing something, er, wrong? What do they know?

Or you become a Republican who gets angrier the more people point out to you Sarah Palin isn’t remotely qualified to be President. Generally, the self-esteem cult has made our age of misinformation all the more possible. Republicans continue spouting insane ideas and easily disprovable statements because they keep patting each other on the backs, telling each other they’re the “real” Americans. While the internet has given us a trove of information that can be used to dispel their constant factual errors, it’s sprouted an even bigger monster of loving embraces among fools. Those who have witnessed the epic battles we occasionally have on here with stubborn righties are treated to the sight of us placing our boot on the face of a winger who’s invested all his/her self-worth in a losing proposition. The boot hurts, but the boot is tough love.

Mike and I went to a small-town Iowa school where a fool was likely to be skewered by a teacher with a razor-sharp tongue (bless Richard Burton Rydstrom’s soul, even though he made me hate him at the time). There were a few teachers who might have been assigned suicide-prevention and dispensed with a bit more kindly praise, but generally our tiny, simple school had little to offer but hard-as-nails intellectual honesty.

Oh, and it had a full-featured shop (I took woodshop, small engines, and welding), a home-ec classroom (I failed at cooking and sewing), an art building and a bigger music program than most 2000+ student schools. The school understood that not everybody was going to go to college, so it didn’t waste time sticking future working joes in Chemistry class, but even college track kids like me were able to sample all classes. Nearly everybody in the school was in sports, music, drama, or all three. Guys who would spend their careers doing electrical wiring got their start in high school. The K-12 population of the school was little over 200 students.

In California we have mega-schools that go over budget but are filled with alpha males who can’t make the football team and spend their days ruining academic classes because they are busy humiliating each other and wooing the females. Meanwhile teachers and administrators burn through millions of taxpayer dollars in professional development where they fellate each other marveling over their new techniques for making noisy kids look like they’re being productive (tip: have them draw pictures about the lesson, stick the pictures on the wall…principals will go orgasmic). Teachers who hand out too many Fs are hauled into the principal’s office to get the finger pointed at them. Every kid knows one absolute fact: It’s wrong for teachers to tell them to shut up, or say much of anything that will make them feel sad inside.

I think this results in a lot of mushy-headed liberals as well as wrong-headed rightwingers, but the difference is that with rightwingers it permeates upwards, to the point where the entire GOP apparatus is geared against intellectual honesty and feeling any shame, coupled with a coddling media afraid to practice some stern journalism and thwack some knuckles with rulers.

Okey-dokey, got that rant off my chest!

-jb

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