Friday, April 21, 2006

Random thoughts...and a bit of a rant

I was going to be better about writing here. I really was.

I've been collecting little items I want to write about, writing little notes to myself about things I want to comment on or explore.

But I just haven't found the time to sit down and write. Or I haven't made the time to do so. Or by the time I'm finished with work every day (my job involves a lot of writing), I just don't want to sit down and string words together anymore for awhile.

For example, for some reason the other day I thought it might be fun to start a secret society. Don't know what spawned that thought. Might have been an ad for The DaVinci Code. They're really pushing that movie ahead of its release. But, anyway, I got to thinking about how that might be a hoot. Then, again, I've been told I have somewhat of a twisted sense of humor.

And then, when I was watching The Breakfast Club on tv the other day, it occured to me that it is an amazing thing that anyone survives high school. It's brutal. I mean, I liked school and I still threatened to quit near the end of my senior year. You see, there was this riot or street fight or whatever you want to call it the day we got out for spring break that year and they locked down the school (although way back then, that isn't what they called it) and there were police helicopters circling the school and shots were fired and the whole thing. Scared the crap out of me, and I did not want to go back.

But it isn't just that. It's the games that go on, the mental torture that anyone who doesn't fit in is subjected to. I think that whoever decided that it was a good idea to put that many bodies with all those raging hormones into such a small space and force them to stay there all day, five days a week, must have been a sadist of the first order. It creates a meanness, a ruthlessness that I think you probably don't even find on the battlefield in a war. Like I said, I liked school, or at least the process of learning. But junior high and high school were torture, mostly, because I was the two things one simply cannot be at that age - smart and overweight. The casual cruelty was almost overwhelming sometimes.

It became a much more poigniant question - how do we survive high school? - when I happened on the film Bowling for Columbine yesterday on tv. I suppose they were showing it because it was the anniversary of the massacre. Michael Moore seems to blame it on the gun culture in the United States. And that might be part of it. But I think most of what caused that, and what causes much of the violence that goes on in schools, stems right from the way some people get picked on, to the point of mental torture, in high school culture. This is not to give those boys a pass on what they did. That was not the way to handle their hostility. On the other hand, if the reports of the sort of ridicule they were subjected to are even partly correct, it isn't hard to see where the hostility came from. The huge problem, I think, is that no one ever really does anything about the bullying, about the way teenagers treat each other. It is always just passed off as "the way things are". And that's a shame, because it doesn't have to be that way.


David said...

Good rant! To my way of seeing things, you're in a particularly interesting position. Being in the USA, you are effectively ten years in the future (socially speaking) of what we should expect in the UK.

We do seem to enjoy following your trends, although perhaps only the worst of them. From what I've read (and seen, albeit very briefly) of life in America, and what I've seen about growing up here, we are only too keen to embrace the worst, and shy away from the best because that would involve a bit of hard work.

I used to think it was all about gun control too. But we have a complete ban on firearms over here, and the shootings still happen. Now I see it's more about responsibility. Or at least the lack of it.

Very few people want to admit anything's their fault anymore. It would take far too much effort to put their lives right. There's always something, or someone else to blame. And while the mass media is happy to present the image of teenage rebellion as a way to get kids to buy more produce, it’s not likely to change.

There. That's cheered us up!

If you're still working on that secret society can we have funny handshakes? I always fancied having a go at that.

lma said...

What would a secret society be without a secret handshake? All the best ones have them. :)