Some Of My Best Friends Are White
Oh man oh man! A flamboyant tip o’the lid to book babe RE Paris for this one. She points out a spot-on farcical indictment of white culture and parenting from Gawker writer Jesus Diaz.
See, a bunch of ultra-violent, scary, faux-uniformed surf thugs raised havoc in Huntington Beach, California this week. They are, of course, white as white can be. Diaz takes this phenomenon and runs with it.
Discrediting Their Race
Following the template set recently by white navel-gazers bemoaning the black culture’s putative failings in raising children, taking responsibility, committing acts of mayhem upon each other and so on in the half-dozenth or so generation of fallout and blowback to the Trayvon Martin affair, Diaz points the finger at caucasians who are letting their race down.
“Many people don’t want to hear this kind of tough love,” Diaz writes, swiping the line from numerous white commentators. He then goes on to cite cherry-picked stats: 84 percent of whites are killed by other whites and most white rape victims are raped by whites.
Diaz calls white leaders Joel Osteen, Bill O’Reilly, and Hillary Clinton to task for not speaking out on the issue of white on white violence at surf rallies, equine events, and Ivy League campuses. He then spreads the blame uniformly across the entire white population — again, just as white self-appointed moral guardians are doing with blacks: “When did so many white parents fall asleep at the wheel?”
And in a brilliant crescendo, Diaz throws the old slavery-is-no-excuse rotten chestnut back at the pasty-faced commentators. “Whites in America,” he writes, “have been out from under their European ancestros’ boot heels for centuries…. So being ‘oppressed’ is no longer an excuse for behavior like this. How long must we wait for the white community to get its act together?”
Satire, my friends, is a crusher.
So, sophomores at Bloomington High School North who wish to take a certain Honors English course were compelled this summer to read Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.
While typing this, I pondered whether to write forced at gunpoint rather than compelled. Obviously, I went with the less dramatic verbiage, although I’m having second thoughts about it all.
Why on this green Earth would a 15-year-old choose to spend her or his precious summer vacation reading a suicide pill like CD’s DC?
Happy Summer Vacation!
Look, Dickens specialized in writing about the hellholes of Victorian England. And while some literary titans like George Orwell and Leo Tolstoy slobbered all over themselves praising him, my own fave commentator Oscar Wilde thumbed his nose at Dickens.
Regardless of where Dickens fits in the penman’s pantheon, forcing teenagers to descend into his netherworlds seems an act of child abuse.
Add to that the fact that the Penguin Classic edition of DC runs a full 1024 pages. Sheesh! Was there any time left for a swim in the pool, a hike in the woods, or a bike ride for BHSN sophs?
Have Fun, Kids!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of teachers assigning Disney-like pap to their charges for summer reading. I’d be even more huffy if BHSN sophomores were ordered to read the latest books of consumer-porn, vampire-porn, or other Butternut Bread boluses that pass for teen lit now.
But man, you’re hitting me where I lived some 40 years ago: The books most teachers assigned to me in high school had no connection to my life or anything I was interested in. I would have greedily eaten up The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Slaughterhouse Five, All the President’s Men, The Invisible Man, or Goodbye, Columbus over any given summer. The authors of these books wrote in a language that I understood about issues and conflicts I recognized.
The Mayor of Casterbridge and Lord of the Flies meant nothing to me, especially since they were set among the British, who always seemed to me to be a gang of stuffy pains in my ass.
All I’m asking is for teachers to meet their students halfway.
White Boys/Black Boys
From the Hair original Broadway cast soundtrack. This link accesses the entire soundtrack recording. Scroll down to and select White Boys/Black Boys or just listen to the whole thing. You can’t go wrong either way.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition. I never read the assigned books when I was in HS but at least I learned of their existence. Funny, I just finished David Copperfield last month. It’s terrific; the themes are timeless, especially if taught by a good teacher. My HS lit teacher was great, I could listen to her talk about The Good Earth, Silas Marner et al all day but I had no interest in reading them. There is a great line in DC that says if a man has no interest in the events and passions of the day he may just as well have been born a caterpillar. I am dying to use that on a friend who says he has no interest in todays news. If a book has lasted more than 150 years it has to have quite a bit of value. P.S. Is it better to use paragraphs in these post? I don’t want to appear any more ill-educated than I am.
I don’t recall getting any summer reading assignments way back in high school. I only read The Mayor of Casterbridge in college because I had a crush on a guy in my group in Edinburgh who adored the author (I didn’t). Lord of the Flies: meh. Catcher in the Rye? Ugh. The Great Gatsby? I was bored silly and could only sympathize when my boys had the same impression of these last three books in high school (I did get tired of hearing the same speeches I gave in high school about the book being boring, a waste of time and stupid).