It’s a Tiny Hole, Yeah, But You’d FitI've spent a lot of time recently attempting to explain to my little sister why her teacher has been discouraging her from picking "difficult" topics for papers. Why he doesn't, instead, make sure she's aware that she's taking on a challenge, and then commend her for at least trying to do something thought provoking and interesting. It's hard to explain, in large part because I get so angry about it that my head explodes, and then we spend a couple of hours scooping the bits and pieces of my head off the floor and walls, and then spend a few more trying to put my Humpty Dumpty head back together. It's a process.
The best I can do by way of explanation is to point to the larger trend of dumbing things down in American public schools, and try to make her aware of why she shouldn't slide through, doing only what they require from her, which, from what I can tell, redefines the term "bare minimum". Why she should actually put forth the effort to learn as much as humanly possible about the world around her, the world behind her, and the world ahead. It's not always an easy sell, but bless the child, she's actually willing, 99.9% of the time, to go far further than they ask her to.
The other night, while thinking about how stupid our schools are encouraging our youth to be, I saw a commercial. Now, ordinarily, as you well know, I view the discussion of television commercials as a crime punishable by death. It may well be that this is one of those instances, and if you feel it to be, hey, if you know where I live, come dole out my due.
In this commercial, two young women, I'd say early to mid twenties, are sitting in a coffeeshop. They are well dressed, city dwelling folk. The conversation is approximately as follows:
Girl 1: Did you know that McDonald's serves lattes now?
Girl 2: Mcdonalds? That's so...
Girl 1: FANTASTIC.
Girl 2: Now we don't have to come here anymore.
Girl 1: I don't even LIKE jazz music.
Girl 2: I can wear heels again.
Girl 1: I don't even know where Paraguay is!
Girl 2: Finally, a not snobby place to get espresso!
I'm sorry...what the fuck?
I mean, this isn't really painting McDonald's in a good light, for one thing. They're basically saying, if you are an uncultured, undereducated idiot, please please please come to us, O target audience.
But more disturbing to me is the implication that enjoying jazz and actually knowing basic geography automatically makes people "snobby". I can all but guarantee that the genius behind this hideous ad was not only Republican but male as well. What sane person would actually imply that educated, cultured women don't wear makeup and heels, and cannot be feminine, whereas feminine women in heels obviously wouldn't be interested in anything other than heels and makeup and their husbands dinner?
Ah, media and massive corporations, I do so love how much you contribute to the world, and to the constant progress of the collective consciousness. Because young women are definitely the demographic most in need of reinforcement of the importance of image. Yep. It's also an awesome idea to reiterate that knowledge and intelligence is to be scorned, rather than revered. Yeah. That's superfantastic, folks. Thanks.