Saturday, August 16, 2008

How'd the Mobile Press-Register teach these kids?

I asked just yesterday how the Mobile Press-Register might educate the children of parents appearing before local Juvenile Court Judge Edmond Naman for failing to send their kids to school. I'll avoid the "Thank God for Tennessee" (or Georgia) angle here but send you to Knoxville for today's Plaintiffs to seek retrial in flag case: Mistrial declared after jury deadlocks over suit vs. school from Jim Balloch. Additional coverage is supplied via AP.

First of all, as any card-carrying ACLU member should be, I'm sympathetic to anybody asserting their First Amendment rights. I've written a rather solid paper on student websites where I went into Tinker and subsequent cases. I firmly fall on the side of "let the little monsters wear (or write) what they want" and yet I know schools have a tough call at times.

Additionally, I can tolerate people like Dewey Barber of Dixie Outfitters trying to make bank. I just wish they wouldn't divide and distract. I can't help but think of Will Campbell's all too true quote. I can't however find much positive to write about goobers like those at the non-profit Southern Legal Resource Center in their work "defending the rights of Southerners to honor their history and culture". Plaintiff's counsel Van R. Irion, and certainly Kirk Lyons (here's a nice interview he gave to Stormfront back in 1994) are Plaintiff's counsel in the Tennessee case referenced above. Will we get a "frivolous lawsuit" lamentation here?

I've tried my best to teach young "scholars" like I'm rather certain young Tom Defoe was throughout in his academic career. I had some students that I truly don't think ever wore clothing without a Confederate Battle Flag somehow another as part of their wardrobe statement. There were some with purses and others with notebooks and even a few, both hens and roosters, with earrings. Overwhelmingly, they struggled when it came down to demonstrating their commitment to understanding history. Anti-intellectualism roots run deep in this nation yet I'll submit that the average little redneck sporting Dixie Outfitters clothing ranked rather high on that scale.

I could offer nearly the same criticism of some gansta rap aficionados I tried to teach yet at least some of what they built their identity around went beyond bitches and whores to question economics, power, sexuality ... Despite my rural, truly earthy, roots I struggled reaching the Unreconstructed Rebels I taught. I came as close as I could with conservation, hunting/fishing ... yet most seemed to reject pretty much everything I tried. All I wanted to do was stretch their little minds and do the job I often still feel I was called to do. Yet often as not I think we merely frustrated each other.

My question remains ... How would the Mobile Press-Register (or those business know it all types) teach these kids? Would the marvelous markets really solve our troubles? John Gunn

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