R rated Do not read if you are under 18 or emotionally sensitive An incident occurred recently at our high school that made me both cringe at the Thought Police policy of our education system but also to applaud the resistance to attaining a 'clean brain' by a select few students. If you ask the majority of people in our society I doubt that they would even realise the concerted and probably for the large part unwitting attempt at the school system to give our kids a clean brain. Brain-washing is after all considered the exclusive province of religious cults isn't it? Resistance to the 'clean brain' entails actually possessing the faculties to a) think for yourself, not just regurgitate other people's opinions and b) having the courage to reveal those thoughts. If more students were actually taught to think and question rather than rote learn we might even have to do away with the antiquated grading system of A B C D. Now I don't say this lightly because I have in my custody children of my own who display both polar axises. I have a brilliant A student is great at rote learning and brilliant at anything where a formula can be learnt and applied ie Maths science. These are traditionally held as markers for 'How smart is your child?' However, I also have a child who is brilliant at actually thinking for themselves, cross-referencing, self-learning and applying life experiences (we've done a lots of travelling) and considering issues on a deeply philosophical level. Which one is considered more intelligent?
Second daughter was part of the inaugural pack to go through the International Baccalaureate programme. She is both academic and philosophically intelligent. It will be interesting to see what the selection process will be for students wanting to do the IB programme who are either only strongly academic or who have a strong philosophical intelligence but only traditional average academic achievement.
There is a big claim by the education department which sounds like a very catchy slogan - our main aim is to teach children how to learn for themselves. Sounds good feels bad - in reality it's a thoughtless catch cry. Yes, it may sound noble that they as an institution want to help our kids to love learning and to learn for themselves but it misses the point. Teach our kids to think for themselves and you might actually speed the evolution of society out of sheep farming.
Anyways, the polar opposite of sheep farming incident I refer to in the beginning of this blog post occurred in October when the year 12 students were doing their English QCS exams. India (that's second daughter) had conscience voted not to sit the exam (it wasn't necessary for her IB grading) and a few days later came home all excited because one of her fellow students, the now infamous Jeremy Owens (unfortunately he doesn't yet have a website/blog I can refer you to, but we live in hope it won't be too long) had written a 'beyond controversial' essay. He was immediately elevated along with his partner in crime, the crime being free thinking,Finn Erikson, to a God-like status and established a small cult following whose mantra is 'Hail the free-thinkers!'
Now I'm extremely glad to report, being a long standing fan, that the enigmatic free thinker Nick Cave continues to influence some of today's generation with both his lyrics and books. (At this point you should probably listen to my all time favourite song of Nick Caves -from his Birthday Party days- Deep in the Woods, best after a few glasses of red) Jeremy Owens has quite obviously been inspired as a creative lateral thinker to write outside of social convention in strongly poignant tones about an issue society would rather not be spoken about. Particularly in an English exam. His writing produced an immediate response by the school systems crack pseudo-psychology wrexperts - duty of care was cited - in order to even want to write a controversial piece something bad must have happened to you, no seventeen year old student is actually capable of thinking these thoughts independently -apparently you can't be influenced by radical free thinkers and form your own thoughts and philosophies at that age!
Anyways, I reproduce here with his permission, his seminal work. The brief was to write an essay, the theme being Gold. Please feel free to comment after you've read this post :)
He always said that I did excellent work. It takes a certain kind of character to be able to do the things I did, achieve the things I achieved; that’s why he loved me, that’s why. He said that he loved us all the same, that we all meant the as much to him as each other. Lies! Nothing but Lies! Of course the others are too stupid to see that he was lying to them, leading them on, I saw it though; and that’s what he wanted, it’s what he intended. He made it so obvious to me, yet, to the others, it was so subtle and unimaginable, that they would have never even dreamt that it was true. They never heard the sarcasm that laced his ‘encouraging’ words. They did seem happy though, all of the others, all of my sisters and brothers; I guess ignorance truly is bliss. Bliss. Yes, they were very much bliss – with minds as simple as theirs it’d be hard to complicate things.
I saw everything for what it was. I was the most crafty, the most loyal and quite easily the smartest; I mean I was the only one he ever taught to read after all! Recognizing this, he would praise me endlessly each night after taking me to bed – though never in front of them, naturally. He sheltered them from my evident superiority; it didn’t work though, couldn’t work. Somewhere inside of them, amongst their vile stuffingsreboant screams hit your body with enough force to make you shake, as if it were God’s own fremitus you’re feeling. Oh yeah, just for one divine and utterly surreal second, imagine it – the thought itself makes my vagina warm and wet and quop in time with my heart, the heart he broke.
Alas, as beautiful and charming as that thought, that fantasy, may be it is sadly not what happened.
I always did what he wanted, always! I did things that not just anyone would do, things that not everyone wanted to do. I wanted to do them though. I wanted to do them because he wanted me to do them. His will became me, he acted through me. Sure he had my siblings, my weak and always pathetic siblings, but how could he ever depend on them? I was the only one capable of doing what he wanted. Me and him, we always had a special bond and no matter how much those others, those other wretched kin of mine, no matter how much they wanted to do his work they would never, not ever, be fit to. Intentions are one thing but actions are another. He covertly measured us, judged us and weighed us on our actions – not our intentions.
What actions I preformed! All for him! Fortunately my actions didn’t go overlooked; he had a reward system, a tally system of sorts. It was composed of a large and, for the most part, rectangular piece of ply wood. Set up portrait style above the mantle he wrote on it my name and, in what was little more than a futile attempt at fairness, the names of all of my sisters and brothers. He then drew up vertical lines from top to bottom of the board between each of our names, so as to separate them into their own columns. Whenever one of us did something good we would get an argentine star pinned to our column; however, do something bad and you’d lose a star. Now here’s the best part: if anyone ever did anything really super special they would receive an aureate star. I was the only one who ever attained one of those really super special gold stars – until this morning.
He had always said I was the best! Then what did that lying filthy traitor do?! Why no more than give that lascivious little demimonde Debby a God-damned golden star! That wanton thieving whore! I had always despised Debby, her overbite wasn’t nearly as noticeable as mine and her teeth had only been a little crooked. He had always assured me that our dearest Debby was of no match to me, that her figure was much too flat and that he didn’t like the way her eyes were perpetually crossed. He said that he’d rather me with my uncrossed eyes and full physique to her pyknic habitus. But look at you now you bastard! See where all your tricking led you, hmmm? And where’s your sweet and petite darling Debby now?!
My daddy, how you loved me so. How I thought you loved me! Didn’t you always say I was the best? Every night when we went to bed, didn’t you say that I was your favourite daughter? Didn’t you say that you thought I had the tightest vagina? I’ve always loved you daddy, ever since the first time you filled my mouth with you iron hard phallus. Didn’t I make you happy? Doesn’t my vagina feel as tight as it did when I was eight, is that it? That was six and a half years ago, your priapus was sure to cause some stretching. Every time my trawling through town was successful, every time I managed to attract a boy and lead him unawares back to our shack I did it for you! He thought he was in for an easy lay, that he was about to get lucky, when all he was really doing was feeding your anthropophagolagnia, almost quite literally!
I mean really, Debby? I could understand if you gave that stupid star to one of the boys, to either Johnny or Rudy or Darren or Gary or even to one of the invalid twins George or Tom, but not Debby! You always told me, Loretta you’re the greatest, or, Loretta you’ve a vagina like no other. I hate it when people call me Loretta, I much prefer Lotti, but I made an exception for you because I loved you! You supposedly loved me but what about your daughter, my sister, Debby? I guess she was just as good, huh?
Well look where temptation got you: lying dead on the floor, still clasping the corpse of your precious Debby, with what’s left of a vitreous bottle sticking out of your neck. Dishonesty got you that crack in your temple and libidinousness sent those iotas of brain to the floor. Licentiousness drove the blood from your crushed nares and split skull into the glazed porcelain eyes that reside at the bottom of your umbiliform sockets. Profligacy broke all the bones of our debauched Debby. Sluttery stomped in that pretty little face of her’s and drove its heel into her mouth.
Is she still your golden child?
Deep in the Woods is quite excellent. Junkyard, Just You and Me, King Ink, Happy Birthday, Capers as well as Mutiny in Heaven are all Birthday Party favorites of mine.ReplyDelete
You can see the influence of Cave's novel And The Ass Saw The Angel evident here. There's also a rather blatant reference to The Curse of Millhaven by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in the story.
I think rectifying the grading system implemented in schools is possible but will be a long and complicated process, a process that will render the educational institution almost unrecognizable to us now.
Hail the free-thinkers!