Saturday, May 28, 2005

A sense of humor and courage - who has it?

Politics and schools
Originally uploaded by Brite Lights photos.
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - The poster was to promote a play for award winning drama students at the high school, but gutless school administrators turned tail and ran when the poster shown on the left was produced. They will be collector's items I'm sure.
  • High School poster story

  • Good God, the play is a satire! And I don't think a Groucho outfit on El Presidente is that unflattering. If anything, the Groucho Marx estate should be upset. Who wants to be associated with Bush at all?

    But the story has kind of a happy ending. The students are learning that the adults in charge are not only wrong sometimes, but they can be moral cowards of the first order. Sometimes seeing that run-for-cover fear is actually quite instructive for young people, however disappointing.

    Over the years, I've taken many arrows for doing the right thing, intead of ducking the issues and going along with my university administration or people at my yacht club. (Being a Commodore of a yacht club is like wearing a sign on your back that says, 'kick me.') It's hard to do the right thing sometimes. No, make that most of the time.

    I used to sign my emails this way:

    I would rather be right, than be president.

    That's a quote from John C. Calhoun, the famous American statemen. But like all such expressions, you have to be careful. A history colleague of mine pointed out that there is an equally famous rejoinder from one of Calhoun's enemies.

    It goes something like this:

    It seems quite unlikely that you will ever be either.

    The rejoinder shows good humor - and some courage. In Calhoun's day an insult like, even humorous, could result in a duel with pistols or swords. Maybe we should reinstitute duels in Woodland Hills high schools. Hmm...probably bad idea, I bet those paranoid administrators are gun nuts, too.

    Better stick to the posters. I'll bet if the students put them up for sale on E-Bay, they could buy their tickets to Scotland in a week.

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