Thursday, December 22, 2011
So my high school recently put on a play/dance recital called Occupy North Pole. I don't really have many details, but it sounds like typical George School fare.
On the first segment they did about this, they got the town wrong, calling it Newton PA instead of NewtoWn PA. There's about 2 hours worth of driving in between those places, so that's sort of irritating.
Yes, George School is a left-leaning institution. No doubt. From an educational standpoint, however, teachers always did a great job of presenting all viewpoints comprehensively, even if they made their political feelings a barely-guarded secret by the time I was a senior.
The thing that really bugs me about this video is that you can see that the hosts are actually asking balanced questions like "Is this *actually* propaganda, or is this just an attempt to entertain high schoolers?" And the "contributor" just says "Yes, this is liberal propaganda at its best." This is NOT the intention of the play, and I would be very surprised if anyone other than starry-eyed freshman took it as serious political commentary.
Hard-bitten propaganda is seldom effective. It's the smirks and snarks that let the chosen few know that they are in on the deal.
Cf. The Inner Ring by CS Lewis.
Are you at Princeton, BTW? Know Ted Brundage?
The intention of the thing is just to be a dance recital, and to showcase that particular art department. The secondary purpose is just for the fun of the whole thing.
And it's really just that they're characterizing the whole school based on some artsy-fartsy teacher's particular opinions and tone. That's what's bugging me.
My daughter went to George School, and I found that aside from a group of red diaper babies, most students had a healthy skepticism about things leftish, and what they picked up from the faculty was not much different, and in many ways probably more benign than the indoctrination they would have gotten in public school. My daughter is now in her mid-20s, employed in the private (OK, non-profit, but still private) sector, and has little tolerance for OWS.
I really don't care what the faculty of the George School chooses to teach, and if parents object they are certainly free to move their kids to different schools. There are plenty of Friends schools in the Philadelphia metro area, certainly, and even a number of Quaker boarding schools (if those attributes are important).
Looking at more of the show in question, though, I find myself not agreeing with your opinion as to whether or not the intention of the show was propaganda. It was, pretty obviously, and ham-handed propaganda too. Amateurish and silly propaganda, yes, but while you might think that makes the whole event innocent I think it's fair to say that lends credence to the overall attempt to paint the school with a broad brush.
Do you really think that the faculty and supporters of the George School would expect any different message in an artistic endeavor? Is anything here inconsistent in any way with school values? Of course not. Your view that students can distinguish lefty propaganda and ignore it may be true, but it isn't really the issue here.
I understand you want to stand up for your school, that's a time-honored and good tradition, but come on: the George School fell into this trap of its own volition and as readily as GOP Congresspeople picking a fight with the President.
By the way, I thought the Fox segment was remarkably fair minded and Tucker Carlson (who is usually a tool) raises a point worth pondering in asking how educational goals like the faculty evidently have at George help their students prepare to compete in a difficult world. Sure, the kids develop an ethical framework in a Friends school, and that's good, but the low level of quality in this production seem to say the school accepts low standards of achievement. The text of the play also says muddled thinking and credulity are to be encouraged. This wasn't some freshman playwright putting on his/her first effort, after all, this was the school Christmas play.
As a graduate of public schools all the way through grad school, I find it amusing that anyone associated with a VERY EXPENSIVE school like the George School would get on their high horse about the evil rich 1%. Who do they think funds and attends such a school? The school is not structured to readily accept the offspring of convenience store clerks. (Yes, I know there are scholarship students...) You are a hell of a lot more likely to find someone associated with the 1% at the George School than you are at Generic Public High school.
Bunch of clowns.
Do they have any idea how ridiculous they appear?
BT - Some of OWS is from the 1%, but more of it is from the 1-5%. They resent being shut out of the top tier for no reason they can see (and so attribute to luck or criminality).
Plus, just about everyone in America is in the 1% anyway.
I don't disagree that the students disdain for the super-wealthy is pretty silly considering that even those on financial aid (at least half the students are) can only be helped because richer students paid the normal price.
Anon @ 1:38
They put the thing together in two weeks, which is like 6 class periods. And again, it's really more of a silly dance recital than an actual stagecraft production. The school doesn't usually put on an actual holiday play (at least not when I was there). They celebrate Christmas with a fairly traditional religious service though, with candles, singing, Bible sermons, and silent prayer.
Anon @ 1:12
Maybe, but the "contributor" didn't have to be such a tool about it, and they could have interviewed students or adults from the school to get their perspective, THEN cherry-pick the most granola quotes.