Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life

Thursday, June 01, 2006

High School Educates Students; Parents Outraged

A lot of people think that Texas should be a separate country. I'm beginning to think they belong on their own planet.

A high school teacher in the Highland Park suburb of Dallas showed a documentary to her students about how mass media influences and controls youth by creating popular culture. I suppose the intent was to educate students so they would not blindly fall for the marketing tricks they face in the real world. Given that it was an English class, I also imagine there was discussion of the techniques, used in marketing -- word choice, grammatical construction, and so on. Picking a subject that was relevant to the teens makes the material more interesting to them.

Alas, parents and even some students, got their knickers in a twist over it. The documentary included clips from TV shows, movies, and celebrities marketed to teenagers. As one student put it, "I don't think that it's appropriate to see at school at all." "It's something that kids watch on their own. It's not something that you talk about with your teachers." Heaven knows, we don't want kids getting info about relationships, sex, or culture from their teachers -- that should only be gotten from their peers (or, in the case of young girls, older, more experienced boys.) Wow. Remind me not to let my kids ever visit Texas.

I think my favorite part of the story is this quote from an horrified mother: "Just because a woman's breasts are blurred does not mean the students are not seeing them." She's right, of course, except that it's much, much worse. Just because a woman's breast are covered up by a thick sweater doesn't mean a teenage boy isn't seeing them.

Journal Description

My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.