Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God Bless Texas

The State Senate of Texas just passed a law banning school districts from giving minimum grades to failing students.

In the district in which I teach, the minimum grade allowable is 50, while the passing grade is 65. What is the result?

1) The student who does 49% of the work is given the same grade as the student who does 0.03% (yes, I have had that happen).

2) A student who manages to get an 80 for the first two quarters can stop working for the rest of the year and still pass the year.

This is just one of many policies designed by gutless administrators to artificially reduce retention rates. It's also one of the first steps in our students long road to learning that life has no consequences.

Don't do any work? We'll pass you along anyway.

Get into fights at school? We'll just tell you not to do it again and send you right back to class?

Can't keep a job because you have no skills or work ethic? We'll just take care of you and every generation that comes after you for the rest of your lives, without you ever having to worry about taking care of yourselves.

Can't afford a house? We'll force banks, under threat of lawsuit, to lend you the money anyway, then call them greedy.

Don't have any money? We'll just steal it from those chumps who sacrifice and work to produce everything you depend on. That's okay! They'll still work just as hard even if they can't keep their money, right?

This is not a recipe for success. This is a recipe for eternal helplessness.

And people wonder why New York State has been hemorrhaging businesses and people for years.

Hat tip: Core Knowledge Blog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"You Know My Heart"

"I have a radio show. We're really the black Howard Stern. We go at everybody. There was a situation with Miley Cyrus, and I just want to say, I apologize for what I said. I didn't mean it maliciously. You know I'm a comedian. You know my heart."

This is the apology offered by Jamie Foxx for his comments about Miley Cyrus. To most people, that will be considered enough, and nothing more will be said.

Foxx's last words, "You know my heart," are the most damning of the whole statement.

When someone is in a relaxed situation, or intoxicated, their guard is down. If they say something embarrassing, it's not something that comes from nowhere. It is embarrassing precisely because it reveals something they had hoped to keep secret.

This is what is so truly disappointing about slips of the tongue. They reveal things that we wish were not true. Drunken anti-semitic rants and Special Olympics jokes alike reveal distinct deficits of character. They are important not because of what they are, but what they reveal.

He shrugs it off as comedy. Suggesting that a 16-year old make a sex tape is not commonly referred to as comedy. The more common term is pedophilia.

The greatest offense, however, for me is not the insulting nature of the comments, but the sexual nature of them.

As of today, I have been married for 5 years. My daughter is 8.4 months old. At this moment, she is sitting on my lap watching Sesame Street. She bounces up and down with happiness when Elmo appears. She has the same reaction when she watches the Sunny Side Up Show and that darn squeak-toy chicken thing appears. As a father, my outlook of things is colored by what I want my daughter to be exposed to.

It hasn't really been until recently that I have really noticed the hyper-sexualization of our culture. We can't even watch a football game anymore without seeing a Viagra commercial. Many women think that they only way to get anyone to pay attention to them is to dress and act like a sex object. Middle school children walk around in attire which would be underdressed for pole dancing. And, oh yeah, pole dancing is now considered exercise.

And don't even get me started on toddler beauty pageants. The words "institutionalized child abuse" are the politest I can muster on that one.

This is why I can really appreciate someone like Miley Cyrus. Stylish in dress without being too revealing for a teenager. Pretty without being overdone. And, most of all, a comedy style more reminiscent of Lucile Ball than what passes for comedy these days. In other words, wholesome.

Wholesome is a dirty word amongst many segments of the population. That is just sad. A lot of us still live in a world where sex is that thing that happens in the bedroom between married people. Kids are those innocent little things who are learning about the world, and are taught joy and happiness now, because we know that they will learn about pain when they are older. We put away the movies and music with gratuitous language and such because we don't want our kids thinking that that's the normal way to act.

Then there are people who think that sex, drugs, and violence are the normal state of things. The existence of people who don't live like that seems to frighten them. They rejoice when people who profess morals are exposed as hypocrites. People like Larry Flynt actually place bounties on sexual information about politicians. All the while, what they are saying is "Who are you to judge me? You're just as depraved."

Guess what: Most of us aren't that depraved. Why do you get all the attention? Because everyone's staring at you thinking what a bunch of freaks you are. Some will condemn. Some will excuse. Most of us, however, will simply file you in the "ignore" pile, and move on with our lives.