Friday, August 18, 2017

Telling the Teacher to Shut Up, If He Knows What's Good for Him.

Image result for antifa slogans

Having a classroom full of willful, energetic and smart teenagers listen to your lesson with attention, wonder and, if possible affirmation,  is a joy beyond imagination.   Having done so for forty-two years, is a satisfying career that continues at a much slower pace.

I was taught to teach honestly - give the full story.  I did, I hope.

One of the secret pleasures of Facebook ( that is the extent of my social network: can't text and I use an "Old Guy" flip phone . . .for Phone Calls!1!).  Since my daughters encouraged me to open a page, I have reconnected with hundreds of kids ( now in their 40's, 50's, and 30's) who sat packed in historically uncomfortable desks and bought what I was selling - literature, philosophy, history, shared truth and the world contributions to leading a good life.  I taught Catch 22, A Separate Peace, Moby Dick, Heart of Darkness, Confederacy of Dunces, Paradise,Vanity Fair, Grapes of Wrath. USA Tilogy, It Can't Happen Here,  Canterbury Tales, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Adventures of Augie March, Native Son, Invisible Man, the plays of Shakespeare ( especially the English War of Roses and the Roman Plays) Euripides, Aristophanes,Aeschylus, Sophocles, Raisin in the Sun, the philosophical works of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Spinoza, Descartes, Rousseau. Voltaire, Berkley, Hume and Russell's History of Western Philosophy.  The historical texts of Xenophon, Thucydides, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Francis Parker, Henry Adams, Malcom X, Barbara Tuchman fleshed out the a study of man at his best and worst.

I introduced my students to a book The Peoples History of the United States in 1980 and explained that it was Red nonsense in clever packaging.

I taught Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here a dystopian America addicted to fascism.  Strangely some of the kids who loved that rather brittle and sloppy novel are now devotees of later day Buzz Windrip's who are telling everyone to get in line, get on the right side of history, shout with Move On. org, Organizing for Action, AntiFa fascists and the book burner historian Howard Zinn.

None of this stuff is new. It is merely 1930's American Stalinism in velcro pants. Image result for 1930's American Communist postersImage result for 1930's American Communist posters
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  • If you are not with us; you are against us!  
  • We have the ghost of Tom Joad and Pete Seeger walking before us!  
  • We are the People. 
  • The Boss needs you; you don't need the boss.
  • Organize the workers to control the use of their labor power,
  • Workers of the world, awaken! 
  • Which Side are you On???!

A few of my brightest students, sadly swallowed Howard Zinn whole and subsist on his diet of class envy, race baiting and scab yanking American history.

A former student bemoans the fact that I voted for Trump.  Get in line.  Now, in order to goat my sensibilities, indicated that my vote is dog whistle for my intrinsic panophobia and hateful nature.  I'm a Nazi, a Klansman, Lynch Mob psychopath and a moral coward, this fine young gent opines.

Glad to have introduced you to the world of ideas.  They are your's to ignore.

I found his jibe unworthy of his intellect, but there you have it.  I am like the Jewish teacher of the SS man in the brilliant series The Holocaust.  "Thanks for your wisdom, but you are on the wrong side of history. Now, let me help you step up into that boxcar Herr Doktor."

I responded to his snarky reply, "You can remind when your crowd carts me off to the Reeducation Camp."
Image result for charlottesville related anti-trump memes
There is no getting away from it - the young man was a straight A student.

Erase history and then start erasing the people who know it.

Oh, it can happen here.  It is already happening.

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