This entry was posted
on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 12:27 pm by Radley Balko
and is filed under Local News Hysteria.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.
I don’t get any local channels. Days like this I miss my local news, not for the news mind you, for the entertainment and drinking game value.
One drink for every pursed lip, head nod and worried “mmhmm”
One drink for every cop/counselor interviewed.
One drink for evey teen interviewed, bonus drink for every ‘like’ they say.
One drink for every puppy.
This is astoundingly bad reporting. Any “point system” for Emos is a joke making fun of them. That song they have playing in the background? Also a joke making fun of them. Emos are just goths who listen to a different set of bands.
Boyd: Even if you’re just trying to take a potshot at public schools, you’re probably on to something. I doubt that I trust even ten percent of public school districts in the United States to provide a healthy environment for their students, to treat their students with any genuine respect or honesty, or to properly educate them. I don’t have any particular opposition to public education on principle, but as a matter of practice I’m at best underwhelmed by what I’ve seen of almost every public K-12 district with which I’m familiar.
The solution that I see being the most effective and scalable is a combination of homeschooling and community colleges. Both are free of the God-awful social engineering schemes (from the right and the left) of public K-12 schools and the penal atmosphere that is common at public middle and high schools. The current and recent homeschooled students whom I’ve known have been an uncommonly well-adjusted lot. I have no doubt that this is in part because they’re accustomed to interacting with adults rather than trying to pander to the lowest common denominator set by the knuckleheads, drama queens and common thugs who worm their way into the leadership of “cool” cliques at school.
I’ve become adamant that putting hundreds or thousands of age-grouped teenagers in the same building with a 1:20 adult:teen ratio is one of the stupidest things possible. There is simply no way in an environment like that for the adults to have any real idea of what sort of trouble is afoot, to avert trouble, or even to have any real positive influence on teens who are bombarded by the crabs-in-a-barrel influences of their peers.
Age-segregated schooling is a near-useless form of socialization because it gives students no experience in dealing with people of different ages, as they’ll have to do in the outside world. At the middle and high school level it’s also foolhardy because it inevitably results in the tone being set by hormonal, impulsive knuckleheads. These morons might develop some real character under closer tutelage from relative adults, but in their own midst they amplify their own idiocy and meanness.
The results are hard to predict, especially for the dolts who dominate middle and high school administrations, but the overall dynamics are very similar to the physics of sneaker waves in the ocean: at any moment, ambient currents of low-level disorder may come together to produce a major blowup. With luck, the blowup will be a loud verbal altercation, but there’s no telling that it won’t be a Columbine. The only reasonable way to prevent blowups is to separate the currents.
One of the things that impressed me most about Columbine High School in the aftermath of the massacre was that the social culture of its student body sounded singularly awful. Not being very familiar with the Denver area, I can’t say how much of the tension was exaggerated for ratings, but as a former public school student in rural Pennsylvania my immediate gut reaction to stories of misfits being bullied into a corner by jocks and holier-than-thou Christians was that they rang true. The stories about Eric Harris’ social dislocation as a recent transplant from Plattsburgh, NY, also rang true; the population of the Front Range is one of the most transient in the country.
Then there are the weird anecdotal experiences that I just can’t shake. I once drove into Denver from Limon during a nasty thunderstorm while listening to a Christian talk radio program about the unusually high rate of teen mental illness and suicide on the Front Range, which the hosts blamed in part on families from out of town having poor to nonexistent social support networks; when I changed the channel at random, I heard Death Cab for Cutie’s “I will follow you into the dark.” Judging from the awful angry rock radio stations I’ve found around Vail, the musical scene in the ski areas is even worse. I’ve also had experiences in which the locals are all right but the transplants give off a very weird vibe and I can’t wait to get away from them. I’ve spent maybe ten days in my life around Denver, but I’ve noticed some very unsettling things there that are entirely consistent with what I’ve read about the area and my interactions with college classmates from the Front Range.
So if it’s true that Denver has a disproportionate number of self-cutting emos, I think I have an idea why. These trends don’t just form without warning in a vacuum; they’re fostered by the crazymaking environments in which we try to raise our children.