Here I have in my Netflix-borrowing hands a DVD of “Cat Women of the Moon”, which far surpasses any expectations I had for it, and I’d planned to blog my giddy, glorious wonder of this film on Friday. But then I opened up the Bloglines and what met my eyes but Pharyngula’s “Demand higher standards for homeschooling!” post, filed under creationism and academics.
Said Pharyngula, who’s all hot and bothered by the Creationists,
At my department, we just got the requirements for state licensure of education students, and we’ve been given the task of making sure our course content delivers what future teachers will need. It’s not trivial getting licensed to teach; but any idiot can declare themselves to be a teacher for purposes of homeschooling, and apparently many idiots do.
Please. Can we bring those laws back?
I’m serious. We need to stop this. I think any politician who professed to be concerned about educating the children of this country, by supporting the NCLB, for instance, ought to be required to support increasing the qualifications and standards for homeschooling…and if a district doesn’t have the resources to monitor the competence of homeschool teachers, they ought to simply refuse to allow the kids to be pulled out of school.
Then I began to read the comments, which were about what I expected.
As I’m not a Creationist, one might think this wouldn’t concern me too much. I do homeschool, and one might say well if you’re doing the job you ought to be doing then you won’t mind stricter standards (which vary by state), and if you don’t have a degree (I don’t) then you must certainly understand, as a reasonable progressive, our concerns. But I’m not going there folks because that’s not what it’s all about. If you know how to cut through the fat then it’s not too difficult to see this hasn’t much to do with Creationism at all, and doesn’t even have a thing to do with a desire to edcuate–at least not outside of what is required for maintaining a certain world of status-quo prejudices.
I have mellowed some over the years. Used to be I had almost no use whatsoever for academics, to the extent that if I showed up at a party of a one-time friend who lacked the instrument but could play the hell out of an air guitar (that’s one way of putting it) and I smelled a nest of his co-worker academics in the vicinity then I’d promptly leave. I was almost kind of fine with them as long as they stuck to the dining room table gossiping about department politics and left the rest of us alone to pursue some bonafide conversation–and they’d almost 100 percent comply as they certainly didn’t want to mingle outside their clique, because, after all, what was the use in their mingling when, as far as they were concerned, they had nothing to learn or gain? Yeah, there are academic bloggers now who let it be known how cool they are, really really how cool they and their musical tastes are as well (come sit at my feet my fellow academic bum-licking friends so we may self-congratulate ourselves on our corporate but oh so individual coolness) and love to blog-party and toy with tittilating the whatnot; and what can I say but hey, things sure haven’t changed, because they’ve always been around. But in pre-blog days my experience was that they tended to get too drunk too fast and were really happy with sitting around and bitching about everything and assessing where they were on the king of the hill playground slide between the persons on their left and right.
In the above instance, the number of academics at the parties grew and as they grew they began to feel more secure with elbowing for the respectful distance due them so the numbers of the rest of us dwindled. The third year I dropped by it was almost all academics (though sometimes not immediately distinguishable individually, this is not the case en masse). Eventually the parties were probabaly all composed of academics. They were happy to have the room to themselves and I was happy to not bother them.
Again, used to be I had almost no use for academics, but I like people and I like to find things to like about people, at least when they’re cut off from their herd, though if you’re not secure enough to stand alone then I’ll give you that chance in your preferred environment. I like to give people a chance, a second and a third, even to the point of shutting my voice off and politely, gamely listening and nodding my head after I’ve fully sized the situation up–which is usually just a matter of mapping out someone’s narrow-minded halls and figuring out the concretized (pro or con) conversational points they’re programmed to run. As all that some prefer for a conversation is a party of one then I don’t mind too much sitting back and simply watching the show and experiencing your world and enjoying you, your face, how you move, how you speak, the stories you’ve accumulated. Indeed, most everyone wants others to experience their world, though some people want only that ultimately. Not too many people are that interested in experiencing another person’s world outside of what the price of a shot glass of cappucino demands of them. Even if they imagine they do, they show up at the table with a bag of regimented prescriptions and run through the doctor’s recommendations twenty times before the bladder asks for a break. And they’ll not have a clue. I know that and it doesn’t bother me as long as you’re not abusive. I can look at a good many people, apart from the herd by which they may define themselves, and find much to marvel about in the individual. One thing you learn from listening to many different people’s stories and asking them about things so they tell you even more, enough to give some idea of landscape or what they see the landscape to be, is, of course, how much people are the same and, of course, how different they are. There’s a lot to be learned from really listening rather than just seeing the world and every encounter in terms of scoring points.
Blogworld, and most worlds of conversation, discussion and debate, are not where you can begin to change the regimented prescription and doctor’s recommendations. Nah, you show up to pat on the back, share a tidy story and sometimes play a regimented role of rebuttal, preferably in the matter of a very few one-liners as that’s about as much time readers and commentors can commit to from their work place seat, which we all know as most people play 9 to 5 and blogworld shuts down on the weekend. Most people who comment at blogs don’t even take the time to read the thread of comments preceding their own, much less the comments that follow. When I first began blogging I’d hoped it might be otherwise but learned quickly enough those were the rules and that blogworld is stranded in a world of prejudices and the exact same power jockeyings that rule the real world. Doesn’t mean the internet isn’t a grand tool for disseminating information. No, making information available, the good and the trash, is where the internet excels. But it’s not much of a place for changing opinion through dialogue, just as in real world conversation.
I thought several times about posting a comment at Pharyngula and politely running through some of my views, but anticipating how the comment thread would run I held back. Well before the thread reached 338 comments, I was glad I’d gone with the judgment of not participating.
Nor am I participating by commenting on the post here. I’m not doing a trackback. I don’t want anyone from there to come over here and read and comment. No, I’m instead remarking on why I chose not to particpate, which is the same reason I don’t want anyone from there to come over here and read and comment.
There, that’s all the thought I want to waste on this right now. I’ve got “Cat Women of the Moon” to possibly blog before returning it to Netflix. But all my browser windows are open to slips of documents concerning Sac and Fox mixed bloods that I want to copy into a database and there are 10,000 other things I need to be doing right now so I might not get around to it. But I will certainly try.