Book Bullying

This one is out of train. After ending the last blot I shifted over to reading eMail, which is a rather depressing thing. Too many ads and such these days. One such was from the Barnes and Ignoble folks who were pushing “back-to-school reading”. I presume this is what they think the parents of bairns going back to primary and secondary schule should be buying from them for the bairns to read and become educated. The Arab Tribune, aka Gossip Stercus, recently published a back-to-schule issue that included similar materials.

This took me back to my own days in the schules of Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. And my reading assignments.

Pure Cow Stercus. Patties. Common in the fields that then had not been paved over with houses and (now) decaying stores. 

That was a bit too much flow. 

When we were kids there were still fields, inhabited either by cows or cotton. We stayed away from the latter because the boll husks were nasty wicked sharp. We played in the former because we could have stercus flinging contests. It was educational. We learned that the more you worked cow stercus, the more aromatic it became. And we learned the embarrassment of being hose down by parent in the back yard.

But the start referred to the books we were assigned to read in schule. Absolute utter odiferous bowel solids. 

There may have been a time when those books were popular and entertaining. But once they became “literature” all the enjoyment was strained or distilled or bleached out of them. At least for me.

Writing is a rather special form of communication. It is problematic and risky. When we talk to someone we have communication when the two (or more) people convey their mutual understanding of the information.

Not so with books. Books are a shot in the dark. And as with most shots, they miss. And thus the imposition of a mandatory read of a book that misses is at the least bullying and at the most torture.

I do not recall a single assigned book in schule, public and college, that was communication. They were all somewhere between bullying and torture. The only except was in seventh grade when some science fiction story, cleverly hidden under a Saturday Evening Post copyright (that you founding grandfather!) was included and not assigned because the “teacher” thought it inappropriate.

I read it anyway. And it was the only thing I read in schule that year I enjoyed and appreciated.

Not to say I didn’t read a lot. And good stuff. Just none of it assigned.

Seems a fit description of what is wrong with public education, doesn’t it? 

I sorrow for the bairns, still being bullied by the educational (???????????) instrumentality after all these years. No wonder they are alienated by schule.

And no more educated than I. But I do wonder how effective they will be.