Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Weasel Went Down To Woodbridge

UPDATE!! (Or, holy crow, I'm getting a pile of hits on this post.)

ATTENTION HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS WHO HAVE ARRIVED HERE VIA SOME OTHER WEBSITE: Just to clarify - this is not a homeschooling website, nor is it an anti-homeschooling website. This is my personal blog. If you would like to engage in a debate or discussion about homeschooling parents getting involved in the policies, activities, or other aspects of the local school systems they have rejected for their own children, I would highly recommend you start the discussion on the appropriate website, not mine. I'm not a homeschooler. I'm not a parent. I am however an American with an opinion as valid as yours, which is what makes this country great and vibrant. All are welcome here, but it would be much more effective to take any debate to a venue where the issues can be better served. You may disagree with me or be offended, but, just as I uphold your right to think I'm a total doofus, I expect you to uphold my right to be one on my own blog. Thanks. And, please, if you've come here, visit my "selected posts" links on the side of this page - you may find that I'm not the evil death troll you think I am for not being an ardent supporter of homeschooling. May I suggest, specifically, "My Mother Had Wings" as interesting reading. It might make the basis for a good American history lesson for your children. Thanks for dropping by.

So, you homeschool your kids, yet you yourself attend the local high school's football game. A little odd, isn't it, that you enjoy one of the extracurriculars from which you exclude your own kidlets by keeping them out of the school system? Hey, whatever floats your boat, I guess. At the game, you hear the school's marching band perform "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," a number they have been rehearsing and rehearsing over and over again. Heck, the band even went to camp to polish their performance, as they were scheduled to do the Charlie Daniels tune as a guest band at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. One of the kids even procured an electric fiddle and learned how to play it for this. How cool is that? Huge deal for a high school marching band.

But you, you self-righteous prat, decided that it's inappropriate for the band at a school you rejected for your kids to play a song that references the Devil. (Despite the fact that it's a song about Satan musically getting his ass handed to him.) You write an obnoxious letter to the local paper and end up screwing up the happy plans of a nice group of band geeks. Just because you could.

You can read about the whole mess here. My favorite part? It's when this massive dorkwad claims that his letter "was meant to start a philosophical debate, not to wreck any student's marching band experience. Besides, he said, he loves 'Devil.'

'It was one of the first 45s I had as a kid,' he said."

I think this guy's a real a-hole. I bet his kids are embarrassed. I would be. You can take your philosophical debate, bubba, and cram it where the sun don't shine. Save it for one of your homeschooling lessons. Grrr. I know homeschooling can be a great experience for some, but I have the feeling this jerk's kids are going to be lacking the Common Sense Factor when they graduate to the world outside Daddy's Rarified Air Bubble.

What a shame. Damn busybody.


alwswrite said...

I was going to say "this is why my parents moved us out of Virginia (where I was the only Jew in school and my first grade teacher asked me to explain to the class what a bagel is) to Maryland," but then I remembered last year's Montgomery County sex ed debacle.

Further proof that life is better in the District. As long as you never drink, don't own a car and have noplace special to be when you're using public transportation.

Merujo said...

HA! So very true. I'd almost forgotten about that MoCo fiasco.

Where is the sanity?!? (I think it left the whole region when the Zero Tolerance booze policy went into effect...)

Washington Cube said...

One of my biggest issues with homeschooling is that removal of children from the socialization skills they acquire having to be around, and adapt to, other children. Some might bring up Lord of the Flies issues in terms of the socialization, but the point is they have to let go of their egocentric ways and fit in, as best they can. Sooner or later, they will be in and of the world, and better they have time to learn in their own peer groups. I don't know much about marching high school bands, except from what I've heard second hand, over time, but I gather the students that participate work very hard at their musicianship, and it's nice when they get positive feedback from the adults in their lives, not someone sitting on the sidelines making judgment calls on them.

COD said...

After reading the actual letter, I think it's pretty apparent the writer was trying to be somewhat ironic and funny in noting that the "devil" music was being played in a high school band. Certainly there has plenty plenty of controversy in recent years over music in schools that had any sort of religious history behind them.

I think the blame year is primarily with the band director, who totally over reacted to the situation. But then, I imagine the environment he works in probably has led him to be afraid of his own shadow.

Merujo said...

Chris, I totally agree that it would have been great had the band director retained his spine, and I think you're right, too, in that he has to tiptoe around any controversy in order to keep his job.

However, I think the letter-writer absolutely knew what he was doing in stirring this pot. It was the behavior of a holier-than-thou busybody. He should have to sit down and have his "philosophical debate" with the members of the band who all worked so hard to get this piece ready for performance at a major sports event.

Lioness said...

It's jerks like this that give homeschooling a bad name. But Merujo, you're behind the times when it comes to high school sports. One-third of the states allow homeschoolers to participate in high school extracurricular activities, especially sports. Most states are expected to make the move within a few years. Homeschoolers have more time to practice and perfect their moves. It's even showing up in that icon of high school football, Gil Thorpe, albeit as a stereotype that only a few homeschooled kids fit.

Vecordious One said...

Uh oh... I homeschooled both of mine off and on...

But my reasons were strictly to make sure that they had a strong sense of "who they were" before I threw them to the wolves.

My oldest came home from 2nd grade one day and he wept in my arms about how they ridculed and hit Michael because he was fat... I figured that maybe this kid wasn't quite ready for the big, bad ugly world.

Youngest kid got taken out of school the first few weeks of High School. He had become a Mr. Major Attitude... joined a "possee" and was fighting after school. Yeah, he got caught engraving profane words into a science room table top, and after the Vice-Pricipal called, and I came close to having to buy them a new table, I went down there and I cleaned out his locker. It was a 3 strikes you are out buddy sort of thing.

Obviously, my two sons are very different. Frankly, I think I saved the younger one's life by unplugging him from the system.

But I am with you, self-righteous home schoolers are a scourge. Wanna do it, fine, but sit down and be quiet about it.

Merujo said...

Oh, I don't think it's even a matter of being quiet about homeschooling - and like, I said, I think it works great for some folks. I think it's only as good, though, as the parents doing the teaching. My question is, why did this homeschooling dad feel the need to crap all over the plans of kids and a school he rejected? It just seems really wrong, unnecessary, and that he was being irritating just for his own "philosophical" entertainment. Bah humbug on him, oh Woodbridge Weasel Dad!

Oh - I've gotten dozens of hits from homeschooling parents and have been linked on a few homeschooling websites for taking this dude to task. Heck, I imagine most homeschooling parents would probably agree with me about Weasel Dad. :-)

Vecordious One said...

I agree with you about Weasel Dad...

Some folks like that just love to talk to hear themselves speak and yes, I pity his children too.

They just learned a lesson in hypocrisy... good one, Dad.

Vecordious One said...

I wish there was an edit button for posts!

Regarding my son and his 2nd grade experience; he wasn't Michael, the child being tormented... He was crying FOR Michael.

He is grown now and is one of the most sensitive human beings I know... everybody is a potential friend. So, for him, I think "socialization" had to come after he was older. I wanted him "socialized", not "desensitized". There is a big difference.

Anselm's Apprentice said...

I'm perplexed.

I heard about this situation from a talk show host on our local Northern Virginia radio station. He started out by reading from the homeschool dad's letter, which made it very clear that the writer did not object to the song. What he said was, "I find it ironic that we can sing about the Devil, but not about God."

Now, on this thread, I have homeschoolers (I think) jumping to the worst possible conclusions about another homeschooler, based on the truly idiotic actions of a clueless public school official.

Is this really what we want to be doing?

Merujo said...

Scott wrote: "Now, on this thread, I have homeschoolers (I think) jumping to the worst possible conclusions about another homeschooler, based on the truly idiotic actions of a clueless public school official."

Nope. This isn't the blog of a homeschooling parent, nor is it a homeschooling discussion board. With all due respect, Scott, this isn't a "thread." What you see here are comments left by a wide variety of people, only, as far as I can see, two of whom are homeschoolers, on an entry I wrote on my personal blog page.

I have no control over anyone posting a link to my blog on their homeschooling websites. These are my opinions, plain and simple. Just as calling the band director a "clueless public official" is yours.

I'm not a parent, and I don't really care about homeschooling - a concept that I sincerely feel is only as good and useful as the skills and abilities of the parents engaged in the activity. I'm not here to debate this. I would recommend that anyone who wants to debate this open up a discussion on a homeschooling or education website.

I also don't really care what a school official - likely a man who has a family of his own to feed and educate and needs to keep his job - did in this case. If you were a teacher making a crap salary, would you want to take a chance on losing your job, your career, and your benefits over people getting riled about something that could possibly set off a truly stupid argument about religion? Truthfully? I doubt it.

I reiterate my statement - I think this daddy-o was fully aware of what consequences his cute little letter could have, no matter how "philosophical", especially in a time of paranoia and kneejerk reaction in school systems across the country. He knew that, no matter the fallout, it wasn't going to affect his kidlets. After all, they don't attend this school, and they aren't the kids who have put so much effort in their band activities.

That's my $0.02 worth.