November 19, 2008

Mean Girls

I've been teaching "Date Smart" for the last couple of weeks, to 8th grade students. Date Smart is intended to teach the students how to recognize abusive relationships, and what to do about it. Really rewarding and fun, but this particular school segregates the kids. I miss having the co-ed mix in the classroom (especially for the "skits") but I notice the students are more open with their input and questions without the opposite sex nearby.

Except this week. Why? Because this week I have the "Mean Girls" in my class. That's right, capital M capital G. It's incredibly challenging! Nobody talks. All eyes look to the Mean Girl section to see how they should respond to . . . pretty much anything. To help me cope I watched Mean Girls (the movie) last night. It's a classic. I wish I could share it with the class but I don't want to give them new ideas for cruelty and manipulation. I might share this small tidbit from the movie: "girls, if you insist on calling each other sluts and whores, you're giving the boys permission to call you that, too." Maybe girls don't care about that anymore but I think they're faking a callousness they don't feel. The ultimate commitment in junior high school, after all, is 'appearing cool.' Maybe it's cool to be called a whore. (Mind boggles. Eyes spin around. Blood pressure rises.)

Today we define the word "coerce." It'll be fun. I promised them it would be!

November 5, 2008

Nailed It

"Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked. [ . . .] Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday's election."
-The Onion, November 5, 2008

November 4, 2008

Where at Least I Know I'm Free

I was a poll-watcher in this election. I watched a huge number of first-time voters, young and old, elect Barack Obama. I spoke Spanish with a little old lady who told me "es mi primera vez" - it was her first time. I so wanted to believe we could elect a Democrat, finally. After 2000 and 2004 I had grown cynical. I reserved judgment. I closed down my assigned polling place and went home to spend about two hours obsessively clicking "reload" on the New York Times election results page. When the press started calling it for Obama I said "ha - they called it in 2000 and they were wrong." When McCain made his concession speech my husband kissed me on the head and went to bed. I'm so proud tonight. Proud, relieved, and exhausted. It's like a big black eye in the face of American cynicism.

Here's a fusion recording of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech, accompanied by the band Moodfood. (If this link doesn't work, you can find it on You Tube.)