Sacrilege! On a Sunday no less. I attended my daughter’s Spring choir concert yesterday. We first had to sit through the middle school choirs. One of them sang Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World, which contains this great lyric: “I never understood a single word he said/But I helped him a-drink his wine/And he always had some mighty fine wine.” What did the choir sing? “But he liked to have a very good time. And we always had a mighty fine time.”
WT? Our culture’s Puritan attitude to drink combined with its permissive attitude to sex is downright bizarre and upside-down. These are kids who can’t utter the word “wine,” but they can learn about the proper deployment of a condom. Two years ago, my boys couldn’t get a free hat at Tiger Stadium because Budweiser was the sponsor and the hats had a tiny Bud log on the back, but prime time television shows unmarried couples in bed together. It’s disgusting, infuriating, and stupid.
But fortunately, I, too, have some mighty fine wine. It lets me forget about it.
And as long as Three Dog Night has been brought up, I’d be remiss not to mention one of my favorite unpublished pieces: “Top Twenty Decadents of Western Civilization.” Chuck Negron is Number 9. He doesn’t deserve to be on the same list with Dahlmer and Caligula, but the list is flippant. It’s not meant to be a serious breakdown of biggest decadents, but rather a generous flavoring of the different forms of dissipation offered by Western civilization.
The current issue of The Atlantic has a lot of good stuff in it. It leans left, so I was shocked to see this slashing piece against public education: “The Failure of American Schools“. It’s sure to raise a few eyebrows. Excerpt:
In short, politicians—especially Democratic politicians—generally do what the unions want. And the unions, in turn, are very clear about what that is. They want, first, happy members, so that those who run the unions get reelected; and, second, more members, so their power, money, and influence grow. As Albert Shanker, the late, iconic head of the UFT, once pointedly put it, “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.” And what do the members want? Employees understandably want lifetime job security (tenure), better pay regardless of performance (seniority pay), less work (short days, long holidays, lots of sick days), and the opportunity to retire early (at, say, 55) with a good lifetime pension and full health benefits; for their part, the retirees want to make sure their benefits keep coming and grow through cost-of-living increases. The result: whether you work hard or don’t, get good results with kids or don’t, teach in a shortage area like math or special education or don’t, or in a hard-to-staff school in a poor community or not, you get paid the same, unless you’ve been around for another year, in which case you get more. Not bad for the adults.
But it’s just disastrous for the kids in our schools.
* * * * * * * And then there’s this neat piece about David Thomson’s The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. I read Thomson’s The Whole Equation, and greatly enjoyed it, though I found the prose kind of odd. I might have to check out his best-known work. * * * * * * * While surfing for online versions of those two articles, I found this blurb about Mike Tyson’s compensation for The Hangover II: “Tyson received $200,000 both for his small role as well as for recording a cover version of the song ‘One Night in Bangkok’ . . . For his cameo in the first film, Tyson was paid $100,000. . . To put in context how much he was paid, stars Bradley Cooper, Zack Galiafinakis, and Ed Helms were paid $5,000,000 for the sequel, according to Deadline.”Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList
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