Sunday, February 6, 2011

Annoying Things of the Week

These are the things that annoyed me this week:

5. Internet Kill Switch
- Since last June, the government has been considering a Senate bill to create an "Internet Kill Switch." This would give the government the power to shut off the internet if it deems it necessary. This past week, Egypt enacted something similar, shutting off the internet in the wake of the protesting. Seeing it happen first hand, we should have some new insight into this idea. We, as Americans who believe in the First Amendment, were looking forward to the return of their internet to receive more news about what was happening from the people. But what did our government do? Start pushing the bill through more eagerly.

Great job, government. This is a reminder of exactly what the Bill of Rights is for. The government wants power. The people have rights. The Bill of Rights isn't a blueprint for the government to follow. It's PROTECTION for the people FROM the government.

4. Superbowl Ads - Superbowl ads hit their peak probably ten years ago. Yeah, there are a few funny ones, but they've lost their surprise factor. So all of you who go to the party "Just for the commercials!" - you're a corporate shill. Go watch the game just because you like a party. Go because you like the food. Go because you like the company. Go because you like football or one of the teams. But if you just like the ads, it's time to stay home. They'll all be online.

3. No Offense - This seems to be a newer thing, within the past couple years, but I'm hearing with much more frequency the past month or so. Kids have learned that they can tell anyone anything, no matter how horrible or rude, as long as they start the sentence with "No offense." Such as, "No offense, but you are really ugly," or "No offense, but you smell like french cheese left in a gym sock and passed through the system of an aging elephant with ulcerative colitis."

My problem isn't the directness of it. I wish more people would say what's on their minds. We need more Kramers in the world. Remember the episode in which George was dating the girl with the huge nose? She would still have that huge nose and wouldn't have gotten the nose job if Kramer hadn't told her. He just didn't try to sugar coat it by saying, "No offense, but your nose is huge."

I think they actually believe that if they throw those two words in front of the sentence, then it's perfectly OK and no one is offended. They need to know that people are, in fact, going to be offended. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

2. Eighth Graders - The odor alone is enough to kill.

1. Failure - We passed out report cards a week ago Friday. I overheard a student telling her grades to her mom. For the record, I didn't know this student. She read them off something like this: A, B, A, F, F, B, A. What do you notice? I don't know about you, but a couple grades in the middle seemed to pop out to me. Yes, the other grades are good. but this child failed two classes. This girl failed two classes in middle school, where passing grades are pretty easy to achieve. Her mom's response was something like, "Good job, sweetie!"

All right - on one hand, she did have five good grades. And as I mentioned, I don't know this girl. Maybe last quarter it was all seven F's. And maybe the mother went home and kicked the girl's ass from the car to the front door. But knowing our society, knowing our students, and seeing the interaction made me believe that these guesses aren't true. This mother was OK with the child failing. And that girl is going to be content with her failure her entire life and expect recognition for it.

I was just listening to Adam Carolla talking about the kid who shot Giffords and others in Tucson, Jared Loughner. Carolla believes that Loughner's parents should stand trial for manslaughter. His reasoning is that his parents didn't deal with Loughner's mental illness in a way that made him safe to be a part of society. I agree. And parents of kids who fail, cut class, or are a menace, need to have some sort of consequence for crapping out this crappy kid and failing to take a few minutes to learn a few basic parenting skills. Yeah, it's OK to fail. But it's not OK to fail and learn nothing from it.

So what annoyed you this week?

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