Monday, February 09, 2009

What You See Is What You Get, Right?!!??

In my English class we're expected to dissect, describe, diagram, and discuss the various essay selections within our textbook.
So, we've focused in on this one excerpt culled from a novel discussing the tragedy of illiteracy in America. It's written by the foaming-at-the-mouth education reform radical, Jonathan Kozol.
My Professor clicked his tongue at me for calling Jonathan Kozol "dangerous," but I careth not. I don't mince words. I call em' like I see em'.
Mr. Kozol initially endeavored to write books with the interest of persuading teachers to adopt an educational model based on those being used in such lovely bastions of human rights as Communist China and Cuba. He even added text instructing teachers to hide their leftist point of view while they indoctrinate the children into opting out of saying The Pledge of Allegiance. Kozol has toned down his anti-America rhetoric a bit since that first novel in 1980. Consequently, he's risen to prominence among the academic Illuminati who celebrate him and make sure his novels are de rigeur reading for our future educators.
Not to mention the eerie fact that Kozol looks like he was cloned from the wild-haired DNA of accused celebrity murderer, Phil Spector.
Like I said, dangerous.
If you desire to read his 2 page essay that's completely devoid of the actual factual, it's right here:
You'll really love his pointed jabs at what an execrable society we are based wholly on hyperbole-laced fairy tales emanating from a giant talking butt somewhere in the land of magical conjecture.
Is illiteracy a huge problem in the United States? Yes. Are some schools failing our kids? Yes. However, Kozol loves to pontificate without offering any solutions, nor does he bother to dig underneath the epidermal layer to see what's festering below.

Here's Some Of The Highlights From The Response Essay I Wrote:

(Kozol tells the woeful tale of a destitute woman on welfare who bought a gallon of Crisco because she thought it contained a magical plate of golden fried chicken like the picture on the front showed. It didn't. She had no more money. Her family starved to death. It is your fault, you uppity Americans, for failing her.)
1. I too have been deceived by the rampant chicanery these marketers foist upon us lowly, uneducated consumers. My sister-in-law desperately wants to get married. I thought my prayers were answered when I saw the ruggedly handsome man beaming out from beneath the plastic wrap on a package of Brawny paper towels. Wow, a sweet 2-for-1 deal! I can score a husband for my sister-in-law while still getting the benefit of super absorbency to clean up whatever B.S. may spill out of my English book. Imagine my crestfallen face, creased with the agony of disappointment, as I got home and eagerly tore open the package only to discover that there was no knight in shining flannel there to rescue my sister-in-law. I was so sad. I'm going back to the store next week. I think that studly, lemon-scented Mr. Clean guy may be more her type anyway.

2. This essay is a mesmerizing piece of fiction--especially if you're a fan of Charles Dickens. Kozol writes with the intention of reducing people born without a sense of discernment into a sniveling, salty puddle of tears. He wants you to wail and weep and wave your garments around like you've just landed a spot in the supporting cast of a really cheesy straight-to-video Bollywood production.

(I'm not heartless. I do have compassion for the plight of the less fortunate. But I'm not looking to bank on it and build a career out of the trials and tribulations of others like Kozol has done. Neither do I think it right nor productive to perpetuate a victimhood mentality. After articulating the many extenuating circumstances that do indeed trap illiterate people, I had to point out one last thing......basic human nature that applies to ALL of us.)
3. The sad truth is that you could erect a magnificent fountain of knowledge right there inside the living room of an illiterate person. You could even hand them a silver-plated chalice engraved with their name, but you can’t physically FORCE someone to have the desire, drive, and motivation necessary to dip that cup into the font and partake of it. That is called free agency. In this country, we are the masters of our own destiny.

4. Jonathan Kozol actually states: "If even one third of all illiterates could vote, and read enough and do sufficient math to vote in their self interest, Ronald Reagan would not likely have been chosen president."
Really, Jonathan? May I call you Jonathan? So, you're basically equating the principles and ideology of the Democratic Party with a horde of illiterate would-be voters too stupid to know what's good for them? That's certainly an interesting indictment of your own views. May I quote you on that? Ooops, I already did!

Further research on Mr. Kozol reveals that he's adamantly anti-choice when it comes to education despite big city mayors like Baltimore's Kurt Schmoke singing the praises of single-gender schools and the school voucher program.
Beware the man who seeks to strip you of dominion over your own life.
Kozol wants your kid to be stuck in their crappy school without any options of escape. He wants you to sit around and cry and blame all your troubles on the public school system. If you succeed, he fails. When you realize that you have the power to overcome all obstacles, he and the other misery profiteers will be out of a job.
There's a valid reason that Jonathan Kozol is #9 in the scathing tome "The 100 People That Are Screwing Up America" penned by the self-described liberal writer Barry Goldberg.
Like I said, dangerous.

*I ain't skeered of comments. I'm just too busy to pay much attention to my blog and whatever comments, good or bad, this post will trigger.*