Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Morton vs. The Texas Board of Education

“Authority.”

My daughter was on the computer at school defining this word and hearing an example of a sentence that contains it. The example:

CHILDREN SHOULD NOT QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF ADULTS

So, for instance, a fake police car shows up outside school. A fake police officer shouts at some small child that he has been very naughty and has to get into the car. He gets into the car, because he has just learned that children should not question the authority of adults.

Tim Morton's fixed version, reiterated at length to his kids yesterday:

CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF ADULTS. THEY SHOULD DO SO OUT LOUD AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.

Anyway. This is all happening in a fortnight where 10 year olds have to define and illustrate words that explain what (Texan) school kids should be. For instance:

COMMUNICATOR: a person who is very effective at communicating.

Tim Morton's example: Ronald Reagan was known as the great communicator. So, by extension, communicator must mean Reagan-like.

You have to come up with synonyms for this freshly defined word. Can you think of any one-word synonyms? I'm stumped. Because communicator doesn't mean that.

Then you have to come up with one-word antonyms. Even harder. The closest I could come was inarticulate person. The irony of which, etc. etc.

For future pondering: what is this doing to Texan minds, and to the Texan economy?

Stay tuned for a discussion of the use of collective punishment.

2 comments:

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Re "communicator": I'm leary of those words that nominalise one of a person's attributes and thus transform an attribute into an entire identity. I.e., there is a difference between saying that someone is communicative (amongst other things) and someone who is a communicator. If you call someone who seeks refuge a refugee, or someone who suffers from alcoholism an alcoholic, that becomes all she is (never mind that the person also loves strawberries, enjoys the company of squirrels, misses her grandmother). Anyway, Mr premier theorist of objects (the irony of which etc), I'm sure you're onto this.

D.E.M. said...

My daughter was told in kindergarten to stop holding hands w/ another girl because "girls don't marry each other." She came home & told me, to which I responded YES THEY CAN. Furious. I was going to complain, but I had already intervened in the dreaded food-group bullshit going down. Asked teacher to please not overdo meat-eating "glory" because my kid is vegetarian & it's freaking her out.