High School Low

The shocking thing about those incidents where some disaffected kid tries to blow up his high school isn’t the fact that such things can happen in these United States of America: it’s that it happens so rarely. When I think about how our our educational system has damaged our culture, I feel rather like gathering up some dynamite myself. Fortunately (for any Feds or other concerned people who might come across this website) I am a law-abiding citizen, and moreover, my own stint in Warehouse High wasn’t all that onerous. (After one more year of enduring stupid PE, I was able to mostly choose my own classes — which I stacked with useless foreign language and college-level English courses, which means I can watch a subtitled German movie about Goethe without too much eyestrain — and was able to shut out anything I didn’t care about by burying my face in science fiction paperbacks.)

Everywhere you go, everything you encounter, every attitude and platitude and political position, has its roots in the jocks-vs.-nerds, popular-vs.-unwanted, James-Spader-Molly-Ringwald-couples-don’t-exist-in-real-life dichotomy the nation’s citizenry experienced in high school. We are currently experiencing a revenge-of-the-nerds administration — with the sting in the tail being that Obama really isn’t a nerd, he’s just one of those people who would have been a jock but for having no athletic ability. There’s nothing worse than someone who can’t be what he is. We must all pay for his personality dysfunctions.

But enough of him. Let’s talk about Sarah Palin! Okay — I’ll just wait until some of you calm down and stop flapping about your cages like that. My my, look at all those loose feathers… Anyway, Sarah Palin is, obviously, a jock, and so all of us who fancy ourselves intellectuals whether artistic or scientific or both must be up in arms against her commonplace, shallow, brawn-not-brain, “get your nose out of that book and clean up your room!”, boys-who-won’t-play-football-are-fags, scratchy “nice” dress for church no you can’t sleep late, God wants you to stay a virgin! self. Or… do we?

It’s disappointing to see people fall into the “ew she’s icky because ordinary people like her they must be stoopid it can’t be because they are thinking for themselves” tarpit. Or as I put it in the comments here:

According to Answers.com, “populism” is:

A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

Can someone tell me what exactly is wrong with this political philosophy, so much so that labeling Sarah Palin and her admirers with it is supposed to be an insult? Then again, if you’re one of the crowd who likes being led around by the nose by a slick, smooth-talking con-man and his crowd of grifters, because his skin color is “in” this year, and because he’s gone to all the “right” schools and knows all the cool people, then I can see why the idea of ordinary people trying to buck the trendy and powerful distresses you so. Or is it just that she doesn’t seem to have had a problem with pregnancy weight gain?

I admit I like Sarah Palin. She’s not at all like me. I’m bookish and introverted and in general the sort of person you’d expect to find in a coffee shop huddled in a corner with an extra large mocha latte reading her email on her iMac. But I have never been able to afford Apple’s products, and I am glad to say the process of removing my high-school prejudices against the “mundanes” was successful many years ago. I laughed in glee at the consternation Palin causes among the crowd of my once-fellow trendars. I don’t care if she ever runs for office: seeing the roaches scurry frantically across the floor whenever her light shines on them is good enough.

I forgot to add, it’s the faux definition of populism that Daphne uses that got Obama elected. George Bush, an authentic jock, was hated by the intellectuals, who voted in the shiny Official Black Man™ who made them feel speshul. When you asked any white person* why they were voting for Obama you got “we need a Change,” and when you asked them what the hell they meant by that, more often than not you got a long, rambling, anti-Bush rant that only tangentially had anything to do with the question. (If you based your vote on “he’s not Bush,” you’re even stupider, because Bush wasn’t running, and couldn’t run due to the fact he’d had his two terms.) As a matter of fact, Obama is an unabashed elitist and that fact turns on a lot of his fans, but he ran on a populist “me against the Big Bad Bush regime” ticket, and that was enough for our kneejerk grown-up high school student voters, who have never gotten over being stuffed into their lockers by the football team.

*Black people are much more honest about why they voted for Obama. It’s because he’s black, duh.

13 thoughts on “High School Low

  1. Susan B.

    Oh, boy…yet another self-styled “edgy” hipster hates on Palin and calls her — and anyone who doesn’t seethe with hatred for her — stupid. I swear, these crazy PDS sufferers must have some serious issues. Perhaps they never did get over high school. Even their objections to Palin sound like something a teenager would say: “I hate you and you’re dumb!”

    Anyway, I wish the whole sorry lot of them would just shut up. I mean, if Palin really is such a lightweight, why obsess on her? She holds no political office right now. I’m more concerned about the proven lightweight who’s now President.

    As for populism…my understanding is that the Founding Fathers never intended for people to make a career of politics. They expected people from all walks of life to run for office, serve and then go back to whatever career they had. These people bemoaning populism seem to think regular people aren’t fit for political office. One must be an Ivy League hack that has never worked a real job to be considered “serious” and “smart”.

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      Daphne is normally pretty sensible, but she lives in Austin — maybe there really is something in the water. All I can say is I read that and went, “Buh?” I just don’t get the Sarah-Hayt. (Just like I don’t get the Sarah Adulation either, but… I can’t say I’ve actually encountered all that much of what is supposedly infesting the “right” like mold in blue cheese. I have yet to observe anything in the Sarah Palin fanbase that comes anywhere near the unquestioning, rockstar-like adoration Obama gets from his fawning admirers. Maybe there is some in all the crowds that go to her book signings; I don’t go to those. But then just about every author who’s been on teevee as much as Sarah Palin has will draw a crowd at a book signing.)

  2. kc

    One of my acquaintances told me several years ago, after hearing BarryO speak somewhere, that’s who she was voting for. I asked why. She said because he’s a black man who speaks well and he’s not George W.

    Do I have to tell you that we’re not really very good, very close friends…and have barely spoken since the campaign began?

    She’s a white Southern woman, a wannabe elitist who got pregnant and never finished high school, who started a business that catered to people with money, lost it because of not paying taxes, has been divorced multiple times…and she’s a dolt, poor dear.

  3. Jim C.

    The shocking thing about those incidents where some disaffected kid tries to blow up his high school isn’t the fact that such things can happen in these United States of America: it’s that it happens so rarely.

    I may have posted this here before, but Dan Savage said the same thing in his article Clique…Clique…Bang!:

    Watching SWAT teams inch their way toward Columbine High, I wasn’t shocked that something like this could happen in a high school. I was shocked that it hadn’t happened in any of mine.

    And I’ve thought the same thing myself.

    On the jock-nerd spectrum, Obama isn’t either one because he’s too charming and smooth, which puts him on the popular side of popular-unpopular spectrum.

    Over at Daphne’s Palin was called a redneck! I have no love for jocks and rednecks, but I’d like to see thousands more of them if they’re like her.

  4. JonathanStrange

    My sister voted for Obama for virtually no other reason – no other reason that she could articulate anyway – than his being a presentable black man who she said “Couldn’t be worse than Bush.” (I doubt she realized she was implying she thought Obama and idiot too or that she’d set the bar, in her view, fairly low.)

    Basically she gives the Great One and his associates – like Van Jones who she thought a knowledgeable, articulate and handsome fellow despite not knowing anything about him before he became controversial – an extra credit bonus worth 50% of the total just for being black.

    I believe that a lot of non-black voters who voted for Obama did so solely because he was not a Republican AND because he was black. They weren’t transcending race at all – at least based on their own comments – but doing so to tell themselves and the world, they weren’t unbiased. Yeah, right. I do agree with AH: at least black voters made no bones about why they voted better than 95% for Obama.

    How’s that working out for them? They still support O overwhelming – if 35% adult unemployment rate isn’t enough to create doubt than we are really dealing with a population that is lightyears away from seeing beyond race.

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      This is politically incorrect to say, but I think too many black people don’t care about unemployment. They figure that they’ll just go on welfare. “Obama will take care of us.” Remember the lady who was exulting how (once Obama was voted in) she would never have to pay her mortgage or car payment again? Never mind that the history of light-skinned (that is, part white) black people is to take advantage of their ties with powerful whites and leave their disadvantaged “brothers” in the dust. And I don’t see a whole lot of black people in Obama’s administration, barring Van Jones, who lasted a couple of days, and the attorney general, who is another half-black man like Obama.

  5. Susan B.

    Okay, I was probably too rough on Daphne yesterday. (Partisan that I am, I’ll admit that her description of Michelle Obama made me laugh.) It’s just that I believe that the media and certain conservatives have been very nasty to her and I’m tired of it.

    I agree that supporters of Palin should not fall into the same trap as Obama supporters. Nobody is out to make her a messiah. I think a lot of her popularity comes from being an underdog. People want to see the underdog succeed.

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  7. JonathanStrange

    Kathy Shaidle writes:

    I give it a year before America’s Official Blacks(tm) achieve the following conspiratorial consensus:

    White people purposely elected an incompetent black man, just to make us all look bad and ruin our chances of getting a competent black man as President for the next fifty years.

  8. aelfheld

    I think much of my liking for Palin arises from the hysterical frothing of her detractors. If there’s nothing there, why are they so exercised?

  9. narciso

    I think Susan B, there is a degree of that, whereas Obama who had all the advantages in life, really has a chip on his shoulder. But it really goes to her values, and her beliefs
    as well. I being better informed than most of the McCain campaign, was supporting her based on the summary I had gotten from Beldar’s blog last summer. Now Patty Murray
    I guess is the Democrat’s counterpart, but she’s dummer than a box of pop rocks. of course there is that other beauty pageant contestant who went to Berkeley and is driving
    Michigan back into the Cretaceous era, she’s actually on the President’s economic advisory board

  10. Joseph Hertzlinger

    The Republicans also have the other end of the jock–nerd continuum in Newt Gingrich. He’s got a PhD and reviews science fiction. If he runs for President it will be like voting for the comic-book guy from the Simpsons.

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