The Daybook, the American Dream, and all those damned A-Holes

Just wondering, does anyone else in high school have to do the "Daybook of Critical Reading and Writing?" If so, tell me what you think. I'm gonna say what I think... First of all, the whole thing is like a sappy teacher asking you "How do you feel about this poem/essay/short story/excerpt?" which is VERY annoying. I've found, from my experience, anyways, that the only thing the students really want to do with the daybook ("gaybook" at my school") is burn it and dance around the fire. Or sell it to the underclassmen. Those are the only things we can seem to find that they're good for. I know there are some students who agree with the teachers in thinking that the daybook helps with reading and writing, but the majority (and this would normally have some meaning in a country focused on the majority opinion) think the daybook is a shitty pack of paper that has pictures gothic and emo people take when they try to be artistic and full of poems that are dumb/repetitive/boring/without meaning to students/... You know what I'm getting at. It's very annoying. And some teachers even hate it. Some wish it wasn't in the cirriculum. It also seems to be filled with those annoying "American dream" poems and stories. Listen, this so called dream seems to be to make money, have lots of stuff, and get everyone to like you. The daybook implies that it wants you to think for yourself. But at the same time, it brings all these almost propeganda-like things to your attention. Maybe it's just me because I live in rural Indiana (bomb it when I get out), but I usually try to get away from what the rest of the town thinks is important. Things like the "Jesus loves you" shit, the whole Apostolic (spelling? who cares) incestual church thing, and the sports that somehow make you more valuable than other human beings. Ah, for those of you that have never met the A-holes, their church doesn't marry outside itself. You have to marry someone either in the church or someone who joins the church. That means, in a small town with a relatively low population, the gene pool will get very small. There are lots of people here with mental handicaps, and the church has just seemed to realize "Hey, maybe we shouldn't marry our cousins..." So their solution is to import other A-holes from OTHER places so the gene pool will get a bit less cramped. It kinda sounds like dog breeding or cattle raising... Or those houses with too many cats and not enough money to get them fixed. Yeah. I live here. The other churches aren't that much better. My school (this comes from experience. 16 years worth of experience) is pretty much a christian school with a public school name. True story: I accidentally somehow let it slip that I'm not Christian. I even let it out that I don't go to church. Heaven forbid. Anyways, this one girl, apparently trying to be nice and friendly says "Hey, why don't you come to my church on Sunday!" Y'know, a kind invitation. I turned her down politely. She stared for a split second before saying "You're gonna go to hell if you don't..." I lost it. I told her to shut up you stupid bitch you shouldn't say things like that to people. Guess what. I got in trouble. Just because I was tired of getting bothered by the fundies (fundamentalists) to go to their damn churches and waste my sunday mornings and nights praying to be forgiven for all I was guilty of even before I was born. Not my idea of a way to spend any day of the week. I had asked the people at the office, one of the counselors, actually, to talk to that girl and tell her that I wasn't interested and she had no right or reason to be telling me what was going to happen to me when I die. I was told that girl was talked to, but she still insisted on telling me to go to church. My question to the principal was this: Why am I getting in trouble when I'm the one who's been being badgered about this for so long that I couldn't help but tell her to shut up? One word, my friends. Cussing. Bitch sealed the deal. I was in the wrong, and she had done nothing to me so why then should she get into trouble? I argued as long and as intelligently as I could. I brought up all the reasonable points. This is a public school, she's been doing this for a long time, this is clearly harrassment, I just got sick of listening to people telling me I'm doomed. They had no response but to say "You should have thought before you called her that name, because you're the one assaulting her now." Letcha roll that one over a bit... Ok, ready for more? We also have this program in our town called Campus Life. It's run by the Life Church, and gets people together to have fun with heavy religious overtones. Thing is, the program apparently wasn't going anywhere just staying with the church's operations. So, they have one of their youth preachers come to the schools to almost recruit people to come. If you're not confused, outraged, or just plain sickened by the fact that they let people COME IN to spread the stupid RELIGIOUS gospel, then you should probably never visit this site again. I'm one of those who doesn't like the church's little disciples coming to recruit more. One of the few, I should say. That's why this has kept going for so long. No one cares about this in a small town. It's what the majority does. The majority of the town likes Christ being their copilot, buddy, whatever the hell they think of him as, and they're not going to let some punk go off telling them to stop what they're doing, or at least take it somewhere else. I talked to a psychologist recently (now is when ten people reading this say "Ohhhhh, that's why she's such a bitch. She's a nutcase") and told her about it. I mentioned it casually, even. She was shocked. "But that's a public school!" she said. "I know. Everyone knows that. No one cares, though." Some people might think "Oh well these religious people probably don't have a christian (not gonna worry about capitalizing that, it's stupid to do so. it's just another word, now) school to go to." They do. They really do. And, most people would say that it's probably just expensive, but you have to realize the A-holes and the others control the town. They run all the businesses. Not some, not almost all, ALL. Even the Wal-Mart. So there's not really much reason other than overcrowding to keep these kids out of the christian school. They can all afford it. They're all mostly doctors and real estate agents, even. They've got a good cash flow! Even the real estate. There's new houses springing up all over the place. And they're not staying empty. So I think the reason they go to the public school is so they'll be with all the other kids. All the kids, hopefully all christians, god forbid I'll let my baby go to school with atheists. So, I guess what I'm getting at is unless tons of other diverse people are coming with you, don't move to Bluffton, Indiana. It's a bad deal.


v said...

First things first: You write well. Keep on keepin' on.

Second: I'm a high school teacher. It's true. Don't ask how this happened.

Third: I am currently in the "process" of choosing a book to use for grades 7-9 english next year. The options are fairly atrocious. The "Daybook" ("gaybook") is the only one that seemed reasonable. Why?

a) It doesn't have marginal images of ritalin-dosed, Cheshire-cat smiley teens with backpacks talking on their cell phones.

b) It actually assumes people can think for themselves and encourages it. That's just...almost too much to handle. It allows people to think what they want about a text instead of telling them what to think.

c) It has a decent selection of literature (compared to other series I've had the 'pleasure' to peruse, it's true. Sorry.)

d) It doesn't look like it's made for little kids. I don't find it nearly as condescending as the other stuff that's out there.

I found your blog searching out reviews of the Gaybook. If this is how people feel about it, I'm reluctant. However, the other stuff I've seen is just so much more...lame. Imagine it if you will. Is your gag reflect kicking in yet? Mine is.

Thanks for writing about the book and your FEELINGS about it (mwhahaha). I want to chose something that the kids won't totally hate, and that doesn't include little stories with talking animals and moralistic endings. One can only read so many fables before wanting to just eat the book and puke it back out all over the floor.

If you have anything else to say about the Gaybook, please do. I'll be checking back here and am interested in knowing what sucks about the book (aside from what you've already said), and if it actually has any redeeming features.


v said...

Edit: *choose.

v said...

Edit #2: *reflex. I gotta lay off the coffee ;)