Thursday, April 7, 2011
4/7 - A Bland Day
It seemed to me this year that, despite all the internet advertisement one saw, TOMS One Day Without Shoes might be on the decline or at least down from a peak. Last year there were many celebrities making videos in advance of the event. This year we seem to have gone from the Jonas Brothers to Arianna Huffington - hardly a change for the better. As I write this, Y.E. Yang has just tied Rory McIlroy for the Masters lead. Phil Mickelson is having typical adventures, but his scorecard is strange, containing only one birdie and all pars else. Quick Thoughts - L1: It's rather easy to say DTMFA, which is the obvious answer. But one wonders why LW1 didn't do so or at least ask the question a good deal earlier. It does let the odd suspicion or two slip in that just possibly she might be happier with BF1 than without him, but that might be unworthy. L2: Is it really that hard for LW2 to find and sit next to someone who doesn't pong? Befriend someone on the route and make arrangements to be regular seating companions. It's neither rocket science nor brain surgery. L4: The Prudecutor clearly is trying to pull a fast one here. After her rant against cheating in R3, she tries to sneak R4 past us when it is clearly not her own work. Everything she's been doing in the course this semester is graded lower, and this reply is far more Biblical than is her wont. Also, if it were her own work, she'd have been unable to resist making some sort of pun on Solomon. And now for L3, where the Prudecutor immediately jumps in off the high dive only to find that there is about an inch and a half of water in that portion of the pool. But there is much stuff for any proficient cross-examiner. First - exactly what comprised the cheating? This does not appear to be the sort of cheating which many of us might recall from our own youths. Who actually used the C word - the girl, or did LW3 interpret what G3 said as cheating? One might reasonably bend the cross-examination either way. It could well be that G3 reported being allowed an extra accommodation, which LW3 interpreted as cheating and G3 might not have understood as such. That certainly bears a different interpretation from the situation if G3 cheerfully told LW3 how she was able to fool the substitute on purpose and cheat deliberately. Second - what is the atmosphere at the school? It is very likely that there is what we might consider to be a cheater culture in effect, similar to the idea of rape culture, if one might be allowed the comparison. That would explain G3's readiness to be cheerfully open about getting away with something she knew she ought not to have done. In theory perhaps it ought not to matter, but what to do about it in practice makes me think of the Daria episode See Jane Run. Jane and Daria dislike gym class being transformed into cheerleading practice, and have to make up the class after school. Then Jane sees the track team star, Evan, whom she... appreciates. After seeing Evan emerge with a win against the Fashion Club, Jane, who has already been told off by the gym teacher and compared to her sisters, signs up to try out for track. Daria takes this not particularly well, even worse when Jane turns out to be good. They patch things up, and Jane, getting out of gym class by claiming her legs are a little sore after her last meet, wangles getting Daria out of class as well to keep her company. But then Jane accepts a bye on a math test, customarily offered to sports stars. Daria gets upset, but, when Evan calls Daria a loser, Jane decides that Evan and the track team just aren't a good fit for her, and she quits the team. The gym teacher/track coach threatens to fail Jane herself if need be if Jane doesn't return, but Jane outwits her. Still, however, she and Daria end up back in gym class, summarizing. Jane asks to be told she still has her integrity, which Daria claims to be a funny word. Then Jane wants to be told she's marginally less corrupt than the jocks. Daria summarizes that Jane refused to participate in a corrupt system in which good grades are exchanged for athletic performance, but she didn't try to reform the system either (for fear of ostracism, as Jane claims). So the system continues, Jane hasn't redeemed herself, and they're ostracized anyway. Then we have the comments of the Prudecutor and others. How on earth can the Prudecutor be so sure that, even if it is G3's first A, she'll be caught? This is a B-ish student in a newly demanding class, not Kevin and almost the whole football team getting 100 on a history test in the more pertinent Daria episode Murder She Snored. G3 has to be pretty consistent to remain in the Bs if she never gets an A, but she certainly ought to be capable of a lucky A or two at some point or other. In Murder She Snored, Mr DeMartino is naturally suspicious when Kevin and most of the football team get As on a test the day after he found jimmy marks on his file cabinet. It is only too painfully obvious that the last person in class who could ever earn an A would be Kevin, who, when asked what war freed the U.S. from the iron hand of imperial rule, picks up on the word iron and guesses The Golf War. Mr D threatens to fail the whole class, which is especially galling for Jane, who'd joined Mac in getting a B. When Kevin falls dead out of Daria's locker, Ms Li makes Daria the prime suspect. The Fashion Club, appearing as Upchuck's Angels, are employed to solve the case, but in the end Daria works out that Kevin was poisoned by Jane, hit with a golf club by Mac, shot with an arrow by Brittany, and stomped by Mr DeMartino. Then Daria wakes up. As to what LW3 might do, it might depend on whether she feels her loyalty to be primarily to the school, the parents, or the girl. She could possibly tell the parents and see what they do. Although the Prudecutor goes a bit overboard in insisting that LW3 cannot possibly in good conscience continue to work for the parents if they don't insist on turning in their daughter and making her take the full consequences, even if that does nothing to change or reform the cheating culture, I can see how the current climate of parents who simply want any advantage that can be ontained for any means for their child, even if it means resorting to threats of or actual violence against Little League or hockey coaches, would push the Prudecutor rather too far in the other direction. LW3 might try to scare G3 straight. If she knows that the system would be a Zero Tolerance club which would be used to bludgeon G3 even if G3 didn't entirely understand that whatever happened could lead to such a point, that might have a reasonably acceptably outcome. This would entail explaining very thoroughly to G3 what accommodation she is and isn't allowed to accept, and what beyond the strictly permissible might be considered an optional perk and what would definitely be clearly out of bounds. She can scare G3 with all the Zero tolerance horror stories she can recall, and persist in cross-questioning her about overstepping any lines on future tests. On the incomplete knowledge we have before us, a retest might be the preferred outcome. Can LW3 contact the teacher? Especially if the incident can reasonably be seen and interpreted more as a misunderstanding than a deliberate wrong act, and if the teacher has room to exercise her judgment and isn't bound by draconian Zero Tolerance policies, this could work out best all round. But my reading of L3 suggests that this likely isn't on the cards. Moral: "Kevin, can you name the principal players in the Teapot Dome scandal?" "Uh... the New Orleans Saints?" "TEAPOT Dome, Kevin, not SUPERDOME!" "Oh - the New England Patriots!"