A photo of a kindergarten teacher in China lifting one of her students by her ears has recently been doing the rounds online. The teacher, reportedly, has explained her actions by saying she and the student "were just having fun." Well, the smile on the teacher's face indicates she's having fun. I'm not so sure about the kid. [huffpost]
Here's the latest image gone viral. I spotted it on reddit.com, but you can also find it on any number of blogs or facebook posts. My first thought -- I'm pretty sure this is Chuck's work! So posting it here to give some credit where credit is due.
Back in 1989, Coppin State College in Baltimore started a program designed to teach kids critical thinking skills -- how to "formulate meaningful questions, identify pertinent data and determine fallacies and biases." It did this by having the kids examine and discuss "weird facts" and weird news stories. Perhaps Chuck's work was on the curriculum. (link: Google News)
The picture shows teacher Tom Payne teaching the kids some weird facts. I don't know what happened to the program. It doesn't seem to exist anymore. In its place, we should try to make Weird Universe mandatory reading in all high schools.
I wonder what would have happened had Dr. Sherman's plan been put into action? It would certainly relieve stress -- and provide a much more realistic view of the world -- if we were all taught from day one to accept our mediocrity. Reported in the Newark Advocate, Dec. 1, 1936:
Training for Failure
It seems that parents are wrong in counseling their youngsters to study hard and aim for the presidency.
Anyway, Dr. Mandel Sherman, mental hygiene specialist at the University of Chicago, advises that young people be trained to become failures, in the ordinary sense of the word.
"Our educational system is suffering from an overdose of success stories," he contends. "One person in 10 is neurotic, one in 22 insane today because we train only for success. And only a few can be successful from a material standpoint."
Youth perhaps should be taught that a successful life need not include fame and riches. But history, studded with instances of handicapped youngsters who fought their way to success, indicates that it would be difficult to get the younger generation to bow its head to the inevitability of failure.
Apparently Vampyres have to go to school, just like everybody else. (I don't know if Vampyres are different than Vampires, or if it's just a more pretentious spelling of the same.) I think a degree from this school would be a great addition to my resume:
It is our desire that our School for Vampyres address the Vampyre at all levels, and that our teachings have a practical application in the world. Hence, all of these are steps towards the formation of a more compleat Setian, a more compleat Vampyre...
There will be those who first learn more about the Arkte Element here, who then Become Warriors. There will be others who first learn of the MetaMind Element here, and who will then specialize in it...
Applicants will be considered for admission to the Order by an existing Master of the Order (preferably), or by a III ° + member of the Order at large, or by one of the Grand Masters themselves. In most cases, if a Master of the Order deems a Setian is appropriate for the Order, that Setian's membership will almost always be guaranteed. In all cases, however, the decision to admit a Setian will be at the sole discretion of one or both Co-Grand Masters.
As Thomas Pynchon preached, for every force, there is a counter-force. Thus it should come as no surprise that the state-sanctioned respectful and patriotic Fourth-of-July parade has a dark doppelganger, in the form of the Horribles Parade.
The origin of these mocking, satirical festivals goes back well over a century. In Rhode Island, my home state, the affair is called The Ancient and Horribles parade. You can read about our version here.
In nearby Massachusetts, the town of Beverly Farms staged one that recently generated some controversy, with a float dedicated to the teen-pregnancy pact that was recently all over the news.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.