The hardest thing to do is to make an exception to a rule. It's even harder to say, "If I let one person do it, I have to let everyone do it."
That's what makes this story so hard. as it involved children who couldn't pay being isolated from the carnival, which included bouncy houses, popcorn, and loud music. The ones who were denied that pleasure were herded into an auditorium with only a Disney movie.
Thinking more about it, however, the principal was showing the children - young as they were - what denial is. Even though the teachers who felt bad for these children tried to make them feel better, the principal was attempting to teach everyone that giving everyone a trophy or medal distorts what real success and hard work means - and if you do not have those tools to succeed, you will be denied at every turn. It's easier to learn that maxim now than later and in that instance, the principal was correct to insist on paying, even though it was harsh to deny those who didn't from participating..
Denial or rejection, when warranted and principled, is something these children will have to learn. In high school, if they fail their classes, they'll be denied prom privileges, their cap and gown, the ability to attend their graduation ceremony, and their diploma. If they slack off during their last term, their first choice for college, including all scholarships, will be revoked. In the workplace, if they do the minimum of work, they'll be denied promotions - or even be terminated.
Yes, there are poor people who can't afford to pay $10 - either through happenstance or through a strict budget. Parents likely told their children, "I have to account for every dollar. $10 means less for food, electricity, and such, and I'll have to cut back elsewhere." Then, the difference between sitting in an auditorium with no fun versus no dinner and no electricity becomes a sacrifice, rather than a punishment. They may not get to have fun with their friends, but at least they come home to a decent dinner and a roof over their heads.
Indirectly, the principal did these kids a huge favor - showing them that denial now may yield something bigger and better later, if they work hard enough to succeed and are patient enough to wait. Moreover, you will be bitterly disappointed if you feel everything must be handed to you, above the fairness of others.
Here's a bit of sage advice for those decrying Toya Graham's beatdown of her son, who was going to join his fellow agitators and "break stuff:"
If you're shocked that a mother - nay, a parent - cares enough to prevent her son from either being arrested or shot dead, perhaps there's a problem with your own parents you must come to grips with.
Toya Graham didn't want her son to be a statistic, or even a martyr for the cause of violent resistance whipped up by savvy agitators. She came forward and showed exactly what a parent has to do sometimes to get attention to the inattentive.
Rebelling against parents is nothing new. Teenagers who think they know better will try their damndest to prove they known more, but after they see the error of their ways, they assert their parents were right. Ask a mother who had her daughter at the age of 15, relegating her to a virtual eighteen year sentence. Ask a recovering drug addict who began smoking pot at 14, shot up heroin at 16, nearly overdosed at 18, went sober off and on, until they reached their nadir, went through a nasty detox, and has been clean and sober for two decades. Ask a woman who had an abusive boyfriend who beat and violated her at his every whim. In each case, unless they're permanently obstinate and in denial, they thought they knew better, but did not, and they paid the price for it.
The real problem with parents that I see are inattentive, abusive, overindulgent, ignorant, and neglecting. Those children are perfect for being lulled into the sweet language of indoctrination, of being pumped full of intellectual garbage and violent propaganda, and being unleashed at the behest of their new "friends" (read: masters) to carry out violence in the name of an ideology, all the while not realizing that they're being used as a means to an end.
Toya Graham fits none of those attributes.
What actually did win - and it disturbs these critics more than Toya Graham - is that tough love really won. Instead of claiming another "lost soul" to their cause of nihilistic violence and rigid ideology, they saw that a parent wasn't a friend (they weren't going to toss rocks or loot together) and that they discipline "old school," and will do anything to make certain their children aren't used and become disposable at the whim of corrupt leaders.
The teaching moment in this ugly tirade from a female ESPN reporter isn't what she said. Certainly it had its mean girl patina, one where a pretty female swats someone else with her lesser looks with the charm of Cruella DeVille. The teaching moment is that all of us got that satisfaction of calling her a miserable wretch, basking in her schadenfreude when ESPN suspended her for acting like a total bitch (Ivy league sorority strain?), through the completely opaque veil of anonymity.
If the cameras weren't rolling, this would never have been an issue. Her "miserable wretchedness" would be safely out of the public eye. The tow company (itself having a checkered past) had its cameras rolling, thus displaying an ugliness we usually reserve behind closed doors. Thence, the week-long suspension, which depending on who you hear from, is either just right, too excessive, or requires a walk of shame to HR for the last paycheck and escort from the building.
When we apply shame correctly, the object of shame is humbled, and likely has an indirect effect on us not to repeat what others do. Shame as entertainment, as a way to display our own insecurities, is shallow, self-serving and wrong. Piling on with the intent of "running the person out of town" is naked mob rule, not anything remotely resembling showing the person the error of their ways in a dignified manner.
It could well be that she returns a better reporter. However, female reporters have managed to keep their cool even when news is jarring and emotionally wrenching. The occasional blooper, including ones that involve obscenities, have found themselves on gag reels for ages; this one where a reporter, caught unaware, dressed down someone else in an ugly fashion, may not be as quickly forgiveable.
You know that 'one weird trick' gimmick? It's pure diet spam - one that charges you $79 a month, charged directly to your credit card, for garbage pills purported to lose weight. (And good luck trying to get out of it, unless you chargeback.)
When you see breathless action words, aggressively pleading questions, outrageous claims, and so forth, you've entered the world of Clickbait English. Clickbait English is a lot like the oversimplified language in Orwell's 1984 - it condescends, appeals to the lowest common denominator, and is not meant for critical thinkers. There are no nuances, just plenty of noise.
Other times, the articles are advertorials - articles that look serious, but are paid for by other companies to shill their goods. Advertorials are slightly less sketchy versions of the 'one weird trick' gimmick, only it's done by legitimate corporations and companies. If you're reading about your health and you've just thought to yourself, "Isn't that the Cheerios pitch?" then you've just read an advertorial.
(This web post shills for nobody and is the opinion of only the blogger.)
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