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Thursday, August 28, 2008


So the new job? FAB!!! So quiet, so restful, so... different. Nothing gets thrown at me except for the occasional salad container that Joanne accidentally tosses at me in the faculty room. No one hits me, pinches me, spits on me, scratches me, or bites me. Not even if I ask nicely.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tropic Thunder

This afternoon I was reading through some of the more recent posts on the SPEDWatch forum that I belong to and I have to say I'm finding I really truly disagree with the current soup du jour: the movie Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. Right now the people on SPEDWatch are up in arms about a scene in which Ben Stiller talks about having played a person with disabilities in a failed movie. He and Robert Downey Jr. have a conversation about not going "full retard" (which you can view a transcript of by following this link) and the members of SPEDWatch have decided to launch protests against the movie.

I have two words for the members of SPEDWatch: THE RINGER. Where were all the protests when Johnny Knoxville played a "retard" in order to crash the Special Olympics? Yes, people with disabilities were also included in the cast of the movie, but they were also so obviously objects of comedy. I mean hell, consider the line blurted out by the funny looking kid from Super Troopers (you know, the kid who loves acid and licks the partition in the cop car?) when the evil boyfriend character says something about getting ice cream... (If you've never seen the movie he yells, in a decidedly affected voice, "When the FUCK did we get ice cream?")

Yes I agree that our society has a long way to go in accepting individuals with disabilities. I feel it every time I take kids from a residential out into the community and I get stared at just as much as my kids do. And yes, I frequently feel the urge to slap the old ladies who *tsk tsk* my "poor little angels" as if they're pets who should be kept caged as much as possible. I'm considering adopting an autistic child and I'm well aware that at the age of 5 the fact that she doesn't speak, only sings, is considered adorable. But what will it be like when she's 15 and still in a substantially separate program and stimming in public? Yeah, it's going to be difficult to adjust to. However, demonstrating against a movie that is exercising its right to free speech...

Consider all the characters you've ever seen in a Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughan, Will Ferrell type movie. Milton in Office Space... no one calls him "retarded" but the humor is certainly in the fact that he is portrayed as slow while he sits in the basement muttering about his stapler and burning down the building. Never Been Kissed... one of the high school students asks style-challenged Drew Barrymore's character if she's in Special Ed because she's socially akward. Much of our modern humor is derived from jokes and comments that target those who are weaker or don't necessarily fit into society's definition of normal. No matter the subject of these jokes, the screenplays are still a product of one individual's creativity. I will never tell one of my students that the word "retard" or any of its various forms is acceptible, but I will also never tell someone that they shouldn't produce their own work because I or someone else may view it as offensive. The last time I sat down with the Oxford Compact English Dictionary, that action is defined clearly as CENSORSHIP.


I have to say the most difficult part of having some time off before school starts again is finding things to entertain me. As of right now I have posted about 3,456,745,665,324,001 photos on my photo blog, read every magazine in my house TWICE, texted everyone I know for no apparent reason whatsoever, and applied for a mortgage. I'm now listening to Dressed to Kill (yet again), looking up flights to Russia, and watching my cat have a kitty dream.

So I have to pose a question since I also filtered through my online scholarship inbox... Does anyone care about the US anymore or is it all about international whatever-it-is? There no longer seem to be any essay topics to do with our own country, nor does Associated Content have any calls for content having to do with anything stateside. It's unbelievable. And what's more is I had to ask someone else what the hell nuclear proliferation was. Yes, sad I know. And they say I'm smart...

I signed the contract for my new job today by the way. I also got up the guts to go online and get my credit score so I could decide whether or not it was worth looking at houses tomorrow and honestly, I think there are convicts who have committed fraud and filed for bankruptcy multiple times who have a better credit rating than I do. Impressive, eh? I thought so. At this rate, I'll be sleeping behind the dumpster at the Middle School. But at least I'll be able to make it pretty...

Monday, August 11, 2008

"I Poked a Badger With a Spoon..."

It's taken a little while but I found a new job! Divine intervention? No. Luck? No. Little bit of begging? But of course! I decided it was time to go back to the dodgy world of public school special education. I've been assured that my students are essentially normal and just need a little bit of a leg up in the classroom. You know what that means. These are the kids that sit in the regular classroom tapping their pencils, squeaking their shoes, rocking their chair back and forth, making strange noises with a piece of paper and old Elmer's glue... In other words, they're simply the kids who irritate the piss out of their poor teacher and therefore they need a little something else to keep them entertained. Shall I dance for you then?

So last night while watching an Eddie Izzard DVD, my father starts talking about these sunglasses that go over your prescription glasses and how my grandfather has amassed about 12 pairs of these in his minivan which my father is now driving. What does my mother say? "Oh, you mean the ones you get to protect your eyes at the gynecologist?"

Of course, I damned near wet myself watching "Dressed to Kill". In case you haven't seen that particular Eddie Izzard routine, he literally spends over an hour making fun of the fact that Americans haven't got a clue about their own history or the world around them. So our entire country has now been openly mocked on national television by a European transvestite. Can we get a tiny bit more pathetic?