Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Talk Radio as Punishment

I was a senior in high school when our local congressional representative came to visit our school and give us some general bland speech congressmen usually give to high school students. We were forced to attend and since the intelligence level of the speech would obviously be aimed at high school students, I knew that I was basically in for another hour of my life being wasted. But what did another hour matter given the past 13 years?

So there I sat and the representative, who was good, was obviously dumbing it down for his audience. He then asked a simple question that every high schooler should know;

“How many members are there in congress?”

I looked around and saw that out of the roughly 500 students NOBODY was raising their hands. I thought to myself, “Good Christ, NOBODY KNOWS????” I soon realized we’d be stuck there longer if somebody didn’t move the speech along and answer the man’s question.

I raised my hand. He called on me and I said, “535.”

He said, “correct” and then continued on with his speech.

There was then a tap on my shoulder from the seat behind me.

It was this young punk freshman who was already notorious because at the wise age of 14 he decided he would get a REAL tattoo of a spider web EXPANDING FROM HIS EYE. He looked like an even more idiotic version of Adam Lambert.

He asked me in a Beavis and Butthead tone, “Heh, heh, how many beers are in a case?”

I didn’t know, so I said, “I don’t know, 6? 12?”

“Heh heh, it’s 24! Shows you how much you know, stupid!”

And I sat there and thought in utter irony, “Yes, actually IT DOES SHOW me how much I know!”

Fast forward many years and there I am substitute teaching. I was subbing for an unnamed school in a district that was rapidly turning from inner suburb to ghetto. Kids, accustomed to having no authority or discipline meted out upon them were running rampant. Nobody sitting in their seat. Talking blatantly while the teacher was trying to lecture. But my favorite was when I was waiting for students to get to class before the bell and this kid comes in with a radio blasting some worthless rap. We had some time before the class started so I asked him, “what the heck is that you’re listening to?”

“DJ Dayz and something or other” I couldn’t remember what it was.

I said, “Dude, how does that materially sound any different than any other rap group out there?”

Thinking I was some how insulting him he said, “Well what do you listen to?”

I said, “Jazz, some rock and roll, lounge, but primarily talk radio if I’m just listening to the radio.”

“Pfa! Talk radio???” and he then turned back to his music.

At recess that day I was to chaperone the students, and as I was outside just standing around I hear in a blurred together saying, “TALKRADIOSUCKSZAAAA!”

And then three middle school idiots, sniveling and snorking, looking at me as if I;

1. Didn’t know who they were.
2. Could not deduce who it could have possibly been given I only had ONE conversation about talk radio with ONE student in my entire life.

Now it has been some time since I was in high school.

And actually it has been quite some time since I substitute taught.

But I have a couple questions.

1. Where are these idiots now? And

2. Politics set aside, would they not be better off listening to talk radio?

There is no larger point I wish to make. It’s just a very simple point. Idiots, which are readily and easily identifiable in high school and middle school, would benefit immensely from talk radio.

First, they are punished for being idiots by being forced to listen to talk radio. Second, they might actually learn something if forced to listen to it. But (and here’s the kicker) third, talk radio is arguably the ideal “punishment” in that it is addictive. There’s an actual plot or point to it. It’s not just some idiot cursing and swearing about pimps and hoes, there’s a story AND it’s real life. The kid, I would gander, would not only have to sheepishly admit he/she listens to talk radio, they would learn something AND it would definitely set them on a better track than the one they were on before.

Heck, you could even have the kid listen to NPR, though Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage would certain engage their attention better. But the larger point is could not the schools (public and private) be using this advanced weaponry to help discipline and educate the kids at the same time too? Let alone inoculate them against future poverty and strife? Mayhaps even set them on the road towards success?


Anonymous said...

That beer story sounds familiar. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comments of where are they now - I remember clearly two students I had when I taught high school in the mid 70's.

One became an outstanding musician, earning her doctorate in organ performance from the Univ. of Michigan.

The other within a few years ended up in the South Dakota State Penitentiary as a habitual felon. That was one mean hunk of human trash. He had a 10 page rap sheet as a juvenile.

And I within a few years, left teaching and went to grad school in Comp Sci.

Anonymous said...

Ah, my Captain, surely you jest? I'm pretty sure in the minds of the educational crowd that Rush, et al would be considered cruel and unusual, if not outright brain-washing, that would get them treated as pariahs agents of evil for even suggesting it.

Nevermind you seem to be suggesting punishment - negative reinforcement - might work.

Perish the thought

vakeraj said...

I think the better solution would be to abolish the public schools and hand parents an education tax credit to send them to private schools. That paddle.

GW South said...

I just had a reinforcement of my fiscal conservative beliefs.

I work for the Department of Justice part time as a student clerk - I'm a Senior at a DC University. I justify my payment of tax payer dollars by the fact I once was able to reduce a payout to an attorney by $300,000 on a $4.5M claim using statistical analysis. I believe this makes me the first federal employee in history to actually be worth their salary.

Today I was carrying up a form for one of my bosses to the travel office. As an aspiring economist, I have no problem doing work like this as I know due to my still growing capital base, my MPL is much lower than his thus it makes economic sense for me to do the unskilled labor aspects of his job.

I had to ask this 50 year old woman a question about a form she returned. No major work, just ask a question. Sitting at her desk, doing NOTHING, she responded that she was "on her lunch break" and I would have to come back later. She was not eating, she was just surfing the internet. I informed her it was for the assistant director of the division, and she once again repeated she was eating her lunch (despite the lack of food).
I, the lazy 21 year old, every day eat lunch at my desk in 15 minutes despite technically having a 45 minute lunch break - and if I have work to do, I'll generally do it while I eat. This wasn't some big exec - this was a women who was at most a GS-7, which is NOT high at all.

In the private sector, that would not be put up with. She'd be told "well you're going to answer this question". The government is simply a vehicle for people with no skill, talent or work ethic to have a job. I am surrounded here by many qualified and competent people, such as the attorneys who all do a good job despite an overwhelming case load. However, when you look at the support staff, it is clear that these jobs for them exist solely to employ these for the most part unemployable people.

DC Handgun Info said...

That was a bit of genius writing. My pal Fred started listening to talk radio in Calif. 20 yrs ago. How much smarter I'd be if I'd started when he did! I am a part-time [Mark] Levinite, listening via podcast.

I have taken the liberty of linking to this post. Keep up the fine work.