Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Down Cold


"They don't know what they don't know." That's a line we often use in education. It can apply to teachers working with students, but more often it works best when considering teachers. Many of the beginning teachers I work with often think they have to continually reinvent the wheel. Of course, they don't. In mentoring or coaching someone else, it's important to listen more than talking to or at someone. But sometimes the notion to "drop knowledge" is just too tempting. Time and experience can inform what we don't know best.
Ignorance is not an excuse, nor is it something to be overly critical about if a person simply does not know something. This morning, while making my way up one of Portland's narrow neighborhood streets, a car appeared in front of me rather suddenly. The driver, a young woman, appeared frustrated. I raised my index finger (none other) backed up and over to the side, and then motioned her forward. This happens often in my town. Usually the other driver will wave or smile, or somehow acknowledge that they are grateful for the effort. Today nothing. Some people don't know common courtesy, some could care less, some don't know what they don't know.
In that same vein, I watched a couple of sports broadcasters on a local call in program trying to discuss the recent incident where Hank Williams Jr. compared President Obama to Hitler when remarking on the recent golf game the President played with the Speaker of the House. These two novice broadcasters couldn't seem to figure out what all the fuss was about. "Who cares what he thinks," they said. "Why are people talking about this?" Apparently they don't know that this particular entertainer has an iconic father. That alone gives him an audience even when he wraps his arrogance around his ignorance. Most disturbing is Williams Jr.'s follow-up remark that "Obama is the enemy." As Waylon Jennings once sang, "I don't think Hank done it that way." Click this link for details:
Hank Williams Jr. cites tea party in defense of 'Hitler' comments

Yes, I'm aware that I have given Hank Williams Sr. the benefit of the doubt here. But that was then, his red, white, and blue tinted son, the icon of Monday Night Football because of his theme song, this All-American performer is apparently fighting his own private war right here at home. Isn't that treason? No, not really just immensely simplistic thinking.
Even the seemingly most patriotic don't know what they don't know. Enough said. THis one is a no-brainer in more ways than one.
Post Script: The last NFL game I watched featured a comment by the announcer detailing how many millions of dollars each lineman on one particular NFL team were now making. To my way of thinking this is as much a statement about the values of this culture as anything else. That the real obscenity, isn't it? In this era where 1% of the population as most of the wealth, in this week where more and more people are supporting the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that won't go away, in this current age, where the American Dream has gone beyond nightmare into the realm of non-existant and dare I say irrelevant, our political parties are referred to as "the enemy." Are you ready for some football, or maybe something better? Like Hank the original once wondered, how can I "melt your cold, cold, heart.

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