[lit-ideas] Re: What happened at Abu Ghraib?

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 08:39:00 -0500

John Wager:
> "I'm not punishing you for going to the snack bar; I'm punishing you for
> getting CAUGHT going to the snack bar!" was the DI's reply.

When I was teaching at a Jr. High School in Memphis in 1970, there was a
small neighborhood grocery store half a block  from the school.  There was a
steady stream of students from the school to the grocery and back during
lunch hours despite the often repeated prohibition against leaving campus
without permission.  The grocery store in particular was cited as off
limits.  And yet no one hesitated to go there if they so desired, and the
culture of the school was such that no faculty or administration personnel
seemed to notice.  This was an inner city school and this had been the
custom there for decades.  One day one of my students, a bright,
well-behaved, sweet girl, came to me -- I was grounds monitor that hour -- 
and asked if she could go to the store.  I wanted to tell her, "Just go,
dear, don't ask me, you know I can't give you permission.  I'd be opening
myself up to liabilities that could destroy my life.  Just go, disobey the
rule like everybody else, go."   But I didn't.  "No," I said sternly, "you
know it's against the rules to leave campus."  She walked away disappointed.
I think she was more disappointed with me, that I was just another corrupt
teacher, than at not being able to go -- at least that's what my
narcissicism thinks.  It struck me at that moment how one must be loose
enough to accept the disconnections between the official world and the lived
world or have psychological hell to pay.  I don't like it, but I guess it's
gonna be that way.

Mike Geary
loose as a goose
in Memphis

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