[sociate] Gatto and blogmutes

  • From: "Jerry Michalski" <jerry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Sociate News" <sociate@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 16:05:24 -0400

Gatto's in Harper's

Doc first turned me on to John Taylor Gatto's ideas years ago by steering me
toward an essay Gatto had published in The Sun. I think it was his
Six-Lesson Schoolteacher (upgraded to seven, then eight: forgetfulness,
bewilderment and confusion, assigned classism, indifference, emotional
dependency, intellectual dependency, provisional self-esteem and the "glass
house effect," a total lack of privacy). I've been a fan ever since, and a
questioner not only of compulsory education, which Gatto convincingly
eviscerates, but also of our society's other compulsions.

The cover story of the September Harper's Magazine is a piece by Gatto
titled Against School, and it is as startling and effective as always, even
for someone who has read quite a bit of his writing. Here's an optimistic
excerpt from the penultimate paragraph:

  Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and
traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and
consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains
children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and
independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help
your own to develop an inner life so that they'll never be bored. Urge them
to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history,
literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology -- all the stuff
schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of
solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner
dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and
they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell
phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly
abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can.

Unfortunately, Harper's doesn't make its stories accessible on the Web, so
you may have to pick up an issue... or sit on the couch at the local
bookstore-cum-reading room.

posted by Jerry Michalski at 1:00 PM

I'm a blogmute

Awed by the blogging of vociferous and eloquent friends such as Doc Searls,
David Weinberger, Wendy Seltzer, Ross Mayfield, Adina Levin and Dan Gillmor,
I've come to the realization that I'm a blogmute.

I have a blog, I know how to use it, I have the best intentions and plenty
of ideas every day... but somehow, the connection between brain, fingers and
blog interface is not fully formed here.

posted by Jerry Michalski at 11:05 AM

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