This Is True

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I enjoy reading the eNewsletter This Is True once a week, quite humourous and enlightening. The following excerpt is a commentary exchange about idiots and normal peoples between a reader and the writer Randy Cassingham:

TODAY’S MAIL BRINGS THIS from Brian from Colorado:

“Just thought I’d let you know I am reading TRUE while working at Baghdad International Airport [since] I have access to my email account from here. I am a Reservist called to Active Duty from Colorado Springs, CO. I moved to Austin, Texas on 1 December and got activated on 27 December.” (Nothing like a chance to settle in, eh?!) “Anyway, the real reason I am writing is This is True and your ‘extra’ commentary really exacerbates the conflict I have between my philosophies on the nature of people: whether people are idiots or not. I see so much stupidity being perpetrated and perpetuated by people, I think to myself ‘people are idiots.’ Then, I go read your writings and the postings of intelligent readers who have responded to your expanded discussions and think to myself ‘there are a lot of people out there who are not idiots.’ And so the battle rages on; one day people are idiots, the next day they are not. I guess reading True and HeroicStories helps me keep the balance between sides, but now I am ever in a state of conflict. Do you have any suggestions on how to end this perpetual, personal, philosophical conflict? Very Respectfully, Brian, SMSgt, U.S. Air Force, Iraq”

Yes. Remember that variety and differences is what makes life interesting. If we were all the same, imagine how boring life would be. This is what makes some “professional” educators …well… idiots: they seek to treat all students the same, no matter what. By forcing all kids into one mold, their strengths are ignored. They think the kids “need” self-esteem, so they prop them up with bogus reassurances that cause more problems later, when they find out that not everyone has the same abilities — that others do better than they do at some things. Once they realize their self-esteem is based on lies, it comes crashing down to much lower levels that it ever was before. They think ALL the praise they got was a lie, including their actual strengths, which were ignored or downplayed because teachers didn’t want another kid without that particular ability to “feel bad”. It’s a rare kid that doesn’t have one or more true strengths that he could feel good about, but that’s no longer allowed: wait’ll you see the story in next week’s issue about why one school canceled their spelling bee…

So we should EMBRACE differences, not smother them. It’s what makes life worth living. So yes: some people are idiots some of the time, others all of the time. I’ve done stupid things in my life, and no doubt you have too. Luckily, we have the ability to learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t have to make them all yourself. To wrap back to the beginning, if the stories in TRUE make you *think* and make you a better and more interesting person, fantastic! Anything else would simply be idiotic.

And the spelling bee story that Randy refers to was:

BEE BEEN BANNED: Schools in Lincoln, R.I., have canceled the annual spelling bee competition. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Newman said the decision was unanimous, and was because the “No Child Left Behind says all kids must reach high standards,” but a spelling bee is “about one kid winning, several making it to the top and leaving all others behind. That’s contrary to No Child Left Behind.” A spelling bee “sends a message that this isn’t an all-kids movement” as it leaves “some kids being winners, some kids being losers.” That just won’t do, she says, since “You have to build positive self-esteem for all kids, so they believe they’re all winners.” (Woonsocket Call) …Asinine. A-S-I-N-I-N-E. Asinine.

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