Friday, October 12, 2007
"I have been thoughtless and insensitive and self-obsessed to the extreme. But if you give me a chance to rectify my beligerent ways, I promise I will make every effort to be friendworthy of you."
- Dawson, in Dawson's Creek
School, work, and a somewhat stifled social life have gotten the best of me this semester. Luckily, revitalization is on its way, masked behind the bittersweet and slightly macabre rhetoric of one Jonathan Kozol.
"I guess I do not believe that there are good ghettos and I get kind of nervous when about seeing stories of this kind in the newspapers, generally signaled by a standard set of headlines ('From the ashes: a flame of hope') that seem to be recycled periodically, because I believe that they inflate exceptionality into a myth of progress that is not based in reality. They do console us, but I think they may permit us also to congratulate ourselves too easily about the 'bootstrap' possibilities for individual endeavor or for localized renewal efforts in an atmosphere where the toxicity of life is nearly universal.
"So long as the most vulnerable people in our population are consigned to places that the rest of us will always shun and flee and view with fear, I am afraid that educational denial, medical and economic devastation, and aesthetic degradation will be virtually inevitable; and this, I am afraid, will be the case no matter what the individual or even the shared achievements of small numbers of good human beings who are infused with the essential heroism of the people whom I have described. So long as there are ghetto neighborhoods and ghetto hospitals and ghetto schools, I am convinced there will be ghetto desperation, ghetto violence, and ghetto fear because a ghetto is itself an evil and unnatural construction."
"It is also recognized that many children in poor neighborhoods such as Mott Haven have been neurologically impaired, some because of low-weight prematurity at birth, some because of drug ingestion while in utero, and many from lead poison in their homes and also, shockingly enough, in their schools ...
" ... Many of the liberal intellectuals I know who are concerned with questions of unequal access to good secondary schools tend to focus more on inequalities that may be caused by our selection systems than on those that are engendered by environmental forces and are neurological in nature. In human terms, it's understandable that people would prefer to speak about examinations than about brain damage. There is a natural fear of the irrevocable in almost all of us; and, if we know some of the children in these neighborhoods and also know that hey have lived in lead-infested buildings, in an atmosphere where poisons of many different kinds, both physical and spiritual, are in the air, we do our best to shut these darker matters from our minds. It is less painful to speak of an unfair test than of brain damage since a test can someday the revised and given to a child again, but childhood cannot."
Yes, it is a time for rectification.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I hope this letter finds you in pleasant health and good spirits. Soon I will be retiring to the basement for a mid-morning bath and a clean towel, but afterward, we may meet in front of my redbud and await an afternoon of fun.
Now that you are keen to issues of food purity and personal health, I implore you to read the following article. It is no doubt lengthy, but I think you'll find it more than worthwhile.
Here's the article: