April 5th, 2008

in the soup

It was that kind of a day, I'm afraid

Junk Food Junkie

You know I love that organic cooking
I always ask for more
And they call me Mr. Natural
On down to the health food store
I only eat good sea salt
White sugar don't touch my lips
And my friends is always
Begging me to take them
On macrobiotic trips
Yes, they are
Oh, but at night I take out my strongbox
That I keep under lock and key
And I take it off to my closet
Where nobody else can see
I open that door so slowly
Take a peek up north and south
Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie
And I pop it in my mouth
Yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

Well, at lunchtime
You can always find me
At the Whole Earth Vitamin Bar
Just sucking on my plain white yogurt
From a hand-thrown pottery jar
And sippin' a little hand-pressed cider
With a carrot stick for dessert
And wiping my face
In a natural way
On the sleeve of my peasant shirt
Oh yeah
Ah, but when that clock strikes midnight
And I'm all by myself
I work that combination
On my secret hideaway shelf
And I pull out some Fritos corn chips
Dr. Pepper and a Ole Moon Pie
Then I sit back in glorious expectation
Of a genuine junk food high
Oh yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

My friends down at the commune
They think I'm pretty neat
Oh, I don't know nothing about arts and crafts
But I give 'em all something to eat
I'm a friend to old Euell Gibbons
And I only eat homegrown spice
I got a John Keats autographed Grecian urn
Filled up with my brown rice
Yes, I do
Oh, but folks lately I have been spotted
With a Big Mac on my breath
Stumbling into a Colonel Sanders
With a face as white as death
I'm afraid someday they'll find me
Just stretched out on my bed
With a handful of Pringles Potato Chips
And a Ding Dong by my head
In the daytime I'm Mr. Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me
-- Larry Groce

"School for Scandal?" The School IS the Scandal

Today is apparently the 25th anniversary of the publication of A Nation at Risk, which launched the school reform movement of the 1980s. I rode the crest of that wave into the ISU School of Education in 1986. When I departed with my doctorate five years later, the old guard had managed to claim the mantle of "school reform" for themselves and the same ol' same ol' that they had been advocating their entire careers.

A Nation at Risk argued that had a foreign power inflicted our public school system upon us, it would have been regarded as an act of war. Today, our schools are even worse than they were then. It has just been announced in a study published this week that the public school systems of the biggest 50 cities in the nation graduate only half of their entering freshmen. Detroit -- the worst offender -- graduates only a quarter of those entering high school. Indianapolis is not far behind.

Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg documents in his book Liberal Fascism much of what has motivated the public school industry for the last century. Educators fell in love with John Dewey, for one thing, who turned out to be pure philosophical poison. But Goldberg misses the larger point, perhaps because he only begins his story of Progressivism and its links to European Fascism around the turn of the Twentieth Century. In fact, the roots of Progressivism -- at least, in the case of public schools -- goes much further back.

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