Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Constitution applies to all Americans, not just those 18 and over!

I'm not exactly sure when it happened but sometime in the last ten or fifteen years, schools have morphed from educator to parent/police agency. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, this didn't happen overnight. Schools in this country slowl turned up the heat a little at a time until eventually they had the kids and their parents right where they wanted them and nobody even realized it until it was too late. I don't have to ask why, rather I'm sure it began the moment parents stopped being parents and forced the schools to take over raising their children. After all, that's how zero tolerance came to be.  In the old days, teachers used their best judgment to decide how to handle a situation but somewhere along the way came the idea of zero tolerance which essentially took the responsibility for rational common-sense decision making away from the teachers and replaced it with across-the-board black and white policies without regard or each unique situation. As we all know, zero tolerance is easier because it requires no thought and no accountability for one's actions. 

Now on to the reason I'm pissed off today. This story about the violation of a twelve year old girl's Constitutional rights at Minnewaska Area Middle School in Minnesota angers me. 

School officials took it upon itself to force a child to give up her facebook and email passwords so they could get into her private account and view posts she'd put up on her facebook wall. The first post was allegedly saying she hated one of the hall monitors. After she was punished for that, she posted again on her facebook asking who turned her in and used a curse word, after which she was punished  again by the school, for that offense.  The third punishment from the school came after another child's guardian complained to the school that this child allegedly talked about sex on facebook with the guardian's child. 

Let it be known that none of the facebook posts were threatening or violent in nature and it should be noted that the posts were made from her own private computer in her parents home. Also, the child's parents were not contacted in advance for permission to enter her facebook and email accounts. Essentially a child made posts from her own private computer to her own private facebook account and the school, not the parents, punished her for it.

According to the article I linked to, "The girl was called to a meeting with a deputy sheriff, school counselor and an unidentified school employee, the court documents states."

A deputy sheriff? For non-threatening, harmless facebook posts? Are you serious?  Think about it, when you were twelve years old, would have cracked under pressure from a cop? Yeah I think you and I both would have cracked in a heartbeat.

The First Amendment protects all Americans, not just adults in regards to free speech. So what if that kid hates her hall monitor? It's her right to hate her and the hall monitor will just have to suck it up. You can't be liked by everyone. Did the kid say she wanted to kill her? No. She said she hated her. Hell I hated a lot of people when I was twelve years old, thank goodness I'm not twelve now, because with as many people I hated, they would've locked my ass up for life.

The Fourth Amendment protects all Americans, not just adults, from unreasonable search. The school officials had no business intimidating this child (especially using police to do it) into releasing her password and entering her account. If they thought the student had said something threatening, they had a responsibility to contact law enforcement authorities and the parents. Neither was done because there was no suspicion of threats. If they were upset by the child's actions, the parents should have been contacted and any discipline in this case should have been left to the parents, not the school.

If Facebook had existed when I was twelve years old in 1980 and I had talked about something inappropriate with another kid while using it, the parent of that child would have called my parents, had a discussion and I would have been punished by my parents. In those days the schools had better things to do like educate me and the rest of my generation, they didn't have time to police what I did at home or worry about whether or not I hated one or all of my teachers, hall monitors or whoever. Hell, I could hate the entire school if I wanted to, so long as I shut my mouth and did my classwork, my teachers were happy. (In fact when I was in fifth grade, I called my sister's fourth-grade teacher a red-headed witch and not to her face, but someone heard me and reported it. My parents were promptly notified by school officials and my mom washed my mouth out with soap when I got home from school that day. Now while the taste of Irish Spring still haunts me to this day, the school did the right thing, as did my mom.)

In 2012 it seems we live in a police state. You can't send your kid to school because instead of getting an education they're going to be hauled to the principal's office, threatened and intimidated, and then disciplined for things they say or do at home. Doesn't the school system in this country have anything better to do? We've got kids in high school who can't read above a fourth-grade level and they can't do enough simple math to get into a local community college and we're worried about them writing on facebook that they hate their hall monitors? 


I'm waiting for the day when schools begin requiring students to report their parents activities at home. Maybe then people will start to take notice of the seriousness of this situation.

Gone are the days when kids didn't have to worry about the government trampling all over their Constitutional rights. Forget the notion of your kids learning about freedom and liberty when they get to college because they need to understand it now. Parents need to sit their kids down at a reasonable age and explain to them their rights and what it means to live in a free nation. Kids need to understand the importance of those rights and the sacrifices made to defend them. Parents need to explain to their kids what to do if school officials or anyone else attempt to intimidate, threaten or harass them. No child should ever have to be subject to something like this and any kind of questioning should require a parent present at all times.

Last I checked the Constitution applies to all Americans, not just those 18 and over. Since there are individuals working in our public school system who have forgotten that, it's up to the rest of us to remind them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Exactly how many different types of [H]ouse, M.D. fans are out there?

I needed a break so I decided to write this after being inspired by two individuals I know. One gal is very upset about the way the direction of the series and what it has become and the other is on cloud nine and thinks it's absolutely great.  I like them both and so I don't think either of them is right or wrong.

How do I feel?

This show has been my favorite for years, I love the performances of Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein and Robert Sean Leonard. Hugh and Robert are amazing together but damn I miss Lisa Edelstein too. Lisa, Hugh and Robert were so great together, they were what I called the "triumvirate."  Hugh and Lisa's great friendship and working relationship was reflected in the perfection they created onscreen, making their scenes seem to flow smoothly and effortlessly.  Both Cuddy and Wilson were an essential part of who House is, without that he seems incomplete. I also miss the original team of Cameron, Foreman and Chase. I've always thought Jesse, Omar and Jennifer were terrific in their roles and the relationship between their characters Chase, Foreman and Cameron and House nothing short of brilliant!

I loved House and his clinic patients. I miss tough as nails administrator Cuddy telling House "no!".   I miss compassionate Cameron. I miss Foreman as part of the team. I miss Kutner who I thought was much like House. I'm not a big fan of Thirteen. I don't like the "new" team with Adams and Park. I didn't like the Taub baby mama thing. I hate that everything seemed to go completely out of whack in mid Season 7. There were so many missed opportunities and dropped storylines. I would very much like to see Lisa E be part of the retrospect and the finale. She gave so much to the show both on and offscreen and longtime House fans believe she should be a part of the end of this journey.

All that and still I watch. Why?

Well, I've been on this journey so long I have to see it through to its end. I can't explain it, it's just something I feel and yes I am conflicted at times between my feelings of wanting to see it play out and my anger over the direction things have taken. One wanting to see it through doesn't mean one likes what's happened. I just have to compartmentalize! I can enjoy watching Hugh play his character while still missing Lisa's presence. Also, I can still love the character Gregory House but not love the direction Shore has taken him. I don't know how else to explain how I feel about this. I know many disagree and I'm okay with that. There's this mode of thinking right now in the fandom that we have to either feel one way or the other, but not a little of both and I find that assumption very wrong.

Alas, it is what it is and all I can do is remember all the good times I've had over the years and appreciate all the laughter and tears, the comedy and drama, all the memorable moments and the great people I've met--both fans as well as cast and crew associated with the show. I can't ignore what's happened this past year but I can remember the good times that took place before it all changed. many types of House fans are out there?  Which fits you? One? More than one?

1) Fans who absolutely love the show no matter what has happened in the last two seasons. These are the people who praise the writers and David Shore relentlessly because they truly believe they've given us greatness.

2) Fans who were okay with everything up to 7x15 but then just really upset by the way the breakup was handled, however they continue to watch because they love the character House so much they just don't know how to quit him. This does not however mean they approve of the direction of the show/character nor that they approve of the loss of one of the essential cast members of the show.

3) Fans who believe that Cuddy was an essential part of the show and with her departure stopped watching altogether and are upset that both Cuddy and House's characters were written in such a way that would bring the show to this point that they have to turn it off.

4) Fans who are angry at Hugh Laurie for Lisa's departure, blaming him in some aspects for not doing enough (re: network) to keep her there.

5) Fans who hate Lisa Edelstein and think that her character was a waste of time and completely nonessential and detracted from the show's greatness.

6) Fans who love the show but are upset that the dynamic of House/Cuddy and House/Wilson/Cuddy has been destroyed. These fans believe that both Wilson and Cuddy add important dimensions to House's character and without one of them, his character is unbalanced.

7) Fans who think that the show began to lose its luster after the original team left in Season 3.

8) Fans who are upset with the direction of the show since Season 6 and the Lucas-Cuddy arc.

9) Fans who were okay with the breakup but not happy with the way it was handled in that episode and in subsequent episodes.

10) Fans who did not want House and Cuddy together and were upset that House and Cuddy were thrown into a romantic relationship because it detracted from the focus of the show.

11) Fans who did not mind a romantic relationship between House and Cuddy BUT only if it was played right. These fans wanted two screwed up people, in character with arguments, banter, sexual tension and such at work and home BUT without it becoming the focus of every episode, as doing this would essentially do what TPTB PROMISED they would not do--which essentially was blow them up and the show to where it is right now.

12) Fans who think the Cuddy character was essentially "out of character" since Season 6. (First ignoring House's mental illness, then dating Lucas, allowing Lucas to actually cause physical harm to House, and then once becoming House's girlfriend she was reduced to a whining boring girlfriend rather than the lovable tough as nails administrator who kicks his ass to keep him in line).

13) Fans who think Olivia Wilde has been given way too much attention/storylines for her character.

14) Fans who think that it's ridiculous that Foreman was made Dean of Medicine.

15) Fans who think House-Wilson should be endgame.

16) Fans who think Odette Annable and Charlene Yi's characters stink and add absolutely NOTHING to the show.

17) Fans who think Taub's storyline of two baby mamas was just ridiculous.

18) Fans who are angry that House would be written as someone who would run his car into Cuddy's home. This seemed incredibly out of character to the point they can't ever go back.

19) Fans who love the "How" but not the "What" for example they love the way Hugh, Lisa, Bob portray their characters (because they like the actors) but not happy with how the characters were written and the direction they took. These fans are often conflicted and forced to defend their positions.

20) Fans who think that you cannot possibly like how H/W/C are/were played while at the same time not like they way they were written.

21) Fans who are angry at the ridiculous stunts used in the show like hookers, strippers, monster trucks, dream sequences and dance numbers.

22) Fans who think that the addition of Dominika, who was not supposed to return (per David Shore) was stupid and added zero value to the House story.

23) Fans who think Chase is underutilized.

24) Fans who are bitter that Cameron left.

25) Fans who are upset that David Shore is revisiting things he said he would not revisit and not revisiting things he said he would.

25) Fans who are still pissed off (and rightly so) over the way Greg Yaitanes taunted and tricked the fans of the House-Cuddy dynamic. These fans are also ticked that the PR people as well as David Shore did not reign him in.

26) Fans who are still pissed off that David Shore attempted to downplay the seriousness car crashing into the home by asserting that House knew Rachel wasn't there. 

27) Fans who believe House could crash his car into Cuddy's home because he was losing his mind, but who are upset that House "seemed" so without remorse in the prison episodes.

28) Fans who believe House has a heart and does feel guilt and remorse for so much he's done and they want to see it.

29) Fans who are upset that for every step House takes forward, he takes two back. These are the fans who root for House and want him to finally have something good in this life. These fans know he's going to be a miserable son of a bitch but they also have hope for him.

30) Fans who are upset over the possibility that Cuddy may not return for the finale.

31) Fans who think Lisa Edelstein must be part of the retrospect episode because she was a VITAL part of the show for 7 years, but worried she won't be there.

32) Fans who think more attention has been paid in recent years to personal relationships than the medical mysteries.

33) Fans upset over TPTB's portrayal of women---in that intelligent women like Cuddy, Cameron and Thirteen eventually reduced to whining, brooding, emotional, hormonal pieces of eye candy and all other women are portrayed as strippers and hookers. These fans also tend to believe Odette Annable was added to the show in the last season to meet the eye candy needs of the 18-49 male audience.

34) Fans who believe David Shore is totally and completely disconnected from the fans.

35) Fans who believe that much of the writing throughout the series has been phenomenal.

36) Fans who believe #35 but at the same time not happy about how that writing was put into action.

37) Fans concerned with the lack of continuity and consistency (when it is expressed to TPTB, it is subsequently downplayed with TPTB telling fans not to pay attention to details--in a show that is all about details!) Examples include (but not limited because there's SO many!) two names for Cuddy's sister, (which was later rectified after fan backlash!),  House having three birthdays, Cuddy taking enough Zolpidem in one dose that would kill a small army, inconsistencies in Cuddy's age throughout the series, no clarity on where House actually received his medical degree, throwing in a surprise six-day marriage for Cuddy in 1987 with absolutely NO follow up, ignoring House's history of his emotional and physical abuse as a child, ignoring the Wilson's brother storyline, pairing the intelligent, sassy, intimidating and aggressive Cuddy with a milquetoast lapdog like Lucas, the lack of follow up over the years with House and his mother, having House and Thomas Bell share TWO identical birthmarks in two identical locations on the body but eventually disclosing they are indeed NOT biologically related, and inconsistency in regards to histories and relationships between characters.

So who didn't I cover? Feel free to comment and include anything I missed!

My motto for today?