Dark time had finally fallen yesterday evening, which as all good parents know is when your children must go to bed and therefore is considered one of the most special parts of the day. (It will be really special in a few weeks when the clocks change and dark time starts at 5 pm!) Having finally gotten all the children strapped into their beds (don’t judge me), I was finally able to sit down for a minute and relax with some mindless television.
At first I turned on some news channels where some really life-like robots were recounting the day’s news and offering their opinions on the state of the nation, when I realized that I had just spent an entire day refereeing he said/she said arguments among teens and the prospect of listening to adults do the same thing was unappealing.
So, I turned the channel to a re-run of Glee. This show is the new incarnation of Dawson’s Creek in that it involves highly articulate “teens” acting out teenage dramas with adult subtext. What sets Glee apart from every other show of course is Jane Lynch (“Sue Sylvester”), who is a role model for educators everywhere. Incidentally, I understand if many educators have a hard time watching this show. Seeing people act out the roles of teenagers as if they were articulate and witty people capable of one-liners and entire sentences devoid of “likes,” “ums,” and “you knows” can be extremely upsetting to those of us who work with the real thing every day.
I noticed a curious thing while I was watching the show and that was that the school they attend has the usual nondescript warrior poised to strike a killing blow as their mascot. I don’t know (and can’t be bothered to look up) what their mascot is, but I’m willing to bet that they are the Fighting Somethings. Understand that the school the Glee students attend is a place where the faculty and student body is likely to break into choreographed song and dance numbers at any moment; are these people really the Fighting Anythings? What kind of fighting do they specialize in, exactly? Dance battles?
As I started thinking about it, the vast majority of our high schools in this country have chosen either fearsome beasts or murderous historical figures as their mascots? Are these really the appropriate images that we should be encouraging our future generations to rally around? What kind of subtext are we providing these students with such things?
My own school’s mascot is the Patriot. Do we depict the founding fathers wielding their pens as they sign our nation’s most important documents? No, our image is of an enlisted Revolutionary War soldier with a rifle and bayonet. It just strikes me as odd that institutions that are purportedly concerned with educating our youth to be the responsible citizens of tomorrow would be asked to associate with such images.
On the other hand, perhaps the subtext is perfect and what we’re trying to prepare our students for is the idea that the world is a battlefield full of monsters who are more than willing to gun you down in order to get ahead. If that’s the case, then it is pretty obvious that I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the storylines of Glee, because I wasn’t getting that at all!