You shall go to the ball
September 25, 2012 4:16 PM   Subscribe


 
"It really touched me. I can't believe that kids can be so mean and ruthless," said Champagne, 28, a nail tech at Whit's End Hair Studio. "In high school, everything means everything to you. You don't realize that none of it will matter after you leave."

Until you go to work for government or any company with more than 20 employees.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:24 PM on September 25, 2012


"It's like 'Carrie' with a happy ending."

Whoever wrote that little soundbite has obviously never read Stepenn King's original novel of Carrie, nor seen the Brian De Palma / Sissy Spacek film.

Important elements of the story required for this to be similar are *simply missing*.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:25 PM on September 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, like, is anyone in this story telekinetic or pyrokinetic or whatever? OBVIOUSLY NOT.
posted by kenko at 4:28 PM on September 25, 2012 [33 favorites]


It's strange that any person on the internet can buy a photo of the subject of the article.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 PM on September 25, 2012 [14 favorites]


"It's like 'Carrie' with a happy ending."

The blood is really just ketchup?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:28 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And people ask me, "You really don't want kids? How can you not want kids???"

Thanks for giving me yet another good answer, urbanwhaleshark.
posted by pla at 4:30 PM on September 25, 2012 [16 favorites]


The ending of Carrie wasn't happy?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:31 PM on September 25, 2012 [30 favorites]


The ending of Carrie wasn't happy?

I thought it was.
posted by Malice at 4:34 PM on September 25, 2012 [19 favorites]




So, who was responsible for organising this jolly jape? How are they doing right now? With this story going viral they must be absolutely terrified of being exposed.
posted by unliteral at 4:39 PM on September 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


In addition to a photo of the photo, you can also buy a tote bag, mouse pad, or keepsake box of it. Unless the cruelty of these classmates is severely exagerrated, it feels a little premature to declare a happy ending (although I'd love to be proven wrong).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:41 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does this happen a lot? Because it happened my freshman year, to a guy.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:41 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of missing the "happy ending" part as well. The whole thing still sounds kind of awful to me. All of the intentions here are great in terms of the support page and donation of goods and services, but I can't imagine that being treated as the town charity/sympathy case is going to improve her high school experience much (and may very well make it worse, real life rarely having the Afterschool Special ending where all of the kids who were mean to her realize the error of their ways).
posted by The Gooch at 4:49 PM on September 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


"The ending of Carrie wasn't happy?"

"I thought it was."


It's hard to put a price on fiery revenge upon those who mocked you.
posted by stifford at 4:50 PM on September 25, 2012 [33 favorites]


That happened in our school. I didn't vote for that shit, cuz, you know, fuck the jocks and all that, but they voted for this guy who was low on the social hierarchy, and I think there's a photo in the year book. He was a bit scrawny, and they basically took a photo of all the kings holding the queens, and of course all the jocks are buff and the girls are all tiny, and he gets put up with a girl who's a little heavier than the rest and he's, like a said, scrawny, so the photo in the yearbook is him trying hard to hold her up, and it's totally bullshit and meant to humiliate him.

That said, the little fucker was making faces at me in the 6th grade spelling bee (and I have no idea why they let those remedial kids in with us, and I fucking lost on the word Nebula. NEBULA OF ALL FUCKING WORDS FOR CHRIST'S SAKE) So on the one hand fuck the jocks, but on the other fuck him for being a dick in my moment of glory.

--------
But in all seriousness, I'm really glad that that town did that, and kudos for them showing that there's a heart in the world in some way. It's shit like that that makes me hate the power structure as it is, and if someone gets a little extra love for being picked on, I won't begrudge them that for one fucking bit. Take as much as you can, dear, because you've earned it with the shit you have to go through.
posted by symbioid at 4:51 PM on September 25, 2012


"It's like 'Carrie' with a happy ending."

The blood is really just ketchup?


And free french fries for everyone! Or sweet potato fries if you prefer! Everyone wins!
posted by filthy light thief at 4:52 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's hard to put a price on fiery revenge upon those who mocked you.

Sure, but Carrie also died pretty much right after, so it's not like she got to have her happy revenge for very long.

Even as a revenge fantasy it's not a very happy ending. (Plus only a handful of kids were actually involved in the "prank")
posted by wildcrdj at 4:54 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel slightly guilty that my first thought was "She looks like the John Hughes movie version of 'unpopular'." She just needs a pair of glasses to whisk off to reveal the inner beauty beneath. I have watched too much TV, obviously.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:57 PM on September 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


It says only a handful were involved... But if she won, that meant a *majority* of people voting were in on the 'prank', right?

Good on the adults in the town for stepping up, but that doesn't change who her peers are (or a majority of them, anyways).

I used to live in a small town, and the best part about it I remember was... Moving. (but yeah, kids are cruel everywhere and all, but rural America can be quite unforgiving to those that don't conform).
posted by el io at 5:00 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like Vigus, many won't be there for the football.

Clutching posters and wearing T-shirts that say "Team Whitney," they will cheer heartily at halftime as a slightly awkward teenage girl in a stunning red dress circles the field in a convertible.

A pariah in the harshest social system in the world — high school — she will be the center of attention on one of its most prominent stages.

Under the Friday night lights, she will shine the brightest of all, the biggest star of the evening.

This just in! Bad journalists can see into the future!
posted by mrnutty at 5:01 PM on September 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I am thinking that maybe quite a number of those votes could have been sincere.

When my husband was in high school in Colorado, the football players were the ones that voted for the homecoming court. Apparently the boys were tired of the perceived snootiness of the cheerleaders (who assumed they would be the ones who won) so the team voted instead for the less popular girls. Not as a prank but as a comeuppance. The girls were thrilled. According to Ralph it did wonders for their selfesteem.


Anyway, I figure this particular unkind prank was probably started by just a few ringleaders, who I imagine now will at least have the grace to leave this chick alone.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:10 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know where this doesn't happen? Anywhere in school where you have to be moderately skilled at something. For instance, you'll never hear about a prank vote for football captain, or valedictorian, or head of, say, the French club. The only time shit like this happens is when shits have a chance to vote on something completely meaningless and devoid of anything that one could argue requires skill, talent, etc.

So in addition to pointing fingers at the little shits that set this up, I have another idea: what if schools stop advocating stupid, meaningless elections that don't have any bearing on anything whatsoever?
posted by nushustu at 5:10 PM on September 25, 2012 [35 favorites]


So where were the principals and teachers during all this? I just watched a video of her being interviewed by a local news channel, and she says that she considered suicide because she was so ashamed and embarrassed -- good on her for bucking up against them! -- but then the newscaster said the school had no comments until they got more information. Seriously?
posted by Houstonian at 5:11 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, what is the school going to say? Besides, I would hope they would be handling things privately. (One can hope, right?)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:14 PM on September 25, 2012


Sure, but Carrie also died pretty much right after, so it's not like she got to have her happy revenge for very long.


I think you're forgetting the very end of Carrie. Like the end, end. Really, it's a story of hope and potential yet to be fulfilled.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:17 PM on September 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think you're forgetting the very end of Carrie. Like the end, end

But that was a dream...

An uplifting dream, maybe you mean?
posted by wildcrdj at 5:21 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh.

She's lovely. Look at her smile.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:25 PM on September 25, 2012


Yeah, I had mixed feelimgs about this story when I read it yesterday. But I want to think it's a positive overall.

But it reminded me of another little town of Up North Michigan where I've spent some time, Tawas. A few years ago I read an article about a gay kid there being harrassed in the HS. The school's solution? Not to punish the harrassers but to isolate him in separate classes.

OTOH I'm Olde, and I have to remind myself how much things have improved in addressing intolerance since "back in the day."
posted by NorthernLite at 5:28 PM on September 25, 2012


Good for her. I hope it all goes well and the ringleaders get their comeuppance.
posted by arcticseal at 5:34 PM on September 25, 2012


This is a nice story and all, but it'd be an even happier ending if Saginaw County would also lift its ban on dancing, if even just for one night.
posted by Flashman at 5:45 PM on September 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Kids fucking suck.
posted by starvingartist at 5:48 PM on September 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is a nice story and all, but it'd be an even happier ending if Saginaw County would also lift its ban on dancing, if even just for one night.

I think we just found the MeFite with a Bacon number of 0.
posted by The World Famous at 5:50 PM on September 25, 2012 [14 favorites]


This one time at high-school someone was mean to me. 12 year later. I honestly cannot remember who it was and I don't think about anyone or anything from that time period.

Whatever.
posted by Fizz at 5:52 PM on September 25, 2012


It's crucial that she's only a sophomore. That gives her time to adjust. This is not a happy ending, because it hasn't ended yet.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 5:53 PM on September 25, 2012


This seems kind of premature, since the damn thing hasn't actually happened yet.

All the bullying that happened to me happened in junior high, and I don't even remember the names of the bullies in question. My high school years were hellish, for reasons completely unconnected to bullying or my classmates. My classmates were generally decent (if clueless).
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:58 PM on September 25, 2012


You guys are lucky. I remember the names, faces, and tactics more than 20 years later.
posted by The World Famous at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


Pacific High School students in Missouri had a similar plan, only the target girl was mentally challenged. The plan was to egg her during the parade.

I really don't want to be the person who thinks people are horrible. But they are.
posted by shoesietart at 6:21 PM on September 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel slightly guilty that my first thought was "She looks like the John Hughes movie version of 'unpopular'." She just needs a pair of glasses to whisk off to reveal the inner beauty beneath. I have watched too much TV, obviously.


Wait till the local salon gets done with her, I'll bet some of the guys will suddenly be re-thinking their low opinion of her.

I never voted for any sort of thing like this (in general not as a prank) but IIRC I did propose "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" as a prom theme. My idea was not chosen, too bad, I might have went to prom if it had.
posted by MikeMc at 6:29 PM on September 25, 2012


I'm beating a dead horse in an act of hopeless pedantry, but at this point in "Carrie" things were looking pretty promising. It was AT homecoming that things went awry. If the whole school laughs at her and she turns out to be pyrokinetic and vengeful, what will Francis X. Donnelly of the Detroit News have to say then, huh?
posted by gingerest at 6:33 PM on September 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, totally. I bet this is all part of it - the whole town is in on it. Hell the Detroit News is probably in on it. Who likes those weirdos with the dyed hair anyway?
posted by Flashman at 6:37 PM on September 25, 2012


Oooh, story time!

I was voted Prom King, senior year of high school. Never worked out exactly why- I was not particularly popular, didn't get invited to parties, no girlfriend, you know the story. Basically like the girl in here. The difference was, it wasn't meant as a joke exactly- it was an awfully friendly one. Somebody took the decision to elect me and that was it. I wore a plastic crown, danced awkwardly with the prom queen, got briefly crowdsurfed, posed for pictures with people. Literally nothing bad happened, my friends and I had a good laugh, I came out of it with a ugly plastic crown and a few memories. I think my parents still have the damn crown somewhere.

(still no telekinetic powers though)
posted by BungaDunga at 6:53 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cute.

I was nominated for homecoming court as a prank when I was in high school.

I went ahead and recused myself before the final vote, though. 1) I suspected that it was a prank, given the titters in the classroom when it was announced, and more importantly 2) getting dressed up in something fancy, putting on makeup, having a fussy hairdo, and prancing around at a football game is just about the most unpleasant, awful thing I could imagine myself doing.

If this kid is into that whole shtick, then more power to her. I'm glad she's got folks on her side.
posted by phunniemee at 6:58 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys are lucky. I remember the names, faces, and tactics more than 20 years later.

c'monnn, are we really unlucky? how the hell am i supposed to exact my revenge if i don't remember names and faces?

*sharpens knives*
posted by twist my arm at 8:24 PM on September 25, 2012


1. Everyone hates you
2. Actually they hate you so much they all mockingly elect you prom queen
3. ???
4. Everyone loves you!!!
posted by threeants at 8:40 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, if a newspaper had described me as someone "with few friends" when I was 16, I might have literally, corporeally died.
posted by threeants at 8:41 PM on September 25, 2012 [15 favorites]


Until you go to work for government or any company with more than 20 employees.

If your workplace is worse than your highschool, you either went to a tremendously nice highschool or work in a gulag.

I've worked at some of the largest, and arguably most dysfunctional, employers in the world. I would easily take a Groundhog Day-style infinite repeat of my worst workday over my best day in highschool. I'm continually surprised that so many people, myself among them, actually survived.

Kudos to Ms Kropp, and I hope the prom thing works out for her, but she is sadly only about halfway through with the ordeal.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:29 PM on September 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


I used to be fairly famous in high school. Not popular per se, but because I was often really busy and active doing things people knew of my presence.

One time a teacher pulled me aside and said "they are not cheering for you. They are laughing at you.".

Even if she was right, I'm not sure that was the best thing to tell an already-lonely teenager who just came out of a couple of years of racist hell in primary school.
posted by divabat at 9:41 PM on September 25, 2012


I feel slightly vindicated, someone told me only old people know what Carrie is.

Detroitnews.com, surely up on all the newest stuff like tweeter and facepage, begs to differ!
posted by Ad hominem at 9:42 PM on September 25, 2012


Something similar happened to me--I was nominated as the girl in a "Cutest Couple" contest with a guy friend of mine. He was a Rush-loving, gangly math nerd, and I was even less hip. The twist was that he took it to heart, and since the couples were voted on by who got the most pennies, and you weren't limited to in-school voting, he got his father to collect "votes" at work (or hell, maybe his father just gave him a bunch of money and he got it changed in to pennies. funny, I had never thought of that before) and of course we won.

I was so humiliated to be called up to collect the plaque for fake Cutest Couple in front of the entire school that I STOMPED up to the gym stage and snatched the wooden heart, which someone had made in shop, from the principal. I am ashamed now at how I responded to this event. Since it involved someone more than just myself, I wish I could take back my piqué and been gracious, if only for Michael's sake. Michael, a sweet and awkward kid with a true gift for math and a full ride to a prestigious college, died of a brain tumor just a year out of high school.

Kids, and here I definitely include myself, are assholes.
posted by thebrokedown at 12:48 AM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm going to write an article about how this article is not news. Then I'll get The Detroit News to publish that article. ...Because apparently they publish things that are not news.
posted by dgaicun at 1:51 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something similar happened to me, too. Not in an Official Homecoming Court way, because we didn't have those, but an equally meaningless quasi-popularity-contest thing. And I think the first dance at our leaving party was dedicated to me or something? Weirdly, I don't think the kids behind it were actively trying to upset me - they were expecting me to laugh along, and I think they were just so used to thinking of me as a joke that it didn't occur to them I might not think of myself that way.

I hope Whitney has a good time and feels supported by all of this, but I think that much of this kind of support, however well-intentioned, would have just made me feel a huge amount worse. To lots of bullied kids, the bullying already feels sanctioned by the adults in their life at school when teachers look the other way; donating dresses and makeovers to her feels like the town is saying "we can't do anything about how vicious high school is, but maybe this'll make you feel better about it!" Yeah, she'll be out of there soon enough and her life will be a million times better, but schools don't have to be a gladiatorial arena of viciousness in the first place, and nobody should be spending their teenage years getting pointed and laughed at in the corridors for their very existence.
posted by Catseye at 4:58 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This outpouring of support seems more designed to make the town feel better about the awful kids it has raised, than to make Whitney feel better.
posted by graventy at 5:48 AM on September 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


For the homecoming dance Saturday, businesses will buy her dinner, take her photo, fix her hair and nails, and dress her in a gown, shoes and a tiara.

She's different so let's make her not different! That's what she needs. Also, high school is just the worst.
posted by HumanComplex at 6:48 AM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my mind, Carrie had a wonderful happy ending, where after destroying the high school, she and William Katt survived. The two stole John Travolta's car and went on the lam. William Katt changed his name and became a high-school teacher named Hinkley and found a superhero suit and then changed his name again to Henley and Carrie and The Greatest American Hero fought crime and conquered school bullies with their alien spacesuit and telekenitic powers. Connie Selecca I am still trying to think of a suitable role for, 'cause I liked her too. Oh, and as always, Robert Culp is free to do whatever he wants.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:45 AM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I figure this particular unkind prank was probably started by just a few ringleaders, who I imagine now will at least have the grace to leave this chick alone.

I think quite the opposite. Queen-bee teenage girls are not known for their "grace."

I feel slightly guilty that my first thought was "She looks like the John Hughes movie version of 'unpopular'." She just needs a pair of glasses to whisk off to reveal the inner beauty beneath.

Usually, though, that's how it actually is. Girls who aren't picture-perfect get mocked as being "ugly" for the smallest thing. I remember once in a high-school gym class, where the gym teacher was coordinating one-on-one foot races from one end of the room to the other for some reason, each time each pair of girls began their sprint from one end of the room to the other, if one of the girls was one of the "out crowd" the popular girls would all start singing a jingle from a Jello commercial - "Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle....." and then start laughing. They did so when I went up as well.

I had no clue what was going on and a friend had to explain to me that they were singing it because they were implying that we were fat and the fat was jiggling as we ran. Which made no sense in my case, because I was about 95 pounds soaking wet when I was in high school. But I was uncool, and the way to imply I was uncool was to imply I was ugly, and so that was that. The girls who get singled out as being "ugly" often aren't actually ugly, it's just the favorite weapon the popular girls like to use.

And as for the town rallying -- you know, the one thing that I wished someone had done for me when I was a target of the junior high bullies was speak up for me. Just one person to either reach in and pull me away from them, one person to let me know they were on my side, one person who seemed like they even gave a good god-damn about me and thought I didn't deserve this and that the way the mean girls were treating me was fucked-up and wrong. I FINALLY got that after about two months, but I know exactly how many other girls saw me during those two months when it was going on and I have no idea why no one said anything earlier, because god-DAMN it would have helped. This girl got her entire damn town to say "you know what, what these girls did to you sucked; you don't deserve that, and we're gonna make this right."

We'll see what spin the mean girls put on this, though. Let's see what happens the day of.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:43 AM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ugh, Queen Bees. I am reading "Queen Bees and Wannabes" right now and having trouble getting through it as a parent -- God help kids these day.

--

"When a child turns 12, he should be kept in a barrel and fed through the bung hole, until he reaches 16 ... at which time you plug the bung hole."
- Mark Twain
posted by wenestvedt at 8:51 AM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the early 70s, my high school had an entrenched tradition of bestowing student-voted "awards". These were thinly veiled humiliations, as when "Big Woman on Campus" was chosen due to the recipient's breast size. One of the worst was "sexiest walk," which in my senior year went to a slightly swishy guy. Everyone seems to have recovered--the latter is now the village Mayor--but the school had the good sense to shut the thing down a few years later. Something which began as fun had become an excuse to be cruel. Sadly, far too many kids will be mean if given the opportunity.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:28 AM on September 26, 2012


Under the Friday night lights, she will shine the brightest of all, the biggest star of the evening.

And all those kids who previously saw her as a figure of fun will now really despise her.
posted by Decani at 10:39 AM on September 26, 2012


Can we get her favorite actor/actress to come to town to be her date at Homecoming and turn this into the greatest Based-On-A-True-Story After School Specials evar made?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:48 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It says only a handful were involved... But if she won, that meant a *majority* of people voting were in on the 'prank', right?

I'm guessing it required a plurality, not a majority; at least at my school we had several candidates.

In the early 70s, my high school had an entrenched tradition of bestowing student-voted "awards"

My school had these awards as well (I think they're pretty common), but they were all played pretty straight up. The bookish girl (and myself) got "Most studious," the popular kids got most popular, etc. Now they did give "most improved" to a girl who had started sophomore year, and "most talkative" to an aspergery guy who didn't seem to realize that he was talking and people weren't listening, but in fairness he was very talkative.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:43 PM on September 26, 2012


they did give..."most talkative" to an aspergery guy who didn't seem to realize that he was talking and people weren't listening, but in fairness he was very talkative.

My brother (who has Aspergers) "won" a similar award two years running when he was in high school. This was around 30 years ago, so before the days when knowledge of and sensitivity to the symptoms of Aspergers were as common as they are today, but in hindsight still seems unnecessarily cruel. He was really embarrassed to be bestowed this "honor".
posted by The Gooch at 2:58 PM on September 26, 2012


I have a hard time not seeing everything through the filter of the current race for POTUS. This story made me think, "There are a lot more Obamas than Romneys in the world, and they always win in the end." My opinion of Romney will be forever tainted by the story of his prep-school bullying of an effeminate young man.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:40 PM on September 26, 2012


My brother (who has Aspergers) "won" a similar award two years running when he was in high school.

My nephew who is in high school in a small city in New Mexico is very Asperger-like, but his classmates support and accept him for who he is. It helps that he is exceptionally friendly and interesting in his obsessions (dinosaurs and model trains, including Thomas the Tank Engine), but it makes me smile to see him surrounded by his friends, boys and girls, attractive and average alike. Makes me want to kiss every one of them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:44 PM on September 26, 2012


Does this happen a lot? Because it happened my freshman year, to a guy.

Some bozos did this to a friend of mine my Junior year, and it really pissed me off. D. was not attractive physically, not even a little bit, and he was super nerdy. People made fun of him for that. So they voted for him for Homecoming King to be a bunch of dicks.

Bless him, he took it all in stride, played along, and had a great time in spite of the assholes. The thing with D. was that for all his outer unattractiveness, the person he actually was, was amazing. He was sweet-natured, kind, wicked smart, and so...forgiving. People actually apologized to him later.

I have no problems saying that if either of my boys had acted like that, I would have snatched 'em bald-headed, and made their lives MISERABLE until I was satisfied that they weren't going to be such dickfaces ever again.
posted by MissySedai at 5:04 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So this has ostensibly happened, any word on how it went?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 AM on October 1, 2012


It went well - Bullied girl Whitney Kropp shines at homecoming game.
posted by unliteral at 5:03 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It went well - Bullied girl Whitney Kropp shines at homecoming game.

Hooray for Whitney (and all the other confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse)!
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:33 PM on October 1, 2012


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