This
November 3, 2000 5:39 PM   Subscribe

This is unusual. Discuss.
posted by black8 (22 comments total)
 
I love that kid! While most forms of protest offend me, I think this is perfect. The crown in the dirt is a beautiful image. I wonder what brought him to the point where he was voted king? It reminds me of when I was in High School and one of the nerf herders from my AP class was elected class president as a joke. I refused to vote for such things when I was in High school.
posted by thirteen at 5:56 PM on November 3, 2000


The school principal indicated that the senior “disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.”

Awww...isn't that just AWFUL?!?

Reinstate the kid, who seems to have good sense in everything but haircuts, and fire the principal and any other tradition nazis that had a hand in this travesty.
posted by rushmc at 5:57 PM on November 3, 2000


Where does it mention his haircut?
posted by thirteen at 6:00 PM on November 3, 2000


Godwin.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 6:10 PM on November 3, 2000


Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing unusual about cryptic link text on MetaFilter.
posted by harmful at 6:14 PM on November 3, 2000


Thread on this article at Slashdot, for the interested parties (all 6 of you.)
posted by hijinx at 6:14 PM on November 3, 2000


Where does it mention his haircut?

Sorry, I can't seem to find the article I saw last night about this. It simply said in passing that he had a mohawk.
posted by rushmc at 6:25 PM on November 3, 2000


hey, *I* have a mohawk. what's senseless about that?

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 8:23 PM on November 3, 2000


C'mon, Crack, you know that invoking Godwin explicitly takes all the sting out of it...

Gee; we're starting to get inside jokes here; just like a.f.u. Cool.

I'm finally an Old Hat!
posted by baylink at 8:27 PM on November 3, 2000


hey, *I* have a mohawk. what's senseless about that?

The opposite of "sensible" isn't necessarily "senseless," rcb. (Dammit, why won't it post it when I grin?!?)
posted by rushmc at 8:27 PM on November 3, 2000


I think the school administrators are being ostrich-headed nitwits here, which is to say they're acting in a fairly normal manner for school administrators.

“There are many opportunities for any student to express dissatisfaction at Mira Costa,” [Superintendent Davis] said.

Yeah, I'll bet there were many opportunities to express dissatisfaction that the school would have preferred - and exactly zero chance that using any of them would have accomplished anything but making Griffiths an object of ridicule. The only reason his stunt made an impact is that it was disruptive and visibly defiant. He could have lobbied against homecoming for the duration of his high school career without having any fraction of the effect five seconds' worth of reflex did.

“They martyred me,” Griffiths said. “Which was a great thing.”

The kid knows his politics.

If the administrators had been thinking, they would have laughed his protest off and moved on. The whole thing would have been a minor footnote. By suspending him they only legitimized his complaint, got him even broader attention, and probably made him look even cooler in the eyes of the other students. Who doesn't root for the gutsy outsider, sticking it to the system?

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:07 PM on November 3, 2000


Was the kid honestly trying to effect change, or does he just want attention? Hopefully someday popularity contests in schools with go the way of hazing. It's always been wrong and stupid since before I did my time in the early 80s. However, the reason why social politics still exist in high schools and colleges across the country is because people participate in them.

By accepting nomination, this kid was perpetuating it. If he felt strongly about this, he shouldn't have gone for the crown at all. Instead, he played along until all eyes were on him and then put it in the dirt after he was announced the winner. This is not the indication of a person who has a conscience and a heart and wants to effect change. He wanted attention. This is a temper tantrum; not a sacrifice. This is immaturity, not rebellion.

It was not just cause for the principal to punish the student in any way. However, it's also not worth giving this kid 15 seconds of fame. They shoulda picked up the crown, dusted it off, and given it to the first runner up, without any further reference or allusion to the sore winner. If the kid wants to make a statement, he can do it on his own time and money. The school only makes him a martyr by acknowledging that it bugged them at all.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:44 AM on November 4, 2000


We can debate whether the style of his protest was correct. But let's separate style from content (hey, haven't we discussed this before on a *different* subject?).

If people would start to look at protest in a positive manner (what it teaches and how to be most effective, for starters) something really important could be learned by all. This is especially true for high school students, who are just starting to form intelligent, adult thoughts.

Of course, there's no accounting for adults, higher up on the food chain, who don't "get it."

On a tangential note, when it came time to vote for "the most popular" this person or that in my high school, I looked at the list and decided the only one I had a chance for was "most pessimistic." I won by telling everyone I was sure I wasn't going to get it.

One of the biggest compliments I have received in recent memory was that someone at work told me I was an optimist (and I work for the federal government!). I guess people can evolve! -g
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 5:20 AM on November 4, 2000


This is immaturity, not rebellion.

I disagree. It seems to me that he was protesting many of the same things that the lads at Columbine were, and I find his chosen method of protest far more mature, well-reasoned, and effective than theirs.

I think this demonstrates yet another case where the authority-for-authority's-sake freaks (who run most of our schools) demonstrate their antipathy to free speech and student rights. Anyone who refuses to just shut up and endure whatever crap is given them to endure in school is labelled a troublemaker and condemned, abused, and increasingly, exiled. I maintain that it is any person's right (and probably responsibility) to try to right a wrong when they come across it. Even in public school.

Someone has to.
posted by rushmc at 10:19 AM on November 4, 2000


ZachsMind:
By accepting nomination, this kid was perpetuating it. If he felt strongly about this, he shouldn't have gone for the crown at all. Instead, he played along until all eyes were on him and then put it in the dirt after he was announced the winner. This is not the indication of a person who has a conscience and a heart and wants to effect change. He wanted attention. This is a temper tantrum; not a sacrifice. This is immaturity, not rebellion.

I disagree. This is the indication of a person who understands public relations and the effective making of one's point. He only had a chance to speak because he was nominated. Had someone else won, do you think anyone would have cared what his opinion was? They would have explained his dissatisfaction away as envy and being a poor loser. Only by winning the crown could he gain the credibility necessary to trash it.

Of course he wanted attention. Your message goes nowhere until people notice you. It's an essential part of activism.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2000


It seems to me that this kid willfully sabotaged an event that a lot of people invested a lot of energy in ... how do you think his actions made the rest of the homecoming court feel?

Although I was no more the alpha-male social leader in high school than most other MeFians, I know that I would wanted seriously disciplinary action to have been taken against someone who willfully and by deceptive means sabotaged some effort of mine and my friends.

Just a for instance, drama was certainly the anti-sports at my high school, but, every so often, a jock-popular crowd type would audition for and win a part and for the period of time would collaborate with the drama kids.

Would it have been right for him to walk downstage at the most important moment of the play, for which people had auditioned, rehearsed, built sets, etc., and said to all the parents and friends in the audience, "You all should be ashamed for thinking there's anything worthwhile in these geeks, lardasses, and pizzafaces in drama"?

No difference, no difference at all.

Bottom line: school administrators do and should enforce some baseline standards of civility; failing to do so will hurt the least powerful far more than anyone else.
posted by MattD at 5:22 PM on November 4, 2000


Bottom line: school administrators do and should enforce some baseline standards of civility...

I think the key question is, at what point does civility become conformity?

I think it is something of an overstatement to suggest that he "sabotaged" the homecoming event. If everyone had simply acknowledged his statement and continued on with their celebration, as has been suggested here, it might well have enriched the occasion rather than sabotaging it.

Change does not necessarily equal damage.
posted by rushmc at 6:26 PM on November 4, 2000


Conformity is evil. The jerk kid shouldn't have been punished in any way, but then this whole homecoming crap thing shouldn't be allowed to exist. Yet there it still is.

Mars said, "Of course he wanted attention. Your message goes nowhere until people notice you. It's an essential part of activism." This is why the whole Practice Random Kindness movement became little more than a passing fad, and is essentially what is inherently wrong with humanity. From the moment we exit the womb and make noise, scrambling for something to suckle on, we crave attention. It's the one thing we never grow out of.

MattD asked, "how do you think his actions made the rest of the homecoming court feel?" Who gives an expletitive? I avoided the whole social circle thing in high school like the plague. Why? The whole social popular fashionable chicken pecking order of our society is fake and belittling and demeaning to the human spirit. I didn't know how to word that when I was fifteen. I just knew it felt wrong, and I felt sorry for the perfect happy people who smiled face to face and then whispered and conspired against one another when they thought no one was looking. Why? So they could win these stupid contests or get more people to like them at the expense of making a fellow perfect happy person appear less perfect and happy. Made me sick. Every day. The best thing to do was duck and dodge and avoid it and wait to graduate. And NOW you're saying I should actually CARE what those idiots thought? Or that I should have played their game so I could grab their cardboard crown of gold from the lofty podium just to smash it on the ground? Dash their hopes and dreams and their little fantasy world? I didn't want them to force me to play their pathetic games. Why should I force them to see the world my way? To win that crown, the kid had to play their game, which means he became one of them.

Fifteen years ago hazing began to be questioned. Today it's not as prevalent as it was decades ago. We finally understand now why there were so many "Aggie" jokes. Because in many ways they have always taken hazing too far, as a form of conformity and a way of conservatively controlling their kind, and separating themselves from those who are not Aggie. Spit on the lot of 'em. They're no different from any of us. They're no more or less special, while simultaneously they are each incredibly unique and special. We humans keep getting this all backwards. Working together should always be a conscious decisioin, made with concerted effort because we WANT to. The desire to explore one's own individuality and uniqueness should be the initial reflex action. Yet some people in society are constantly trying to mold and shape human souls into the exact opposite; conform instinctively and deny your uniqueness. "Normality" should be the curseword of this society. Yet instead we use terms of excrement and procreation - actions that we cannot help for the very fact that they are inherently mandatory as human beings - as curses.

Maybe that's it? Deep down human beings hate what they truly are, and must incessantly create these obnoxious social circles where we somehow convince other people to show affection and appreciation for us, sometimes even at the expense of hurting others who are different?

I am to applaud this jerk kid for working within the system in hopes of changing it? All he should get is hosed down cuz he's just as unclean as the rest of them, and just as inconsiderate of his Fellow Man. He's a hypocrite.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:57 AM on November 5, 2000


I am to applaud this jerk kid for working within the system...

I agree with most of your rant, but it seems to me an unwarranted assumption that this guy sold out his values when going undercover with the group whose values he disagreed with (kinda sounds like the plot of the first season of Wiseguy, eh? heh). I see no proof of that in any of the articles I've read.

In fact, while I realize things may have changed somewhat since I graduated from high school ('85), back then at least it would have been virtually impossible for a guy with a mohawk to break into the inner circle of social elites. Nevermind the barriers created by whatever other observable signs of individuality and nonconformity this guy surely displayed.
posted by rushmc at 9:50 AM on November 5, 2000


I wish I could quote a source for this, but I can't find it...however, a lot of you have missed a major piece of info here. This kid wasn't running for the title. It's not like he was running for class president -- rather, his fellow students decided that he would be homecoming king, whether he wanted the title or not.

So, ZachsMind...what do you think now?
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:37 PM on November 5, 2000


Would it have been right for him to walk downstage at the most important moment of the play, for which people had auditioned, rehearsed, built sets, etc., and said to all the parents and friends in the audience, "You all should be ashamed for thinking there's anything worthwhile in these geeks, lardasses, and pizzafaces in drama"?

The difference, of course, is that there is indeed something worthwhile about drama, whereas homecoming popularity/beauty contests are evil, plain and simple.



posted by straight at 7:54 AM on November 6, 2000


CrayDrygu: his fellow students decided that he would be homecoming king, whether he wanted the title or not.


But there's a known nomination process. The point of the administrators is that he could've asked to be removed from the balot, and made his point that way, rather than the demonstration he chose.

I was never one for proms, let alone kings and queens, in school, and was quite happy to let the people who were interested in it do their thing, while I sat in the computer labs and did my thing.

I don't know. I don't think a suspension was necessary, suspensions seem to be tossed about more than detentions were when I was in high school (6 years ago? maybe 7? I don't feel like subtracting :-), and a lot of suspensions are making big news. For a few days at least.

Detentions would've reprimanded him without seriously impacting his future. Better yet, the school could open some form of debate about it. Use the school newspaper for something more interesting than Spirit Rally News. Provide a place for the students to express their feelings on the whole deal, rather than dropping an anvil to solve problems.
posted by cCranium at 8:15 AM on November 6, 2000


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