Janna Bush's homework
December 21, 2000 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Janna Bush's homework is funny on so many levels:
  1. This is college-level work in Texas?
  2. People in Texas think that people in Harlem attend dances at the VFW?
  3. Dubya's daughter, having been sent to a state school to bolster dad's political image as a down-home Texan even though she could surely have legacy'd at Yale as he did (and Skull & Bones admits women now!), is getting just the sort of politically correct education that her father's cohort reviles.

posted by nicwolff (38 comments total)
If this is really Dubya's kid, then it IS hilarious. Well, actually, it's pretty funny regardless.

Well, since she got stuck with her daddy's brains, I hope she at least got her mom's looks.
posted by Optamystic at 5:03 PM on December 21, 2000

Oh man. 4 years.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:09 PM on December 21, 2000

Actually, most studies I've heard about on genetic influence on intelligence seem to indicate that intelligence is largely inherited from one's mother.
posted by kindall at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2000

Give her a friggin' break, she's a freshman. Did any of you make fun of Chelsea Clinton's coursework? And point #3 just makes no sense. WTF?
posted by gyc at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2000

four years of ripping on bush and people around him. too easy, and i'm tired of it already.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:34 PM on December 21, 2000

Give her a friggin' break, she's a freshman.

Fuck, no. I was writing stories like that at the age of 14. If this is a testament to, um, the retrograde effect of the US high school system, well, I can only pity you.

(And yeah, I sat in on Herself's Honors classes at UGA, and was frankly fucking embarrassed to be there.)

But what's interesting about the essay, whoever it's by, is that the basic premise is flawed in an intriguing way. Yeah, there are no black heroes/heroines in fairy-tales, mainly because most of them originate from pale ol' Mitteleurope. But if you read Andersen and Grimm, you find a really strong social critique in the tales that gets excised from the Disneyfied versions. (Ever read "The Red Shoes"? That story scared the hell out of me as a kid.) Yeah, you can go all Marxist/structuralist and talk about the way in which the tales enforce class orientation (sculler-maid becomes princess), but there's also a deep disrespect of social exclusivity in these tales: of the kind of arrogant belief in hierarchy which leaves Cinders in the pantry while the Uglies go party. (Again, have you ever read "The Tinder-Box"? Another scary, wonderful story.)

What's more, you also get a strand in fairy-tales, especially in the eighteenth century, which idealises and celebrates the dark-skinned east: the exotic "Tales of the Orient" which ultimately lead to Omar Khayaam and the 1001 Nights in the 1800s.

So yeah, whatever. There's so much more to be said about the "relevance" of fairy tales. Let's encourage Jenna to work on it for her undergrad thesis, yeah?
posted by holgate at 5:48 PM on December 21, 2000


A good one, by one of her classmates
posted by annathea at 5:54 PM on December 21, 2000

Annathea: Great story.
posted by waxpancake at 6:28 PM on December 21, 2000

*Are* there no VFW halls in Harlem?
posted by rodii at 6:49 PM on December 21, 2000

ROFL!!!!!!!!! That sounds like something I would've written at 14. No, wait, I think I wrote better than that at 14. How do we know that's really her? Man, what an airhead if it is! This is amusing! ;-)
posted by FAB4GIRL at 9:38 PM on December 21, 2000

As much as I'd like to mock anyone in Bush's bloodline, this really isn't a very fair thread. All of the student projects are deliberately naive, since they're intended to be revised fairy tales or original fairy tales.

Check out the main class project page for the appropriate context.
posted by waxpancake at 10:15 PM on December 21, 2000

Oh please. I like how people here are able to judge her intelligence by reading one essay/story - a story which was purposedly written in a simple style. Whatever.
posted by gluechunk at 10:45 PM on December 21, 2000

Is this an example of old W's contribution to education in Texas? Is his very daughter a shinning example of why less that a majority of Americans what him to be president? Is this what awaits the public schools of America under his administration? God help us all. Like I have said before: for any one who wants to know, the bus for Canada for the next four years leaves on January 21st.
posted by Bag Man at 1:32 AM on December 22, 2000

This is ridiculous. We (and by "we," I mean "you and you and you") sound as ridiculous and ignorant as the vehement Clinton-haters. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in hating somebody that they forget what they were angry about in the first place.
posted by waxpancake at 1:51 AM on December 22, 2000

At least she always had an airtight alibi when asked "did your father help you with this?"
posted by fullerine at 1:54 AM on December 22, 2000

It doesn't matter who she is - if this is the best a college-level student can come up with, then the US education system is obviously nuts.
posted by blastboy at 4:33 AM on December 22, 2000

For the most part, vehement Clinton-haters left Chelsea alone.

The lack of class and dignity displayed in this thread is more a warning sign for the future of the US then the possible ramifications of sub-par college edge-a-macation.
posted by Mick at 5:05 AM on December 22, 2000

Yeah, I'd like to know just WTF this has to do with Bush's performance as president?

Pretty lame. If you can't find somehing more substantive to criticize about Bush, then maybe he should be president.
posted by dweingart at 5:28 AM on December 22, 2000

Here's a quote from Jeena on her dad.

   "He wasn't half as cool as people think."

How did she even get into college?
posted by jay at 5:29 AM on December 22, 2000

For the most part, vehement Clinton-haters left Chelsea alone.

Rush Limbaugh was incredibly vicious about Chelsea. I used to watch his TV show while working a graveyard shift in 1992-93, and on one program, he pulled out a photo and called her "the White House dog." What kind of person does that to a kid in her early teens?

As for Jenna (not Janna not Jeena) Bush, I don't see where people are getting the idea that she's a dim bulb based on this fairy tale.
posted by rcade at 6:27 AM on December 22, 2000

Why are you picking on Jenna? Leave her alone. She has nothing to do with the actions of her dad, and deserves the same respect as anyone else.

She gets held to the same standards, too.

That said, picking on kids of Popular Culture figures is pretty unfair.
posted by dcodea at 6:54 AM on December 22, 2000

Look, I've just graduated high school. The fact that anyone coming from that mess can make a complete sentence shows incredible intelligence on her part.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:57 AM on December 22, 2000

What kind of person does that to a kid in her early teens?
The same kind that post here ;P

Rush doesn't count (please don't let rush count).
posted by Mick at 8:08 AM on December 22, 2000

I really don't see anything really wrong with that paper. But then I'm an engineer. Does that mean I shouldn't be in college either? Should I make fun of people who can't solve differential equations and assume they're not college material if I could solve them when I was 14?
posted by gyc at 8:33 AM on December 22, 2000

She gets held to the same standards, too.

...which is why people from Metafilter are rushing to impugn each other's intelligence based on bad freshman comp papers. This was a gratuitous attack on someone whose successes and failings shouldn't be a concern to anyone who doesn't know her. Leave the girl alone until she runs for public office.
posted by snarkout at 8:42 AM on December 22, 2000

Let's leave Jenna alone and point the finger at the TA who's running the bloody class.
posted by holgate at 9:32 AM on December 22, 2000

So, we're to judge this young lady by her performance on one (seemingly rather silly) assignment for one (seemingly rather silly) course? I'm sure I've produced some hideous work for classes I'd dismissed as fluff. ("I'm an engineering major. What do I need to know about poetry? Let me toss something off so I can get back to that logic circuit design.")
posted by harmful at 9:45 AM on December 22, 2000

Speaking of the Grimm's originals, I always liked their version of the Little Mermaid much better.

In Disney's version, the mermaid gives up her voice for the man she loves, and she wins.

In Grimm's version, every step the mermaid takes on land is like knives in her feet. And she doesn't win her love over. She ends up flinging herself into the water and disappearing as she becomes seafoam.

Disney's moral: girls, do *anything* to catch that man!

Grimm's moral: girls, don't give up yourself to catch a man - you will disappear.

I think Grimm's moral is more useful.
posted by beth at 9:53 AM on December 22, 2000

"I think it is unfortunate that there are no fairy tales with an African American heroine."

Style aside, I think this paper is interesting in that it reflects Ms. Bush's eurocentric worldview. This tale might be more interesting if it tried to actually portray a disenfranchised African-American woman living in Harlem. Instead, Ms. Bush is content to change the skin color of the Cinderella characters and leave it at that. A very shallow attempt at multi-culturalism on Ms. Bush's part.

Not to say that the professor shouldn't shoulder some of the blame. Where's all this eurocentrism coming from anyway? I hope her professor makes the class read a collection of African folktales. Of all people, she should be broadening these kids' horizons.

posted by snakey at 9:55 AM on December 22, 2000

I want to see some of Chelsea's freshman writing assignments put up on the web.
THEN we can decide.
At least Dubyas daughters are older than Bubba's was when he took office...

Unortunately for the Shrub's apologists in the MeFi Community, Rush and Drudge and Newt and Paula Jones' lawyers set the standard (that is, shoved it downward) for political discourse in the country in the last decade, and I, while not agreeing with the attackers politically, certainly agreed that Slick Willie was deserving of the abuse.
However those who declare the Fratboy, his family, friends and co-conspirators should not be subject to the same treatment are being nothing more than whiny wimps who can't take what they dish out. It ain't enough to promise to "return dignity to the Presidency"; I vaguely remember Clinton making virtually the same promise eight years ago.
So, sit back and enjoy the abuse for the next 4 years, and if you're very very very very lucky, you'll be asked to withstand it for another four.
posted by wendell at 11:12 AM on December 22, 2000

Give me a break. I would offer the same criticism to anyone who tried to make themselves look culturally aware with such an empty gesture.
posted by snakey at 11:39 AM on December 22, 2000

rcade: Whoops! Yes, it's Jenna, not Janna, as I might have noticed from the top of the page to which I linked. I blame my over-eagerness to post links found during the MeFi outage now that our long national nightmare is over.

dweingart: First, if pointing out the world's petty ironies is suddenly against MeFi's charter, then forgive me. Second, if the most privileged new graduates of the public school system in Texas are being asked to rewrite fairy tales, aren't Bush's claims to have made great strides in education as governor suspect?

Mick: Vehement Clinton-haters savaged Chelsea for her looks; they didn't make fun of her intelligence because they're generally in no position to do so.

rodii: No, there are no VFW halls in Harlem, or, apparently, in Manhattan.

gyc: Bush is the figurehead of a right-wing putsch. His real constituency despises political correctness. His daughter's education has been placed in the hands of liberal feminists because having her in public high school and the University of Texas served her father's sponsors' political ambitions. It's ironic, see?

posted by nicwolff at 11:43 AM on December 22, 2000

all I can add is what, no fairy godmother? :(
posted by justnobody at 12:22 PM on December 22, 2000

Fair enough, nicwolff, but what I want to know is this: How'd ya find that link?
posted by rcade at 12:37 PM on December 22, 2000

I think it's a vast left wing conspiracy
posted by Mick at 12:48 PM on December 22, 2000

I bet someone put a gun to him to post the link. Damn fascist Republicans!
posted by tiaka at 2:04 PM on December 22, 2000

snakey: eurocentric, yeah; but transplant Cinders to Texas and she would be black: in the sense that fairy tales have pretty strongly-defined roles, and it's only history that separates the unwanted half-sister from the scullery Mammy. (fuck, you could even read the "cinders" motif as an implicit critique of slavery, should you so desire.)

But anyway, a MeFi collective writing project:

Once upon a time, there was a handsome-ish, if not-too-bright prince, whose father brought him up with all the money that oil could provide. He may not have slept for a hundred years, but he certainly didn't remember the first forty, mainly because of the magic dust that the fairies left...

(go on, continue it...)
posted by holgate at 4:27 PM on December 22, 2000

And: does this really fucking matter? Yeah, liberals get lambasted by the Limbaugh constituency for being more concerned with the issues than the jokes, but there's no need to descend to that level unless you're writing the monologue for Leno or Letterman.

The spin: Jenna Bush Probably Gets a B. Let's get back to making her father's life a living hell.
posted by holgate at 4:35 PM on December 22, 2000

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