Posts Tagged ‘cip’

Current State

27 October 2009

Dear J-

I haven’t been keeping up with the news and current events lately.  If you remember, J-, our CIP teacher, Mr. Larson used to give a current events quiz which no one took seriously because there were no consequences — we got yanked out of class one day a week and dropped into a strange classroom where grades didn’t matter and stories were a little more interesting.  Sometimes he’d give what he thought were gimme questions (who represents the district in the House of Representatives?) and I’m sure he used to wince at the answers he’d get back.

I was an indifferent student of capitals (world, province, or state, I probably still can’t name most) and Russian (though I always liked his stories, I couldn’t see myself ever putting that knowledge to use), but I was a current events champ, keeping up on obscure treaties and science breakthroughs as though my life depended on it.  I’m not sure if it’s a function of getting older, or if the old adage has always held (if it bleeds, it leads!) but it seems like the cult of celebrity has been all-pervasive lately; either folks who want to be famous, or famous folks we can’t seem to find enough minute embarrassing details about.

How do you separate real achievement from deserved notoriety?  In an era filled with cameras and constant scrutiny, people become famous not only for going to the right parties, but also for writing about people at parties.  Reporters become as famous as the people they cover when we confuse meeting someone on the television with knowing them; we encourage their efforts by lowering the bar for news until the next idiot in a balloon pops up for consumption.



Cold Water on Your Back

5 November 2006

I must have really been homesick those two years in Boston. That’s all I can excuse myself for.


All the same, I really enjoyed grade school. You got crayons, glue, pencils, and a notebook in September. You listened to stories after lunch. You wondered what was on top of the roof, over the fire escape, past the fences, behind the bushes, under the slides, inside the teacher’s lounge. I personally had a huge fear of being in the sunlight with the bloodstones present. As my friend described it, it would suck the blood right out of your body, much as lab reports and midterms were to do in a few years.