Friday, May 23, 2008

About Edumakayshun

So, when I was at Carleton I took a class called "Moral Panics", about, uh, moral panics. The class spent the term learning about how easily urban legends and outright falsehoods spread when the dominant group in society has concerns about a minority group. And you can pretty much apply this model to any dominator/dominated model, whether it be white/black, hetero/homo, man/woman, or yes, adult/child.

But then, some idiot in the class watched a Dr. Phil episode about the raging epidemic of pre-teen sex that had gripped America in late 2005. (Don't you remember it?) And -- in a class where everyone had just spend two months learning about moral panics, and how they're universally full of shit -- I was one of I think three people pointing out that, maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't take Dr. Phil as gospel.

In particular, they laughed at the idea that a raging sex epidemic among 11-year olds would, in all likelihood, produce some documentation: whether a school principal's report, or a lawsuit between two aggrieved parents, whatever. When these kinds of things happen, they produce paperwork. You know, that thing North American society excels at producing?

But no, I was unable to convince anyone in the class who didn't already agree with me that, in all likelihood there is no national-scale orgy of tweens going on. In a university-level class. In a class that was all about these urban legends being totally and universally false.

So much for the benefits of higher education.

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