Blue Cereal's blog

Very Fine People On Both Sides

Yes, the Nazis were bad. But adding an “unless you’re talking about the Nazis” provision to the bill doesn’t solve anything. Wrestling with the relative “good” and “bad” of various economic systems, political beliefs, lifestyles, attitudes, behaviors, and the like, is one of the primary functions of secondary education. Yes, we’d like them to be employable. Yes, we aspire to see them happy and personally fulfilled. But somewhere in the mix is this crazy hope that they’ll be informed, rational citizens, capable of weighing complex ideas and understanding multiple points of view. 

Unlike, for example, the folks pushing this legislation. 

"Have To" History: The Boring Parts

H2H Boring Parts CoverMany history aficionados get a bit touchy when “outsiders” label something from history “boring.” Like, anything. There’s so much we find fascinating or important or connected or just… weird that it’s easy to take it a bit personally when someone labels our interests “lame” (even when they soften such declarations with more moderate language).

Indiana SB 167 (Part Three)

I’ve been breaking down Indiana’s proposed Senate Bill 167 - the one that’s been in the news lately for all sorts of things, including the insistence of one of its authors that educators needed to stop criticizing Nazis for doing Nazi stuff and be more neutral about “-isms.” He had to dial that one back a bit - turns out even today’s GOP doesn’t like to come right out and admit how comfortable they’ve become with the trappings of fascism. 

Indiana Senate Bill 167 (Part One)

Angry MomsThere’s nothing wrong with public input in and of itself - community members already have the right to get involved in their local schools, run for positions on the board, etc. This new legislation, however, seems designed to encourage even those unwilling to engage in meaningful ways to jump in with the same thoughtfulness and expertise they demonstrate on Facebook or the “Comments” section on YouTube channel to derail or demonize anything they’re pretty sure Tucker Carlson mentioned several weeks ago as part of a liberal conspiracy to make white people feel bad.

Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Bring On 2022

I don’t know about you, but I’m not all that happy with how things have been going lately. Even worse, I’m not thrilled with how I’ve been responding. I’d hoped for better from my nation, many of my friends, and (as much as I hate to admit it) myself.

But if you’ll allow me to coopt a phrase from another genre… it’s a new day. At least, it has the potential to be.

How Teaching Is Like Blowing Leaves & Snow

As it turns out, however, leaf blowing and doing pretty much anything with snow are a mixture of art and science which take some time to master. Either can prove oddly fulfilling, but most of the time… well, it’s just frustrating and embarrassing how badly it sometimes goes. As someone who has embarrassed myself regularly throughout my life, I am certain I’ve rarely looked quite as foolish as I did the first half-dozen times I powered up either of these devices. Some days I still do. 

That’s the part that was somehow oddly familiar from day one.

The 1950s (Part Two)

Many questions about the 1960s are actually rooted in the 1950s, so keep that in mind when asked about racial tensions, shifting political dynamics, Cold War anxieties, or anything related to rebellion against cultural norms or “their parents’ generation.” Avoid oversimplifying the 1950s as the sum of its clichés while recognizing that the perception of homogeneity was enough to generate both the pressure to conform and the desire to rebel – sometimes within the same subgroups.

The 1950s (Part One)

In reality, the 1950s weren’t quite as universally unified or prosperous as they appeared. Still, it was close enough to give the 1960s something to challenge – a lifestyle and presumed set of values for the youth of the era to reject. (It’s difficult to rebel against the mainstream if there’s no mainstream.) If nothing else, the 1950s made the 1960s possible. The decade became the “ordinary world” for a whole new hero’s journey.