Thanks again Doc, for making me think. I sent him this email message:
for making me think. Your series on flattening -- awesome.
On a related note, the TV has been off in the Ferris household for over a decade -- and that included some rather intense debates on the subject with a young boy who is now a 21 year old. The stuff about school -- I'm going to force him at gunpoint to read. It will make his day.
He had a rough time with school. I finally ended the experiment (right around the time I ended my relationship with Internet.com, come to think of it). I pulled him out and we home-schooled/correspondence schooled him to the end of his high school education.
He's got some work to do, still, but overall I think he's a good guy, which is all that matters to me.
Back to the school thing -- most parents balked at what I was doing. I am, by the way, a parent who very much believes in "tough love". My son did not drive till he was 18 -- only then because he exhibited enough responsibility (barely, but it was a start) and he's always had to pay his own insurance and upkeep. That doesn't mean I was totally successful at keeping the peace, but you can only try.
I had had enough of the way the school was "educating" him -- and they did try to fight back but regrettably for them, they were against me at the time. We ended up in court a week after his 18th birthday opposite a school administrator that was trying to accuse us and him of truancy. Of course, we got an apology at the time from a red-faced official. It didn't make up for all the other crap but it was, among other battles, enough of a moment that I hope it helps my son remembers who's in charge of his destiny (it was never me, or the school, obviously).
He loves cable television -- but he had to move out to get it. From listening to him talk, he's already getting sick of it :-)
I have a lot of thinking to do about what you have to say regarding the whole educational process. I suspect that our attempts at turning off the tube actually accelerated his alienation from the rest of his class and his teachers too, of course.
It seemed like the thing to do at the time -- I have a view that becoming a full-time consumer of "content" lessens ones' ability to actually create. Whether it be wood carvings or open source software, creation and the ability to be creative in general is removed when all of your time is spent having things dumped into your heads.
By the way, when I mention this theory to people that spend a lot of time watching cable, I always get a speech on how great the discovery channel is. File it away -- it's *always* the discovery channel. I've seen it a couple of times -- it bores me somewhat (all of cable does mostly, but that's probably because I'm warped).
Way back when we turned off the tube, one of my horrified co-workers presented me with the following: "How's your son going to learn about reality if you turn off the TV?".
"By experiencing it." Was my simple reply.
The web can be (as you once pointed out to me) a glorified television set -- or an interactive haven for people that want to create communities, software or general mayhem (I'll take that last one, it's fun at times). The former is a spectator sport, and one that big business would enjoy the most -- after all, the non-interactive marketplace needs hoards of minions that will simply enjoy the brand of the day. The latter is something that cannot be boxed, shipped or controlled -- and it scares the living daylights out people wanting a society of drones for the latest shrink-wrapped marketing craze.
I have some thinking to do. And my son and I have some more talking to do. This will be good for both.
Once again, I am in your debt.