Leafing through the LA Times over lunch yesterday, I saw that Bruce Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore (the scheming, two-faced Eve Harrington to Howard the Duck's Margo Channing) continues his Cassandra-like efforts to expose the War on Junior Petite Beef-Ts. The first few days of his campaign were dedicated to strips that shouted, "Can youbelieve that kids are being expelled in Denver for wearing star-spangledTuffskins?" The last couple days have been devoted to panels like the one above, which bleats:
"To all those readers still writing me to say I'm making up stories about schools banning students from wearing 'patriotic clothing'...Please pick up a newspaper sometime, or go to Townhall.com!"
Um, okay. Just curious, but where does Bruce think the vast majority of readers encounter his trenchant, Mencken-like social criticism if not wedged between Mary Worth and Beetle Baily? Does he think he's podcasting? And this is the second time in a week that Tinsley has forgone even his usual wan simulacrum of a joke in favor of driving traffic to the screedosphere; on April 30th he climaxed his hectoring with a demand that we go to FreeRepublic.com now and learn the truth! Even though we can't handle the truth! (When it comes to the use of italics, Bruce subscribes to the Stan Lee every-third-word-regardless school.)
Anyway, there wasn't anything about Bruce's bete noir in the newspaper I was already holding in my hand, so I went to Townhall, and lo and behold, there wasn't anything there either. But after scrounging around in the Search window, I found a piece by rookie A-ball sensation FredMaidment entitled What Are We Teaching Our Children?
So a cadre of patriotic teens were ejected from school for wearing t-shirts that said "God Bless the U.S.A." or "These Colors Don't Run" or "Proud to be an American"? As Fred put it:
To be clear, these actions were taken in response to people wearing American patriotic clothing. At Shaw Heights Middle School in Westminster, CO, the school banned �clothes with political messages or flags of any sort,� according to Denver�s CBS 4 News. Principal Myla Shepherd said that �tensions over the immigration issue were apparent when more than 20 students came to school wearing camouflage jackets and pants, apparently to show what they call their patriotism and American pride.�
The CBS 4 News website quotes one of the students:
“It upsets me that we cannot support our troops — the military,” said Kirsten Golgart, an eighth grader who was told she’d be suspended if she didn’t change her clothes. “We can’t support our country. If we’re American, I think we should be proud to be an American.”
I frequently miss the memo, but when did fatigues become our national costume? I would have guessed it was bluejeans, or cheeseheads, or visible bra straps or something. Or if we're talking about quaint native garb, the equivalent of kimonos or leiderhosen, wouldn't it be cowboy duds, or some other Village People-y faux Western getup? If I see a civilian dressed in camouflage pants it's usually a pissed-off Vietnam Vet if he's in his 50s, or a thin, jittery, Klebold and Harris wannabe if he's in his teens. Or a doughy Sunday afternoon Rambo on his way to a paintball range if he's in his 30s.
Myla Shepherd, the principal, said that tensions over the immigration issue were apparent when more than 20 students came to school wearing camouflage jackets and pants, apparently to show what they call their patriotism and American pride.
“We started seeing name calling,” Shepherd said. “Safety is my first concern, so I’m going to do things to keep us from getting to a point where anybody is hurt or being suspended for fighting.”
She said the dress code alteration diffused the tension immediately.
“I don’t think that’s a solution, though because you’re punishing 400 students because the action of 100,” said Eric Golgart, Kirsten’s father.
As I freely admit, I'm abysmal at math, but 100 out of 400 sounds like kind of a lot. That's basically a quarter of the student body, isn't it? But Eric makes a good point. What about Kirsten's rights, and the rights of all her likeminded, camo-clad classmates? Yeah, sure, they could "support our troops -- the military" by organizing a blood drive for the Armed Forces Blood Program, or holding a fundraiser for Soldiers’ Angels or anysoldier.com or volunteering time at the VA hospital in Denver, but that wouldn't be nearly as effective as swaggering around the Quad in camouflage pants and a surplus field jacket and giving hard looks to all the Hispanics.
Oh wait, I was wrong, Bruce did close with a joke:
“This has been a public service announcement to inform aging“radicals” that they are now “the man.”
Denver-area High School Principals: America’s Stalinists. “You call it a gulag. We call it…Detention.
Posted by scott on Friday, May 12th, 2006 at 1:40 pm.