Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Tangential Component of Homework

A bit of background for this post. As you may or may not know, my 17 year old is attending a Catholic High School. The irony is she has desperately wanted to be a witch since she was old enough to grasp the idea of counter-culture. (This was prior to Harry Potter, which she wasn’t particularly interested in because that clearly was just a story.)
When she was still pretty little, she went through a few weeks where she was really ticked off at me for not having witch DNA. I side stepped that with some innuendo. “Well, you don’t KNOW what witch legacy you may or may not end up with.  If I were you, I would hedge your bets and be extra nice.”

She currently tolerates the academic religiosity by making comparisons between Catholic dogma and the theoretical practice of spells, ritualized incantations and symbolized representations of supernatural power.  I have to admit, there are some correlations. After all, the Pope doesn’t wear his hat as a fashion statement.  

So, she is working on an essay, for Theology, about prejudice and racism.  Naively, she asks me to proof it. This is a request made to a mom who loves to expound on such things and who also has an abundance of tangential thought processes. (You see where this is going right? Nowhere linear, brief or practical.)

She has some excellent points including how religion, in theory a forum of charity and service, has perpetrated some pretty egregious acts.  In addition, she discusses how this is an expansion of the “We’re right. You’re wrong. My dad could beat up your dad and so there!” thought process with an advancement in weaponry and driven by a fabricated fear of Hellfire and brimstone.

I have no idea what her Theology teacher thinks of her but I’m thinking how a healthy dose of skepticism would have benefited me at 17!

Being unable to stop myself, I interject my thoughts about group identification as part of the human psyche. And being unable to stop myself I will now share a truncated version of this interjection with you.

Want to know why sports are a multi-billion dollar industry? Does it result in new technology to save lives? Does it produce and distribute food to end world hunger? Does it really, in any concrete way, improve any aspect of the global condition?

Well, human history is not exactly characterized by charity or service. Rape and pillage seem to be a more accurate description. It was, and still is, of enormous benefit to be seen as part of a powerful, successful group. So now car decal and jersey color correlated to ancient facial tattoo and hair adornment is the equivalent of congratulatory car honking to being left to hunt and or gather with some protection from marauders.

That is so very interesting, you say as does my daughter. So when her friend texts her a few hours later asking what the essay assignment was, I offer my proofing services. Sadly I am rebuffed and must find a new outlet for my tangential thoughts.


Thank you for participating in my thoughts of tangent.


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