For a lot of reasons, I have avoided commenting on this story until now. First of all, it is so stupid that if there is someone who wants to defend the conduct of the school in the matter, I don’t want to know them or read them, and I generally don’t post about the obvious. Second, we still don’t have a name of the victim of the anti-Wonder Woman attack, the school involved, or the teacher or administrator involved. Finally, I’m suspicious: a Wonder Woman movie is nearing release, and this seems awfully convenient.
The tale began with a post by someone claiming to be the parent of a little girl named Laura who was sent home is shame because her Wonder Woman lunch box violated school policy. The letter sent home with Laura, which someone supposedly photographed, is head-explosion worthy:
The violent lunch box allegedly looks like this (both sides):
I decided to treat this story as if it were true, because it seems plausible, and true or not, it is not inconsistent with trends that we have been seeing in schools and elsewhere, but especially schools, for several years. I also feel that I should maintain a relatively complete record of the most egregious examples of child abuse and exquisite administrator idiocy based on gun and violence phobias in society. Thes people tech our children, everybody, and we let them. This is right up there with the gun shaped pizza and Pop Tart, and the little deaf boy named Gunner who wasn’t allowed to sign his name.
Maybe it’s worse, because it is also superhero bigotry and cultural ignorance. Wonder Woman, at least the traditional incarnation of her shown on the lunch box, is as non-violent as a heroine can be. Her moves were defensive; the most she did to bad guys other than protect herself was to lasso them (which also made them tell the truth.) Yes, I’m sure the new, improved Amazon Princess will cold-cock someone. Good. But that’s not the Diana on the lunch box.
Do I have to give the Atticus Finch speech again?
Furthermore, the symbolic message sent by punishing a student for having such an innocuous image on a lunch box is not teaching, but indoctrination, and indoctrination calculated to produce a generation of timid, frightened, conflict averse weenies who cry for trigger warnings, protest that they can’t take laws school tests that reference violent events, like the shooting of Mike Brown, and grow up to become demented school administrators who freak out if a kid makes a gun with her hand and says “Bang!”
The culture of the United States is violent, and for all the problems that causes, it also is rooted in a national character that urges individuals to be strong, not weak, survivors, not victims, heroes, not passive wards of an all-providing state. Once schools communicated and spread that culture by teaching legends, heroes and icons: military victors, pioneers, explorers, Western settlers, law enforcement officials, political leaders, almost all of whom were forced to solve problems with violence. Who is objectionable under this school’s “violence must cause a visceral reaction of revulsion in all young Americans” formula” which is apparently aimed at converting the U.S. to Switzerland? (Cue Harry Lime in “The Third Man”: “Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!”)
Let’s see:Davy Crockett and George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George Marshall, Grant, Sergeant York, Audie Murphy, every boxer, real and fictional (Rocky!) and football player, actors like John Wayne, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, virtually every cartoon character except Casper the Friendly Ghost and Little Lulu, including Mickey Mouse and Bambi….oh, hell, it’s easier to name the few figures of fact and fiction that would be acceptable to this school and the millions of Americans in sympathy with their fanaticism. Quakers. Mother Theresa and Albert Schweitzer. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Ballet dancers. Not Jesus: can’t talk about him in a school. Simpering damsels in distress; Sleeping Beauty, but not her Prince; Snow White, but not the Dwarfs, Wally Cox, but not Marlon Brando.
And the America this plan would produce? Not the champion of the world, but the bystander, the patsy of the world.
You know, like it has been recently—but forever, and proud of it.
Most of the articles covering this episode joked about it. The cultural movement to remove our nation’s courage, backbone and swagger is no joke. There is a lot more at stake than lunch boxes and Wonder Woman.