The story of the sweet beer guy and the doxxing reporter is a microcosm of Democrat behavior, plus racial — and racist — education madness in Seattle.
The first part of this post is about the way in which the Carson King and Aaron Calvin saga parallels the saga of Trump, the Democrats, the Russian Hoax, and the investigation into the origins of the hoax. The second part looks at education insanity in Seattle. I’ve done a podcast on the same topics, which is not identical to this post, but it’s close enough that, if you prefer reading, you won’t miss anything by not listening to the podcast.* And if you listened to the podcast, you’ll find in this post links to the things I mentioned in the podcast.
The Beer Guy, the nasty reporter, Trump, and the nasty Democrats. You’ve probably already heard this story, so I won’t go on at length about it. Carson King is a young man who, during ESPN game night, put up a sign asking people to buy him a beer and giving his Venmo account name. It was silly, audacious, and charming. People responded with cheerful vigor, eventually sending King $1.12 million. King promptly turned around and donated the money to a hospital in Iowa City, where it will be used primarily to help children with cancer. This is a nice guy.
Aaron Calvin is not a nice guy. He was a young reporter at the Des Moines Register. He thought it would be a good scoop to troll King’s twitter feed. After crawling back eight years, he found a tweet or two in which King quoted some movie or TV show in a way that is no longer considered politically correct. (Keep in mind that what’s acceptable changes on an almost daily basis now.) King gave the ritual apology.
Apropos these ritualistic apologies, I’m waiting for someone to say, “No, I won’t apologize. What I said or did 10 or 20 or 30 years ago was within the acceptable norms of the time at which I did or said it (including the norms for 16 year old boys at that time). I certainly wouldn’t do it now because values have changed (although it’s not clear whether for the better), but I will not apologize when I did nothing wrong.” Still, I totally understand that King, raised in cancel culture, felt that he had to apologize.
All of the above was the norm: Some ordinary person does something nice; some snarky, sleazy reporter doxes the person; and the person ritually apologizes.
Something different happened this time, though. While King bowed low, others fought on his behalf. They trolled Calvin’s social media and found him saying worse things (by today’s standards) than what King had said. Although the Des Moines Register refused to apologize to King, because being a media outlet means never having to say you’re sorry, it did fire Calvin.
At this point, Calvin could have said, “I’ve learned my lesson about doxxing and apologized.” He didn’t. Instead, he played the victim card!
Former Des Moines Register Reporter Aaron Calvin, the reporter who dug into Iowa viral charity hero Carson King’s tweets from when he was 16, now tells Buzzfeed: “This whole campaign was taken up by right-wing ideologues and largely driven by that force.” https://t.co/8eOns91XqQ
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 27, 2019
More Calvin on his racist tweets being dug up after he did the same to Carson King: “It was just a taste of what I assume that women and journalists of color suffer all the time, but the kind of locality and regional virality of the story made it so intense.”
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) September 27, 2019
Aaron Calvin has thoughts on old out of context tweets. pic.twitter.com/WnjhOHthYR
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) September 27, 2019
Little Calvin, the narcissist, is going to have a lousy life, one in which he’s always the victim of other people being mean to him — and he’ll never understand that they are being mean to him because he was a vile pig to them. Or maybe he’ll mature and become the nice, decent person he can be if he puts aside this narcissistic mindset.
What fascinated me about the above story is that it is precisely the same story, except in microcosm, that’s been playing out nationally between Trump, on the one hand, and the Democrats in both Congress and the media, on the other hand.
Trump did a good thing — he convinced enough people that his values were in line with theirs that he ought to become president. These values were, up until about 20 years ago, completely mainstream American values. Trump is Carson King.
The Democrats were outraged that Trump won. They did everything they could to destroy him. The Democrats are Aaron Calvin.
Trump, however, did not do what King did, which was to apologize. Instead, he stood his ground.
Trump was shown to be innocent by the Democrats’ own anointed savoir, Robert Mueller. Now, Trump is doing what the third party warriors did on King’s behalf, which is revealing the bad motives behind the Democrats’ actions.
This means that he is approaching other countries and saying, “Please find out what role your country played in the 2016 meddling in the American election.”
Like Calvin, the Democrats are screaming their heads off that they’re the victims. It was only right that they should destroy Trump, but how dare Trump turn the tables on them!
Incidentally, although Anheuser-Busch cravenly pulled out of a contract with King, I have heard that King got a new, better one with another company. Also, I’ve heard that people are boycotting Busch for its cowardice, which is only right and proper.
Education madness in Seattle. I was talking to a young friend today who just got a lovely job offer. The interview came about because a friend recommended her to the company. The offer occurred because she’s smart, hardworking, personable, organized, and a perfect fit for the job.
It’s probable that, had there been 30 other equally qualified candidates, the company could have just pulled a name out of a hat but, instead, the company gave the job to my young friend because she came with a recommendation for a source they respected. That’s life. Life isn’t always fair. Not everyone has a friend who can help them with such useful specificity. In a sane world, when we have such a friend, we are grateful that this person knocked on the door for us, but it’s always our responsibility to prove ourselves worthy once that door is opened.
Most of my young friend’s own friends were happy for her. Perhaps they said, “I wish that would happen to me,” but it didn’t adulterate their pleasure in her good fortune.
One of them, though, found it unforgivable. Although white herself, she castigated my young friend for benefiting from white privilege and strongly suggested that she ought not to have gotten the job and, once she got it, she should have rejected it in solidarity with others less privileged than she is.
Almost immediately after that happened, a friend in Marin sent me a message the school sent to all parents from the high school principal. I thought it made for barfy reading:
As I mentioned in the September newsletter, the Redwood staff will continue our anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-bias work to make sure that Redwood is a school where diversity and a variety of experiences and perspectives are valued as beneficial to all of us in our learning community.
One of the key features of this work is upstanding. Upstanding is the opposite of bystanding. Upstanding is being active, not passive. Upstanding is standing up and saying something or doing something when we see or can prevent wrong or hurt. It is the opposite of “letting it go,” “looking away” and “turning a blind eye.” Upstanding is saying something when a racist, insensitive or stereotyping comment is made. Upstanding is helping someone who is being picked on or bullied or attacked. Upstanding is reporting a problem to an adult in our school or confidentially letting us know through our confidential tip line. Anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-bias work requires us to upstand if we are to make a positive difference to our school culture and community. If we want to appreciate each other and embrace and celebrate our differences, we need to upstand when we see or experience racism, hate or bias.
Upstanding is important in other areas as well as anti-racist work. It is important when we see sexual harassment, bullying and other mistreatment of others whether in person or online. Sometimes upstanding means saying something to others (always in a respectful and appropriate way). Other times, upstanding means sharing your concerns with a school staff member. Either way, the difference between upstanding and bystanding is the difference between doing something to make our school culture better for everyone at Redwood and ignoring the type of behavior that can hurt others, emotionally and/or physically.
My friend told me that the school has been shutting down extracurricular programs to fund all this social justice stuff.
Also, this school is not a hotbed of racial strife and hatred. It’s an ordinary school in a relatively affluent neighborhood, with families that are almost entirely Progressive, all of whom preach political correctness. This is virtue-signaling pure and simple.
Moreover, it’s a lie. If your child goes into the school and starts preaching about the Second Amendment, I can guarantee you that your child will find himself in a police station for being a threat. Conservativism, whether political or social, is not welcome there.
But the above message is where people like my young friend’s ill-wisher learn their ideas about “privilege.”
Once upon a time, if you came from a “privileged” background (which meant affluent and educated), you were grateful and, if you were well brought up, you believed it was your responsibility to share that privilege and to help other people.
Today, though, “privilege” is code for “white self-loathing.” These young people are being taught to hate themselves and, instead of sharing their blessings, they’re being told that they need to give them up. This is not about raising people up but about tearing people down. It’s the politics of greed and resentment written into our nation’s social fabric and our young people’s minds.
Which leads me to what’s going on in the Seattle Public School District. This is another school district in which black students are failing and the district, rather than teaching better, is doubling down on the politics of victimhood and resentment.
In May 2019, Stephan Blanford, a deeply Progressive former member of the school board launched an attack on those who failed to agree with the school’s Progressive strategic plan. I’ll get to the plan in a minute, but I just want to cite the statistics that Blanford and the Board felt justified the new plan:
Today, students in Seattle Public Schools lag behind students in other large school districts in our area. Only 53 percent of Seattle students meet grade-level science standards. Compared to nearby Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts, Seattle is underperforming by significant margins.
This statistic and others like it don’t capture the whole story. The achievement gap between higher- and lower-performing schools remains significant in Seattle. Our failures to address inequity have dramatic impacts on the lives of real kids, many of them students of color, whose parents are less likely to engage with our city’s power structure or follow online blog debates.
The District’s answer to a very real problem is victimhood. I’ve embedded the first page of strategic plan, below. The highlights are mine. You can click on the image twice to enlarge it:
The rest of the plan is here.
As you can see, while the goals are laudable, the method to achieve them is to drill into the students that they are victims of an inherently racist system. That’s bad. What’s really bad is the “math ethnic studies framework” the school district worked up for the kids. To understand what you’re reading, you need to know that “SWBAT” means “students will be able to. This time I’m embedding the entire document. Again, the highlights are mine and you can enlarge the images by clicking on them twice:
Translated: “Dear black children, everything that’s important about math predates the Greeks. The Greeks stole from Black Africans and Egyptians. Moreover, when this stolen math came Westerners compounded this theft by stealing Arabic numbers and the concept of zero from the Arabs (who first stole them from the Indian subcontinent). Since its origins in Africa and India, math has been used to destroy you, to oppress you, to demean you, to deny you opportunities to succeed, and to humiliate you. It is a vile instrument of white hegemony over the black man. Oh, and you’d better learn it because it’s a good thing to know.”
In California in the 1970s through the 1990s, there was a totally misbegotten “self-esteem” theory in education. This theory was premised on the observation that good students had high self-esteem. The idiocrats in education concluded that high self-esteem made for good students. It never occurred to them that hard work and the reward of learning created high self-esteem, rather than self-esteem driving hard work and learning. California ended up with several generations of children who felt great about themselves, but who could barely read, write, or do math, and who were completely ignorant about the world.
What’s happening in Seattle is worse. Seattle is create generations of children with a profound sense of victimhood, resentment, and rancor, and then expecting them to embrace education. Only a Progressive could think that this is a pathway to instilling a love of learning into children.
*I’d originally tried doing identical posts and podcasts, but that wasn’t working for me. I seem to use different parts of my brain when I talk and when I write. I ended up simply reading my posts aloud for the podcast, which really killed the fun for me. I’m now trying a system I think will work better, which is to go in this order (1) thinking about things; (2) making notes and collecting documents; (3) podcasting in a more free-form way; (4) writing a companion/parallel post. As always, I value your feedback.
NOTE: In the podcast, I mentioned one of my favorite books, which is an early insight into the Leftist takeover of education and media. The book is Helen MacInnes’s Neither Five Nor Three. I wrote about it here.
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