Mon, 24 Oct 2005
Remember PeteyExcerpt from the blog of a serving US soldier who suddenly got all official linish once it got attention. Rememeber they are fighting for freedom of speech!
I heard about this school the other day. It's a massive school; the third largest in the state. And it's very elite. It's a public school, but people all over clamber to get in because it has a really good reputation. And it's a well-deserved reputation, too. The school has an awesome football team, and it's students are among the most industrious and entrepreneurial when compared to their peers elsewhere. It is the most influential school in the state, and is the permanent host to the regional district schoolboard. Of them, it is also the wealthiest and most diverse, boasting classes in every discipline that attract students from all over the place. Despite all these fine qualities, though, the school is falling apart from the inside, and is on the verge of collapse.
The root of the problem can be traced to the school's charter, which stipulates the student body must elect a peer to act as Chancellor. The Chancellor chairs the powerful Advisory Committee, another elected body. Together, they maintain and adjudicate policy under the intense scrutiny of the student body and the school newspaper. The headmaster plays absolutely no role in the school's functions and, in fact, was divested of power by the charter. The system's genius beckoned students from far and wide. The message was clear: anyone could come to this school to study and participate in the process of making studying better for everyone. It was perfect. Until one day...
One day, a bunch of students got together and decided that the headmaster wasn't playing a large enough role in the way things were getting done. Together, they were able to get a like-minded Chancellor elected. The student body reeled in horror. It had gotten complacent and forgot about it's civic duties, allowing the new Chancellor to slide through by a narrow margin. At the same time, though, something horrible happened. The team mascot, "Petey" (a peacock, chosen for his pride and beauty) was murdered, his corpse nailed to the front entrance. It took weeks to bleach the blood off the white gates.
Word spread quickly that a neighboring school harbored kids with bad attitudes, and that they were responsible for the peacockicide. The plot thickened, though, when it was revealed that these kids were also supplying the large bulk of cigarettes to the Chancellor and his school. For many years, the students there had been addicted to massive quantities of cigarettes, and they came almost exclusively from the offending school. In fact, the Chancellor himself was very good friends with some of the cigarette suppliers. Of course, his own students weren't aware of this, and they lapped it up like kitties on spilled milk when he told them, "what the other school needs is a good trouncing by our awesome football team."
Sadly, nobody told the Chancellor that the other school only played cricket. But off they went anyway - quarterback and all - to an "away" game on the other side of the state. When they got there, it shocked everyone when they didn't win. In fact, on the front page of the school newspaper was a photograph of the nervous and bewildered quarterback scratching his head. Beneath him, the caption: "what the hell is a wicket?" Unfortunately, the Chancellor didn't recognize defeat, and even as the other team piled up one run after the other, he gave an interview in which he said that sending a football team to a cricket match was the right thing to do because, "those are the bastards that got Petey"!
At the same time, the price of cigarettes was skyrocketing and the student body was more addicted than ever. The regional district schoolboard was loosing patience with the Chancellor, and slowly each of the board members inched away. In an effort to distance themselves from the insanity of a football team lost in the middle of a cricket match, a disgusting cigarette addiction, and plummeting popular support in their own schools, they turned their backs, one-by-one, on the Chancellor.
Meanwhile, back home, the Chancellor had to abandon a wildly unpopular plan to appease the alumni who had become a huge red mark in his balance sheets. Worse, he had to deal with the student body who, jarred from their relative acquiescence, had assembled a foundation of support. Shocked at the changes made to the school charter giving hall monitors new and broad powers in the wake of Petey's murder, the school newspaper began leaking stories about abuses.
Finally, surrounded by unpopular sentiment at home and in other schools, the Chancellor decided to make the football game his main focus once again. Under the scrutiny of the whole student body, regional board members, the parent teacher associations of several schools and under the watchful eye of the headmaster, he threw away the chance to set the record straight. Instead, he justified sending a football team to a cricket match. "Remember Petey", he said. "Remember how I did this for us because they got Petey. It was the right thing to do then, and it's the right thing to do now. We went over there to play a game of football and, damn it, we're going to win a game of football. Nevermind they are playing cricket. Nevermind they are winning. Nevermind the score is 1,740 runs to nil. Nevermind all that; those bastards got Petey!"