Patrick's English teacher is one of those East Coast liberal types, full of crazy ideas, Patrick tells me. She spouts off nutty ideas in class and runs the school's Native American Club after school. No, there's nothing wrong with "Native Americans," but basically, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture is pretty consistently denigrated by her. About half the works assigned weren't even originally written in English! In an English class, that's just wrong.
She's figured out by now that Patrick is a Christian, and a conservative one at that. She has a few snide things to say, and Patrick has a few snide things to say back. When assignments are handed out, Patrick gets the ones that refer to the Bible because she knows he likes all that stuff. We can't really avoid the Bible, she tells the class, because it's the most classic literature written by a committee, not to mention the fact that it gets referenced in the *older* literary works.
In short, Patrick is the God-boy of the class. He takes advantage of this unique opportunity to be an ambassador for Christ by using the cartoon assignment to portray his teacher as a two-headed worm that takes in assignments at one end and um, produces grades at the other. He writes things like "our honourable chairman said..." in his reviews. He compared the current public educational system to the Nazi concentration camps for his "satire" assignment. Obama, of course, is vaguely alluded to as the Communist, Nazi leader of the free world, and he writes about what a great thing that is that teachers will have more power than pesky parents with much sarcasm.
In short, he gets her goat and she grades him accordingly. Sigh. Brown-noser, he is not.
This is the same young man that I got a worried phone call about a couple of years ago. They were studying ancient Greece and he refused to look at the nudie statues, the social studies teacher told me. He needs to complete this assignment. Could you tell your son he can look at the statues? Um, ok... I told him he could look but not loooook. No ogling. Compromise met. Patrick wasn't particularly pleased, but he dealt with it.
Patrick said that he was just assigned a "mature" book in English class. He raised one eyebrow as he said it and told me I ought to look at it. "Mature," I guess, is eduspeak for "written porno that no way any decent, God-fearing American would allow to be distributed in the local library, let alone keep in his home."
My. This book is the most smutty, disgusting, amazingly bad work of "literature" I think I've ever seen. I tried to give it a good chance... tried to see some redeeming literary value in the OVERALL of the book. Sometimes when a rape scene or the like is included, it's used to demonstrate injustice or bring to light some element of the human condition, etc. I really tried to give this book a fair chance.
I got through about 20 pages. Lots of incest. Large breasts. Genital smells as turn-ons. Chastity belts and marital rape. Spears through the throat. I finally put the thing down when it went into some detail about how the mom in the book is checking out her young teen son's penis and thinking about its size in comparison with his dad's.
Done. Just done. So I wrote the following excuse note:
Dear Mrs. English Teacher (note I did not use preferred MS. title, sure hope she's married):
Please excuse Patrick from reading One Hundred Years of Solitude in English class. Surely some other, more ennobling work can be selected that fulfills class requirements. We would like one that does not cater to the prurient interests or is otherwise unwholesome.
Thank you for your prompt consideration on this matter.
email address here
Patrick had a good chuckle when he read the note. "This is just what she needs to hear," he said with a big grin. "Perfect." He wanted to know why I wouldn't just email his teacher and why I handed him the note.
Honestly? I am giving him the note because he is nearly 17. In a year and a half, he will be able to watch porno without my consent if he's out of the house. He will be able to do all kinds of things without my permission. Patrick knows my preference on the book. I told him, though, that if he wanted to fill his mind with that smut, that he is old enough to understand the potential consequences.
But I am giving him the note so that the decision is truly his. He can hand in the note, or not hand in the note.
I have a feeling that he will hand in the note because not only does he not want to continue reading this book, he will also drive his teacher batty with the parental backup.