First item on my agenda: a hearty greeting to our sudden influx of undoubtedly confused international readers. Looking for information about the Princess Protection Program or Gerhard Richter? Believe us, we’re just as surprised that you ended up here as you are. But while you’re here, why not have a look around? Do you like the Buzzcocks or the English Beat? We sure do! Perhaps you’d be interested to know that Russ and I enjoy international travel and have visited many of your lovely countries? It’s true! We loves us some Sachertorte!
You might also like to hear what I’ve got to say about the Youth of America these days. First, I should explain that Russ and I are not Canadians, but rather Americans, who named our blog after a fine beverage frequently referenced in an even finer TV show. Got that? OK. Here we go.
So we’re always hearing about how incompetent our American educational system is. (No doubt you, Foreign Gerhard Richter Fan, have heard something about this as well.) And yes, I have to say, we’re guilty as charged; it’s pretty awful, and lots of kids can’t find Iraq on a map, and they can’t do basic math and so on and so forth.
But Oh. My. God.
The elite youth? The kind who attend Overlord Academy, where I’m teaching right now, or who went to Miss Miniver’s, where I used to teach?
These kids, Most Respected Citizen of Estonia! These kids! How are they so shiny-haired, poised, bright and affable? How are they so clever and hard-working? We just did a critique on their most recent Bedazzler project, for which I asked them to make a small assemblage (think Joseph Cornell box, or John Frederick Peto trompe l’oeil still life) comprised of whatever objects they wanted. They were to base their Bedazzler projects on these assemblages. Here is what shocked me, in increasing order of shockingness.
4) The projects were really, really good. I seriously don’t have any clue as to how they’re getting anything out of my absentminded babbling about what Footie Pajamas’s favorite songs are, but I’m really impressed. Clearly, this is some kind of Platonic innate knowledge thing, because they’re not getting it from me.
3) They work really, really hard. They’re not just bragging about late hours for my benefit. I overhear them asking questions like, “How late were you here last night?” and the answer is typically something like 3 or 4 or 5 am. They have the kind of inside jokes with one another that can only have developed over many shared hours in the Bedazzling studio.
2) They think it’s totally normal to work this hard. Many of their projects seem to contain narratives about how much stuff they’re doing. Two students, totally independently, included medication bottles in their assemblages. WTF?!? Medication bottles! They are pre-med brilliant painters who write for the paper! They get up to go to the gym at 6:30 am! Do you know what I was doing at 6:30 am in college? Sleeping. That’s what I was doing, my Milanese friend. Sleeping.
1) At age 20 or so, they unambiguously like their parents. “My dad is much cooler than I am — he’s always telling me about new bands.” They actually say things like this, Münchners! Aren’t 20-year-olds still supposed to be rolling their eyes at their dads?
We chat a lot in Bedazzling class, as you may have guessed.
The ladies of Gee's Bend
So, my International Friends, what is going on? Why are my students superior to me in every single way, except for the cool dad thing which I just find creepy?
I haven’t seen this video in 20 years. Please tell me that’s not blackface. Please?