Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mea Culpa

A while back I commented that one of my former student's father told her not to read my blog. My reaction to that was inappropriate, and Loki called me out on that. I posted a bit of a retraction, but was not really as out front as it could have been. Here is a comment her dad posted today:(note that I have removed names)

Don't believe everything a 16 year old girl tells you. especially one who has a grudge to bear against her old man.

first of all, i do not disagree with your political point of view. for the most part i am right in line with you (other than all the hate and cynicism), although you are a little more left than myself.

second, i never told z that she couldn't visit your site because of the political views. i told her that i didn't agree with the language you used. you are a school teacher and yet you use profanity on a site that you know your students visit. nice.

my job is to protect my daughter, mr t. you have incredibly huge influence on z. what she needs are positive influences, not so much with the hate stuff. she needs to know ALL sides of whatever political issues are occuring and try to keep an open mind instead of closing it to just one person's view.

lose the profanity and scale back on the hate and she has my permission. but i think we all know that she will be here anyway. i'm not stupid and there's nothing i can do to keep her off this site.

you have your job and i have mine. let's be responsible.

I am putting this out here so I can answer to it in full view. Firstly, D, let me thank you for taking such an interest in your daughter's actions. I admit that my first reaction was inappropriate, and as it was pointed out to me, there are far too many parents whose apathy only empowers their teenagers' misbehavior. I am very relieved to find that my political views were not the problem. Unfortunately that is what I zeroed in on, and was the crux of my reaction. As for the language, I have backed off quite a bit on it since I started this blog, but the fact that I am not exactly ready for prime time is one of many reasons I left the high school. I am much better suited to the collegiat atmosphere, where the students are old enough to make up their own minds about things. I never expected any of my students to visit The Corner, and was shocked when Z posted her first comment. However, having spent a year amongst her peers, I can assure you that, sadly, the occasional 'f-bomb' and other profanities that find their way into my prose pale in comparison to the casual conversation in the classrooms and hallways of the school. Just as you cannot, should she choose to disobey, keep her totally from this site, I cannot control who comes here. I don't think that my posts are that offensive, even to a 16-year-old, but I will make an effort to consider such things in the future. As for the negativity, you are not the first to point this out to me, and I am working on it. Lastly please know that Z means a great deal to me. She has a lot of talent, and could go far in the creative arts, but when she told me of your decision I did not suggest that she do anything other than obey. As you say I am only hearing her side of things, so rather than inspire her to rebel, I recommended that she do as you asked. I, too, am a father, and I know that I would not want anyone, even a teacher, telling my daughter otherwise.

Again, I thank you for your concern, and welcome your input at any time.



Anonymous said...

This is an interesting exchange on many levels. I am probably looking at this through biased eyes as I am a teacher- but this parent's response is pretty much why I do not live anywhere near where I teach.

In this site you do not publish your full name, exact location, etc and you did not provide this link to any of your students. This seems to be something personal to your life and that was not respected by your student.
So after your student went to probably much trouble to find this site, the parent criticizes your world view. A view never offered inside the classroom and only discovered because the student did not respect your privacy.

Teachers are people. I think the public forgets that. We are not greedy, tax-sucking spendthrifts nor are we saints whose mouths would never utter a foul word. Can you live a life of moral superiority 24/7? No? Not even for $30K a year and decent health benefits?

Bottom line- for the most part, we are all doing the best we can. We love the subjects we teach and we care about kids. A swear word here, a crabby commentary there- c'mon, cut us some slack.

Darrell said...

Thank you for responding to my post. i know it's got to be hard to have a private life and have all the parents waiting for you do something wrong. i also know that what my daughter is exposed to every day at school is a lot worse than anything she'll see on your blog. i know i can't protect her from everything but i'm just trying to shore up what i can. most of the time i feel like l'm trying to stop a flood with a dixie cup. when i saw the few f-bombs on your site i tried it again. it's really not so much about you, but about the control that i'm losing (if i ever really had any) over z. most of the time i'm too hard on z. i'm told that a lot by her mom. i suppose i was this time, too. when she get's back from camp, i'll let her know that i don't mind her coming here.

as for "anonymous":
With blogging, there is no "respecting privacy". the very nature of blogging is that it is NOT private. you put whatever out for the world to see. you wanna see pics of my high school class reunion? just click on my beautiful face over to the right and have at them! :)

Turtle said...

I am kind of torn here...

First, let me say that I am elated to hear that a parent in this day and age of seemingly utter apathy cares enough about his daughter to at least try to regulate her cerebral input. Go Dad! Yay! You are a drop of water in a desert of parental neglect.

Ah, but this brings up a hesitancy as well. While I don't entirely disagree with his points, I hesitate to cheer "D" too loudly, as he, though somewhat mildly, attempts to regulate what Marius pens. Granted, it was just a "cut back and I'll give permission" type of regulation, but that IS regulation, after all. Maybe that's just the "I don't like what you're saying, but will defend your right to say it" part of me rearing its ugly head...

This is your blog, M. This is your space to vent, wail, chastise, gibber, blabber, bibble, mutter and moan. You can also cheer and celebrate. More than anything else, you can opine. This is a place for the good, and the bad, as perceived by Marius. Sometimes strong language is simply part of that. And yes, the language used here is far, far, far lighter than that used in everyday conversation by our "future". I am often appalled to hear what comes out of the mouths of the youth.

And yes, sometimes Marius hates a bit too much. But at least he limits it this, his sanctum sanctorum; his Fortress of Mariustude. Where more appropriate to kvetch? To spew? Where, then, does M go for catharsis?

And "D"? There is a balance. The great part of this is that often, when he is wrong, mistaken or misguided, or fails to see the other side of the coin, there exists "Us", the faithful readers, always prepared to offer a different point of view, a glimmer of sunshine or, sometimes, a textual biff to the head.

The biggest point here, parental kudos aside, is that this... is... a... private... blog. It doesn't say "Public Street Corner" up there in the title. It doesn't say "RT's Corner" either. That she found it on her own is rather remarkable, as there really aren't any clear cut links between Marius and "Mr. T".

There are those who may claim that there is no privacy on the internet, and that is mostly true, but Marius has at least attempted to put some distance between "out there for all the world to see" and "my place".

Marius? You were correct in telling "Z" that she should listen to her father. Whether she does or not is beyond your control. And if you are reading this, "Z", listen to your dad. He really is only trying to look out for your best interests. Be glad that you have one that cares.

And if she is smart enough to find this, then she's smart enough to take this content with a grain of salt and make up her own mind.

Yeah, Marius, you do tend to be a bit spiteful, at times. At least you lace it with humor, and do, once and again, take a little constructive criticism. I can recognize the occassional sparklings of hate, but I am also capable of seeing the jocularity they are written with. Then again, I read you well, as I've known you for... a very long time.

And, perhaps, a creative writer such as yourself can think of better euphemisms than resorting to the oh, too easy profane. But, then again, sometimes an F-bomb is utterly called for.

Just don't forget whose Corner it is, no?

Turtle said...

Wow, was my last post dissembling?! I blame it on lack of sleep.

To sum up:

"D" - Way to go on proactive parenting. It is nice to see a dad who cares.

"M" - This IS your blog, and you are free to write whatever the @#$% you Please.

"Z" - Listen to your parents. If dad says stay away, then stay away. He cares. And, believe it or not, your parents do, quite often, know what they are talking about.

All - Read what you please, but do so objectively, and make up your own mind.

"Z" - I know that last is a contradiction to what I told you before. Welcome to adulthood; the land of confusion.

Turtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marius said...

Wow! This is exactly what I want this blog to be about. Vigorously debating ideas. Thanks for the support, all of you, and T I believe you have delivered the very first virtual 'Biff'. :-) Don't worry, I am not all that capable of totally censoring myself, nor will I hold back on anything I consider important, but it wouldn't kill me to be less negative, and I have already backed off on the language unless it drives home a point. The last couple of years have been a bit rough for the Marius household, and that stress has leaked out into cyberspace here. I am moving into a better place, and am making a conscious effort to brighten up.

And ZoZo, should you see this, please know that I am honored to have you come by, and humbled by the high opinion you have of me, and I shall do my best to not take such things for granted.

Ok, that's done. Anyone have any good fart jokes?

celebhith said...

Fabulous exchange of ideas with no one getting vicious ~ almost unheard of these days!

I'll second the kudos to Z's dad. . . at least he cares. Having said that, I fully understand the feeling that things are totally out of his control with her. I think it's called growing up and we've all been through it. As has been said, if she's smart enough to find this little corner, then she's also likely smart enough to take all M's comments as they are intended.

Cheers to you, Marius, for not only allowing this conversational exchange, but encouraging it! Yea for you!


Techie4Life said...

I see where I mess up. And I think in the future I will try to interpret the things "D" says better and not relay them incorrectly. I don't really bear a grudge against my "old man" as he so aptly put it. I just don't always agree with the things he says. In the past I have wondered if he is just a bit close-minded but I have learned to accept what ever he say now. It's amazing how five weeks of Jesus Camp can change someone, especially me. I meant no harm by my actions and I apologize.

Live Long and Prosper,
ZoZo ("Z")