Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Only Reason Worth Reading National Review

Is the lovable, witty, charming John Derbyshire. Alas, he writes too little, but here follows another gem:

The strongest impression I got from Iversen’s book [High School Confidential] was of mediocrity. None of the school’s students or teachers seems very smart or interesting, and not much teaching or learning gets done. One of the author’s footnotes tells the essential tale: “As a Mirador twelfth-grader, I never had to write a paper longer than two pages. I never had to find any source beyond the one assigned book.”

This isn’t a slum school, mind. The parents of Iversen’s classmates were small business and professional people and civil servants, some well above middle-middle-class. It’s just that the easy hedonism of life in today’s America — especially, I insist on believing, today’s California — drains life of any need to struggle or concentrate. Even the students’ misdemeanors and extracurricular adventures are insipid and unimaginative by comparison with what I remember of my own...

This is the next generation of Americans? We are doomed, doomed. Or, as any one of Iversen’s female classmates would say — as they all in fact do say, around four times per page: Oh my God...

We are trending towards a state of society in which the adult American male, like the devout Hindu, lives life in four stages. None of our four stages has anything to do with celibacy or responsibility, though, let alone renunciation (what’s that?) Our four stages are: high school, high school, high school, and high school. That’s our truth.

I've rambled on and on about the decrepit state of the American education system, but Derby's comments are especially poignant given the comments, if one could call them that, of Miss Teen SC during the pageant. Her answer is worse than stupid, because it wasn't coherent enough for that. And she's an honor student.


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