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  • Children of Eden written by Joey Graceffa
    By: Destiny Breniser This book was published in 2016 with its genre being Young Adult,  Dystopian, and Apocalyptic. This story is about Rowan, who is a second-born child living in a city where her entire existence is illegal. She longs for the day when she can leave her family’s house and live without fear.  She […]
  • An Unwanted Guest written by Shari Lapena
    By: Destiny Breniser A classic whodunnit that keeps you guessing till the very end. With twelve characters to read varying points of view from, there is always something happening to leave you wondering what is going on.  This book was published in 2018 with its genre being a mystery thriller. The story starts with Reily […]

How pogs teach us to value flip-flopping

I have discovered my new favorite point of irony. The U.S. is a bastion of acceptance in which ideas, philosophies and values are traded like pogs – or like pogs were traded, once upon a playground. My point is: We’re all walking around with mismatched little cardboard disks – er, values. Our old “slammers” – integrity, hard work, honesty, family values – are mixed in with tie-dye skulls, hacksaw-edged disks (anyone ever figure those out?) and cute images of puppies and kitties (I am assuming that was a one-run production).

Bad metaphor aside, let’s look at some mismatch.

Old value: Suffering builds character. OK, maybe not suffering, but definitely hard work. And maybe a little bit of scarcity. And not always getting your way. New value: Love and kindness are divine, and our children are fragile creatures who must be nurtured and encouraged.

It’s a new teacher’s nightmare. A class of 25 8-year-olds, complete with baggy hand-me-downs, runny noses and miscellaneous noises you try not to think about. Well, that part’s the blessing. The nightmare comes when 23 of those children are taught by mommy and daddy that their way is not always best and the Big Person at the front of the room is to be respected.

Then of course there are the two who have been assured by their parents and Barney that they are, in fact, unique; special little angels who prey upon the comparably saintly disciplined children. I’ve seen this personally as a lifeguard, and I’ve heard plenty of stories from pending teachers.

And according to those going into education, the true nightmare is parent-teacher conferences. No longer can you expect to explain a problem and work for a solution. At best you now get a view into a dark realm of pop therapy and “Nurturing for Dummies.”

And whatever you do, don’t discipline a child. Unless of course you like being on the evening news. Kind of makes me glad I will never teach someone else’s children.

OK, next example. I’m taking this one from the presidential primaries. Let’s talk about the value of consistency. Oh yeah, and the value of open debate, discussion, and revision of ideas.

Now I’m not too horribly na’ve, I know that most candidate-speak falls under the category of “My soul? Sure, where do I sign?” But seriously, who thought of attacking consistency?

I can understand the value of consistently upholding your values (albeit circular), but the candidates are taking it to the extreme. Maybe Mitt and Rudi really are flip-flops who will say anything necessary to get a vote. But should we not at least entertain the thought that they considered their positions, decided they were flawed, and changed their stance? How could that possibly be a bad thing?

This next story has been told so many times I sometimes forget it’s my own. For those of you new to the program, I tend to be relatively conservative. I was not always. Throughout high school and my introduction here at the University, I was a self-identified socialist. I abhorred Ayn Rand – now one of my icons – and pushed a platform that would get me disowned by the College Democrats. After getting crushed in a few debates, getting further into my studies, and finally opening some of the books on my former hate list, I somehow got to where I am.

So should I be condemned for inconsistency? Personally I am much more wary of someone who is absolutely consistent – a person who cannot be swayed – than someone who can acknowledge when they are wrong. Or maybe I’m just defending my fellow spineless flip-floppers.

Moving on. Consider how many publicly-lauded values are contradictory. Proponents of dignity and proponents of freedom of expression (at least, the fringe elements) have been battling over everything from pornography to Bowling Green City Park decency codes. Only an extremist would refuse to acknowledge the necessity of either value, so why is it so hard to put the debate in rational terms?

Similarly, how do we reconcile cultural traditions with minority sensibilities? Just recently I caught a letter to the editor in this paper berating the editors for using Christmas iconography with no representation for other cultures. Guess we should start berating Wall-Mart, Target, Sears, Home Depot – and any I’ve forgotten – for their crass insensitivity. Or we could try to understand that the absence of an inflatable menorah does not translate to disrespect (I would tend to think the opposite).

So in closing, maybe Mitt really did have a crisis of conscious that led him to change his stand. And maybe we can start to actually look at the debate instead of barreling over anyone in our way. Respect and acceptance are nice values to tout. The irony I so love is that they have to be applied both ways to mean anything. And for fellow pog fans out there, who knows, maybe someday someone will finally reclaim the long lost “slammer” of reasonable discourse.

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