The Playful Continuum

I have been a student of the socio-cultural phenomenon American’s know as PLAY, for over ten years. My obsession started when I began working as a substitute teacher for the so-called, “Elementary” grades, (a terribly outdated label), especially Kindergarten and first grade. It was the first time I had ever experienced an environment that was purely playful by right. In other words, 90% of Kinder and First instruction better have some PLAYFULNESS in it or you will NOT REACH THEM.

And I am not referring to orchestrated or formalized playfulness. 

TRUE PLAYFULNESS has a journey. There is unexpected outcomes, even if you do the same thing every day. Thus, non-stuctured PLAYFULNESS is growth, plain and simple…It is GROWTH, and thus, HEALTH…and HOPE.

Upon this somewhat romantic thesis, I have tried to assess the evolution of PLAYFULNESS in America, so far as I have had an opportunity to observe what we all know as PLAYFULNESS and its antithesis. 

What is PLAY?

A basic definition of PLAY for this essay would be 

  1. An act, either social or independent, in which the individual is able to experience growth and self-affirmation, through the unstructured practice of JOYFUL and experimental self-actualization, that produces self-realization, through self-animation.

The PLAYGROUND.

The heart of my studies begins and, to a large degree, ends, at/in/on the PLAYGROUND. 

The joy of the PLAYGROUND is, and always will be, its lability. PLAYGROUNDS are the humans first encounter with complex organization and sociality, but always in a PLAYFUL context. While I agree with the need to resist UNIVERSALIZING or essentializing a practice, I have yet to meet a single philosopher, ancient or otherwise, who doesn’t recognize unstructured PLAY, so-called CHILDISH PLAY, as a universally understood idiom.

I read a book recently, and the central question was, DO YOU RECOGNIZE PLAY WHEN YOU SEE IT?

Of course you do. GO to any PLAYGROUND. And you will see and experience PLAY.

 That’s because, to a child, everywhere has the potential to be a PLAYGROUND. 

Thus, there is a dualism which exists between the child and the PLAYGROUND. It can be actualized anywhere, at any time, and yet there is a formalized understanding of the PLAYGROUND as a particular space, with recognizable practical features that encourage PLAYFUL sociality and interaction. 

Unfortunately, as children get older, schools, and society begin to redefine for the child, the purpose and meaning of PLAY. Unstructured PLAY is equated with childishness, and thus, useless and perhaps, dangerous to establishing order.  As a child grows, PLAYGROUNDS are supplanted by PURPOSEFUL play, like athletics or competitive academics. By the time the student reaches seventh grade, opportunities for unstructured PLAY are almost non-existant, and what is perhaps more impactful, the PLAYGROUNDS are gone. 

For some reason, American academia has decided that PLAYGROUNDS are no longer necessary for all students, elementary and above. 

NO MORE SWINGS

When I discuss this interesting historical PLAYFUL procession with those in Junior High and above, all the way to college, they say the same thing. THEY MISS THE PLAYGROUND.  They miss the swings as much as they miss the social spaces that PLAYGROUNDS create spontaneously and organically. 

This suggests that by removing PLAYGROUNDS we are eliminating historical spaces of intense and satisfying learning that are always optimal because the behavioral and psychological predispositions they enable are favorable and adventurous, regardless of the age-group.

PLAYGROUNDS are and will always be the most impactful practical basis for  human development. 

The Generational Technological Ascendancy Theory (GENTAT) – A New Vision for Technology Education.

 How to Deploy a Truly Transformational Technology Studies Program for Primary and Secondary Education.

By John David Flores

As a highly trained technologist and technology educator for the primary and secondary grades, I have long felt that the current model for technology education in public and private school is grossly inadequate with regards to fulfilling its primary mandate, which is to provide students with the skills, practical and intellectual, they will need to be successful in the 21st century workforce.

The reasons for why technology education fails to meet the needs of its student body are multivarious but can be summarized around its lack of rigor and consistency. By this I mean the typical curriculum for technology is not sufficiently challenging to create transformational learning, so-called “deep learning” that embeds itself in the subconscious. Nor is it consistent, in that the students do not spend enough time practicing and failing, overcoming and advancing.

Ever since technology studies were conflated with Math and Science in the poorly realized STEM acronym, it has become lost within an equally convoluted attempt to educate students across too many subjects without the necessary focus on any one in particular. In other words, STEM education has become a methodology for producing a Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

While it may be an acceptable outcome for our students to be average mathematicians and scientists, it is nothing less than institutional negligence if they complete their formal education without reaching a significant level of expertise in one of the many sub-disciplines which comprise the technological landscape. I know some will object to my claims of negligence and argue that the school system and its students have neither the time nor desire to pursue an intensive program of technological study. Moreover, State standards do not require it.[1]

But this argument willfully ignores the fact that technology in society differentiates and separates itself from all other school programs of study via the level of technological saturation experienced by our youth. Go to any restaurant or public gathering and you will see parent and grandparent alike handing children as young as toddlers a smartphone or tablet computer as if it were a highly complex, digital “See ‘n Say”. These devices are given to children with little or no training on their use. Parents simply open an app that they believe will sufficiently occupy the child and then ignore them until either the dinner or event is completed, or the child becomes bored and begins to complain.

Some would call such behavior “negligent” but it’s this very reliance on technology, and its early introduction into human life, which has produced the most technologically sophisticated generations in history. In essence, such practices force children to develop a level of technological sophistication that outpaces even their ability to speak in coherent sentences. They know how to use a keyboard and mouse before they even know how to spell the words “keyboard” and “mouse”. The only other human practice with ties to future academic study that children are exposed to at the same age and with the same regularity is PLAY. Children learn to be highly skilled in the phenomenon and practice of PLAY before they learn to read, write, add or subtract. Thus, by the time they reach their adolescence, children can rightfully be referred to as, “experts in PLAY”.

Herein lies the tragedy that is technology education in public and private school, its refusal, or inability, to appropriately anticipate and leverage the student’s pre-existing expertise and home support that has become so ubiquitous throughout our society. The fact that standards for teaching technology do not recognize this extraordinary reality only codifies our failure in preparing our young to be the technological experts they can and should become.

What, then, is the answer? How can schools and technology educators provide the level of rigor and consistency that not only appreciates existing proficiencies but challenges them to grow?

A little less than a year ago, I was tasked with restarting what had become a defunct technology studies program for a private elementary and middle school. The previous teacher had followed the traditional model of teaching everything an inch deep and mile wide. He taught a little bit of programming using an online coding site. He taught a little bit of robotics using the well-known DASH and DOT robot models. He taught aeronautics with a soda bottle and water hose and myriad of other Science/Math/Technology integrated projects that like cotton candy, provided students with a quick sugar rush but had no lasting benefits.

The problem: his lesson plan. There was no unifying end goal underlying the choice or delivery of content. It was simply to “expose” the students to a variety of so-called “STEM-focused” activities. Without a verifiable goal to guide and direct his efforts, (other than the fulfillment of various standards), the impact of his pedagogical methods on his students was short-lived. By the time I came on board, the students had only faint memories of what they had done, and no memory of the scientific, mathematical, technological principles that had been the focus of the lessons.

My plan was the exact opposite. Instead of variety, I chose to focus on two specific goals. The first was to leverage the existing technological expertise of my students and train them to be software programmers with the expectation that by the time they reached the fifth grade, they would have sufficient experience and training to produce a legitimate, marketable application, using either JavaScript or Apple’s Swift language.

The second goal was to train them in the art and science of computer hardware and software support so that by 8th grade they could take and pass the CompTIA A+ exam, and even get a job as a first level support engineer.

Accomplishing both goals meant that I would have to expose my students as early as Kindergarten to the fundamentals of algorithmic design and thinking as well as hardware and software technologies. At first, my principal was highly skeptical, “they’re too young” she thought. I pleaded with her to “give me a year to prove my concept.” To her credit, she did, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.

In my first month, I was experiencing 90%+ engagement across the board, even amongst my K-2nd. That number only increased over time as the lessons became more demanding and rigorous. By the second trimester, I had implemented an elective for my middle schoolers, training them to one day takeover the IT support for the entire school. By the end of the year, I had accumulated sufficient data to demonstrate that not only were the students capable of accomplishing great things, technologically speaking, but they had a natural inclination to it. It wasn’t like math or science; it was something they were already familiar with and enjoyed doing.

Even more significant, the data became the basis for a theory that I now promote as the ethos of my pedagogic methodology, I call it the Generational Technological Ascendance theory, GENTAT for short. Essentially it proposes that each successive generation will outpace their predecessor technologically. From a practical standpoint, this means that my Kindergartners should excel in their technological studies faster than my first, second grades and beyond. I am now nearly through the first trimester of the new school year and the data confirm what I had predicted. My Kindergartners have on average, completed their programming lessons faster than any other grade. Moreover, they have required less direct instruction with regards to complex ideas like programmatic loops and code debugging. In addition, I have more first graders that have completed all of their lessons for the entire trimester than any other grade.

This is not to say that the other grades are not engaged or not producing the same level and quality of work, they are, just over a longer period of time.

I am now convinced that I can and will realize my goal of the 5th grade software programmer and 8th grade IT support engineer. More importantly, I am confident that when my students leave my charge, they will have experienced the kind of deep learning that is the basis for long-term retention. In other words, I will have empowered them with the skills to enter the 21st century workforce with confidence and a verifiable body of achievement as proof of their expertise.

 

 

[1] The two primary standards for technology education in California are from the International Standards for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA). The ISTE standards are more generalized and less rigorous than the CSTA and can be easily applied to technology use in other disciplines like math and science. CSTA are far more detailed and technology education specific and if deployed with consistency, across the grade range, have the potential to provide the level and kind of learning proposed by this essay. Unfortunately, many school systems, public and private, are not adequately prepared to satisfy the majority of the CSTA requirements.

You know I’m a man right?

She sneezed

(THIS IS FICTION, just ask my daughter)

I said “honey, I ain’t broken I’m just lost.” She said, “daddy, everything lost is broken.” And I smiled, weakly, guiltily, then tried again.

“But broken is as broken does and we’re not destitute. I mean, you’re eating well, have a roof over your head, your own room (then I blew it and got mad). Yeah, your own fuckin room! And HAVE I EVER violated your privacy?”

My daughter doesn’t cry without smiling. And it’s not because she’s happy. (And it breaks my teeny tinee little heart every time. As it should), So, she started smiling. “So your question was, ‘have you ever violated my privacy.”?

And then the real beating started.

20 minutes later, I was alone. I had been alone for 15 minutes (When she is angry, Sophie is always very direct and economical in describing what you have done to piss her off). Fortunately, most of what she said, I already knew, and had been punishing myself for decades. But, then…

S: “To be honest, I don’t really think you like me daddy.”

Me: I was stunned, speechless, “wha’ no! why?!”

S: “You don’t really respect me or trust me. You’ve been disappointed with my choices ever since I was like ten years old. Sometimes, the way you act, it’s like you hate me for…”

Me: ‘For what?’

Sophie: “For not being more like you.”

Me: (I paused, despite myself) But, no, I love you…

Sophie: “People love what they hate all of the time daddy.”

Suddenly, I heard a buzzing, like a radio station being tuned in, I couldn’t hear anything but a noise and pain, so I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

A lifetime later, I woke up. I was in bed. A soft, comfortable bed in the noontime. I could see children playing outside my window, and then she appeared amongst the others. She was nine years old again. She carried a tether ball and looked up at me with her giant beautiful freckled smile. I smiled and waived at her, crying the whole time. She smiled, then waived back and we just stared at each other, in what seemed like forever, in peace. Then she sneezed, wiped her nose, smiled at me again, and then left with her friends.

I never saw her again.

experiments in boom.

Greetings dear readers. It has been awhile since our last post and I wanted you all to know where I’ve been and what’s to come.

Back in January, I was given the opportunity to test out my theories regarding learning and teaching in a live environment, K-8.

Since then, I have accomplished some truly amazing things while validating my various pedagogic hypotheses. Moreover, I have begun to develop an approach to teaching that has the ability to renew programs that have suffered long-term dysfunctionality, regardless of the subject or the grade.

A methodology that is based in great part on the work of Dr. Susan Isaacs and her emphasis on PLAYful activity as a learning modality.

In any case, I promise a lot of content is coming. A LOT. Until then, please enjoy what we’ve already produced. Take a look in our archives. We’ve been ahead of the game for years. 

My very best to you all.

BOOM

Life of a sub: Greatest burp ever.

(Editor’s note: The following, like all of my accounts as a substitute teacher, is best qualified as creative non-fiction. Though the account is true, the site, school, grade, or subject may have been modified. More importantly, the  names of the students have all been changed.)

Esme: Mr. Flowers, Braydon won’t stop burping.

I was surrounded by students, all wanting my attention, but I could hear, from across the room, the discordant noises of a rude belly full of gas.
 
Me: Ok, ok. Have a seat, everybody. No, now.
 
I stood and walked over to the table labeled DIGNITY.
 
B: BURRRRRRRRP!
 
Entire class, except for Esme, erupts in laughter.
 
Me: Dude! I’m standing right here. Are you crazy or something?
B: I’m sorry Mr. Flowers, I can’t help it. I drank my soda too fast.
Me: Ok, no worries. But instead of belching why not try just blowing the air out.
B: What do you mean? BWAAAAAAP!
 
More laughter.
 
Me: (Trying not to laugh) I mean. You don’t have to force it out, just try and do it quietly.
B: But I don’t know how.
Me: Ok, how about this…
B: BRRRRRP!
Me: (over the laughter) just relax, that’s it. Now don’t focus on your stomach just concentrate on not burping.
 
Braydon looked up at me, doubtful, then took a deep breath, blew it out and tried to relax.
 
A minute went by, followed by another, then another. I smiled at him and he smiled back.
 
Me: See, what did I tell you, all you have to do is rela…
B: BWAAAARRUUUAHHHHHHHHHHWAAAAAAAAAAA….
 
It seemed to go on forever and ever. No one was laughing, we all looked on in silence until he finally finished.
 
Esme: GROSS!
 
Alec: Dude. That was the GREATEST BURP EVER!!!!
 
An atom bomb of laughter.
 
Me: (genuinely worried) Bray, you alright man?
 
Braydon looked up at me smiling and relieved, like he had just had a giant splinter removed from his palm.
 
B: Yeah, I’m fine. I think I’ll be ok now Mr. Flowers. I just had to get that out.
Me: Ok…good.
 
Took me twenty minutes to get everyone back on track.

Life of a sub: The second

(Editor’s note: The following, like all of my accounts as a substitute, teacher is best qualified as creative non-fiction. Though the account is true, the site, school, grade, or subject may have been modified. More importantly, the  names of the students have all been changed.)
 
It was my first day at a school I had wanted to teach at since I first saw it nearly 30 years ago. It was the ideal of a rustic, rural town at the base of a mountain range, the Sierra Foothills, which extended well beyond the incorporated areas of Placer County.
 
Like its surroundings, the school itself was an amalgam of old and new with an emphasis on the former.
 
The architecture had not been updated since the 20th century. It looked and felt like a time before the advent of smartphones and social media. My IPHONE 12 PRO MAX never once held a signal. And yet, that was the beauty of it all.
 
“…a time before the advent of smartphones and social media.”
My job was to teach 2nd Grade, Home Room.
 
For reasons I won’t go into now, 2nd Grade is my favorite.
 
SOME FACTS ABOUT 2nd GRADERS:
1. They stand in lines.
2. They don’t know what ‘lines’ are and never will.
3. They are ALL fragile in their own way.
 
I had just finished giving out the assignment: making wreaths out of branches they’d collected from the redwoods nearby, when I felt the tiniest poke behind me. I turned around and there was HOPE.
 
Big brown eyes framed with brunette hair. About two and half feet tall.
 
Damn if she wasn’t crying.
 
I leaned over as far as I could so she could whisper to me. I asked, “What happened?” In my most gentle voice.
 
She responded in kind, “I miss my momma.”
 
I will never forget the way she looked at me when she said it. I hugged her, as best I could, and said, “I miss my momma too.”
 
The rest of the day, I caught her looking at me, not smiling, observing.
 
To be honest, it made me wonder if I had crossed a line by sharing my feelings.
 
But then, as they all filed out at the end of the day, I suddenly felt tiny arms wrap themselves around my waist. I looked down and there was HOPE smiling up at me.
 
I hugged her back, best I could, and then watched as she walked down the old stone steps where her Momma was waiting and then, disappeared amongst the other parents and students.

Ty cobb and baseball’s new gentleman’s agreement.

(Editor’s note: Greetings and thank you from the BOOM. One of our readers asked for the following article to be retracted or the section on Ty Cobb removed because it perpetuates an unproven mythology of Ty as a person and player. They refer to the book written by Charles Leehrsen, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, in which he argues that the stories of Ty as a violent racist are largely, if not entirely, untrue, and that there is even evidence that Ty could have been opposed to racial injustice, like the segregation of Baseball.

And while Mr. Leehsen’s thesis may in fact be true, we, like him, do our research and we respectfully disagree with his argument. Ty was a racist and violent, some could argue, murderously violent. Unfortunately, all we have is circumstantial evidence to demonstrate the character truths of the man. Nonetheless, we are glad to have an opposing viewpoint that is so well researched and chooses a challenging position to a very complicated subject.

Finally, Ty Cobb, is not the only one. There was a system of racism that was perpetuated within the MLB for nearly sixty years. The kind of system that can only be maintained if those in power are 1) aware of it 2) support its purpose. There is no doubt many more than the four men that are mentioned in the following are guilty of being white supremacists. The four in question were just more obvious about their views. We hope, as always, that you enjoy the following. BOOM)

Watching Major League Baseball’s World Series, it’s difficult not to get drawn into the mystique, or maybe more accurately, the mythology of the so-called, “national pastime.” Since its inception in the middle of the 19th century, baseball has been about one thing, inclusion. All you need is a stick and a rock and a small piece of space, and you have the makings of a baseball game. Anyone, regardless of gender or race, or economic circumstances, can play baseball.

It is truly one of the greatest inventions of humankind.

In America, it is the superlative American Sport.

A container and curator of the American experience, it holds a very privileged place as a reflection of our culture and society. In this way, baseball acts like a mirror, reflecting those issues that are foremost in the American mind. Take for example the most recent world series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. Is it surprising that the Atlanta Brave “tomahawk chop” has attracted so much controversy? Not when one considers how systemic racism has become one of the defining issues for America in the 21st century.

In the past decade, American’s have demanded that dozens of pieces of historical materiality, such as statues and paintings, be removed from publicly accessible areas, including parks, government buildings, publicly funded institutions, because they reflect problematic themes that have been deemed insensitive to under-represented populations. 

For example, on September 8, 2021, a “12-ton…statue”[1] honoring the former head of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, General Robert E. Lee, was removed from Richmond, Virginia’s so-called Monument Avenue, where it had stood for over one-hundred and thirty years. Despite General Lee’s significance as one of the most important military figures in American history, the monument had long been viewed as a “symbol of racism and oppression…[an] idol of white supremacy.”[2]

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – SEPTEMBER 08: Crews remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue, September 8, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia is removing the largest Confederate statue remaining in the U.S. following authorization by all three branches of state government, including a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. (Photo by Steve Helber – Pool/Getty Images)

But it wasn’t until the murder of George Floyd, and the re-emergence of the movement known as Black Lives Matter in 2020, that talk of its removal became an American, socio-cultural cause cé·lè·bre. The removal of General Lee’s controversial sculpture and pedestal seemed to be the pinnacle of a nationwide effort to eradicate all vestiges of racist symbolism. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “168 Confederate symbols [have been] renamed or removed from public spaces…”[3]

With all the scrutiny on American institutions, it seems reasonable to expect that Major League Baseball (MLB), and its famous museum, the Hall of Fame (HOF), would be subject to the same kind of racial-scrubbing that has occurred throughout the country. Sadly, the opposite is true, instead of ridding itself of the remnants of its racist past, the MLB and its HOF seem content to simply ignore the issue and pretend that they are exempt from such criticism.

For almost fifty years, the Hall of Fame has endeavored to “honor…and immortalize (italics mine)” its inductees as representative “of the highest mark of achievement in the game”[4] that, for over a century, has been widely recognized as America’s, “national pastime”.[5] As “keeper of the game”[6] the Hall of Fame’s self-proclaimed, three-fold mission has been “preserving [baseball’s] history…honoring excellence [amongst the baseball community]…[and] connecting generations [of its fans].”[7] It is for these reasons, the HOF holds a unique and some would say “hallowed” place within American society and culture.[8]

And yet, it continues to honor people everyone (by everyone I mean baseball historians, players of the game, coaches, GMs, etc.) know were violent and hate-filled white supremacists, who openly mistreated Black Americans because of the color of their skin.[9]

Perhaps the most egregious example is Ty Cobb.

tyrus cobb

To call Ty a ‘racist’ would only have pissed him off. He was a full-fledged member of the white-supremacy movement that established itself during Reconstruction and led to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

In his book, Baseball as I have Known It, renowned baseball journalist and historian Fred Lieb wrote, “Ty had a contempt for Black people and in his own language, ‘he would never take their Iip’… I don’t know if [he] was a Klansman but I suspect he was.”[10]

Ty was also violent.

 

Of course, it was downplayed and marginalized in the media because, just like now, NO ONE really wanted to talk about racism and baseball, the gentleman’s agreement[11] made sure of that. But just as Ken Burns’ asserts,[12] and I agree, Ty Cobb is a stain upon the MLB as the American, national pastime.

In an era in which America is demanding its institutions rid themselves of any racist iconography, how is it possible that a man like this could still be in the Hall of Fame?

The answer is simple. No one wants to talk about it. Not the team owners, not the players, not the media, not the fans, not the NAACP, not BLM; nobody wants to talk about Ty Cobb or the others.

It reminds me of Baseball’s first gentleman’s agreement[13] when, back in the late-19th century, white baseball owners in both the major and minor leagues, struck a deal to prohibit the hiring of black players. Even though everyone knew of the arrangement including the owners, the players, the commissioner, and the media, few ever complained. In fact, some in the media became apologists for segregation, more or less parroting[14] what the owners argued was the real reason for why Black players didn’t play in professional baseball, because they weren’t good enough.[15]

The leagues would remain racially segregated for nearly 60 years until Jackie Robinson played his first major league game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.[16]

And yet, even though it has been integrated for over 80 years, Major League Baseball stubbornly refuses to free itself of the memories of its racist origins by continuing to honor individuals who represent the worst of America’s racist past.

Why? Because the Gentleman’s agreement of the 19th century continues to exist in the silence of those who cannot or will not hold baseball up to the same standards as other American institutions.[17] This includes the ownership, management, player personnel, and the media. By refusing to hold Baseball accountable, leaders of sports media like ESPN and Sports Illustrated have made themselves complicit to Major League Baseball’s gross racial insensitivity.

They’re tearing down statues in Virginia, they’re pulling down paintings at the Capitol, but no one wants to remove Ty Cobb from the Hall of Fame.

Removing the racist residue from the US Capitol.

For six decades, the MLB excluded thousands of American citizens from participating in the national pastime because of the color of their skin.[18] For it to continue as America’s socio-cultural analogue, it must now finish the work of history and remove the shadows of hate that continue to darken its halls.

[1] https://abcnews.go.com/US/virginia-remove-12-ton-robert-lee-statue-state/story?id=79862294

[2] See note 1.

[3] https://www.splcenter.org/presscenter/splc-reports-over-160-confederate-symbols-removed-2020

[4] https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers

[5] https://baseballhall.org/about-the-hall

[6] See note 4.

[7] https://baseballhall.org/

[8] See note 4.

[9] Famed baseball journalist, Fred Lieb claimed both Tris Speaker (HOF, 1937) and Roger Hornsby (HOF, 1942) were members of the KKK (Lieb, 54). It was once said of Cap Anson (HOF, 1939), “…[he] was one of the prime architects of Baseball’s Jim Crow policies…” and had, “an intense hostility toward blacks” (Tygiel, 14). This means that of the first 27 inductees into the Hall of Fame, between 1936-42, four were hostile white supremacists. Given Baseball’s early history, there are more than likely others that should be added to this list. Kenesaw Landis, was another major figure in the fight to keep baseball white; (https://www.witf.org/2020/06/30/a-dark-past-mvps-say-time-to-pull-kenesaw-mountain-landis-name-off-plaques/). In a recent article for the BOOM, I discussed the segregationist period just prior to Jackie Robinson and the ugly history of the MacPhail Report, a terrible reminder of Baseball’s institutionalized racism (https://www.boomsalad.com/english/nonfiction/fordfrickaward).

[10] Fred Lieb, Baseball as I have Known It, (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1977), 54.

[11] Jules Tygiel, Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 13. This subject will discussed in detail later on in this essay.

[12] Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns, Season 1, Ep. 3, The Faith of Fifty Million People: 1910-1920, Directed by Ken Burns, 1994, DVD. 15:46.

[13] Tygiel, 13.

[14] The Sporting News, August 6, 1942 edition, in an OP-Ed entitled, “No Good From Raising Race Issue”, gave a lengthy rebuttal to those calling for the integration of baseball. Not coincidentally, their arguments would closely resemble those of the owners and league presidents who favored segregation, as detailed in the MacPhail Report of 1946. (Tygiel: 38, 39).

[15] See the BOOM’s discussion of the MacPhail report (https://www.boomsalad.com/english/nonfiction/fordfrickaward/)

[16] https://www.boomsalad.com/english/nonfiction/fordfrickaward

[17] Speaker Pelosi orders the removal of paintings from the U.S. Capitol building. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/us/politics/pelosi-confederate-portraits-house.html

[18] Tygiel, 30.

Life of a sub: First Man on the moon.

(Editor’s note: The following, like all of my accounts as a substitute teacher, is best qualified as creative non-fiction. Though the account is true, the site, school, grade, or subject may have been modified. More importantly, the  names of the students have all been changed.)
 
I was standing outside, leaning against the open door made of metal and painted a rusty-red.
 
One by one, they walked in.
 
Each with a world ahead of them.
 
Turner: Yo Mr. Flores!!!
 
Hand in a fist headed for my face, in very slow motion.
 
Me: (FIST BUMP) Yo Turner. Are you going to be good today?
 
T: (A smile with curly blonde hair) What do you mean?
 
The day before he asked to go to the bathroom, then disappeared for 30 minutes. I had security looking for him.
 
Me: (LOL) Yeah. nice. You know they put people in jail for less.
 
T: (suddenly serious) They do?
 
Me: No. I just like to see you with fear in your eyes. Look no trouble and I promise I’ll let you be the “teacher’s pet”.
 
T: DONE!
 
Me: Yeah, freakboy, get inside.
 
Turner passes me by and I can hear him and his favorite friend greet each other. Suddenly,
 
Turner: YO MR. F? CAN ME AND …
 
Me: No!
 
T and Friend: Ahhhhh!
 
I chuckled
…and then I saw her.
 
She was maybe a sophomore or younger. She had dyed her hair a dirty platinum. Her eyes were red and it was clear she was struggling.
 
Me: (I smiled at her) Hi, hold on a minute. ( I whispered to her).
 
She stopped and looked up at me.
 
She had freckles and blue eyes full of tears.
 
(It’s times like this I have to remember I’m a teacher, not a father.)
 
Me: (I nodded) Can you talk?
She tried and it ended in more tears.
Me: Okay. It’s going to be okay. You are safe here. You understand? You are safe.
D: (nods).
Me: Ok, how bout you sit right there on the bench in the garden and take a breather? I’ll be right back.
 
I promise, I’ll be right back.
 
She nodded and started walking.
 
Now, I’ve been formally trained how to help students that are experiencing crisis, even those with severe trauma. It’s rare though that you have to use every bit of learning and talent for one person.
 
Eventually, we sent her home.
 
Turns out there wasn’t any particular ‘thing’ that’d happened.
 
The poor thing was unhappy…and tired.

BOOM Salad calls out the so-called “revolutionary org” known as “Anonymous” for its complete failure as an engine of change, as a revolutionary counterpoint to what Althusser referred to as the “Ideological State Apparatuses”

ddjpb

At its inception, the hacker co-operation known as Anonymous portrayed itself as a post-modern antithesis to modernity’s’ indiscretions. They were, we believed, the TECHNOLOGICAL antigen to the poisonous ideological formations of mainstream tech. And as such, we believed, they would save us from being overrun by techno-fascism. A decade later and one has to wonder if the Anonymous experiment was ever more than another media tool, a compromised pseudo-angst comedy of wasted and ineffectual technological brilliance.

They had the keys, so they said, and they understood the controversies and stood firmly on the side of mankind, so they argued…and yet, what has been their legacy? A series of ill-effective media friendly outbursts that only served to solidify the institutionality they claimed to oppose.

Chicken little

The Wolf of the three little pigs

Compromised, mediated, undermined, and now, insignificant.

That is the historical trajectory of the most powerful techno-community ever devised.

BOOM Salad calls you cowardly for not rising to and fulfilling your so-called mission statement, your vision statement…the purpose by which you even exist.

Grade: F-

(Come get me. I am wide open and everyone knows me. I have nothing to hide. Not like you. Only cowards have need for shelter from the violence of the oppressor.)

Where Smart People Go BOOM!

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