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What if I’m wrong?
Are we the baddies?
I have always thought that I had a reasonably good grasp of things and a fairly common-sense approach to life in general.
I believe that I know the difference between right and wrong, between good and bad and I thought I knew the difference between art and pornography.
Apparently, I was wrong. It seems that one parent in the US has complained that 6th-grade children (11-12 yo), were exposed to pornography during a Renaissance art lesson at the Tallahassee Classical School.
Now some of you might run to my defence and claim that I am not mistaken and that Michelangelo’s statue of David is art and not pornography. You might say that it is only the misguided musings of one parent and that they are the ones who have it all wrong.
That assertion is of little comfort to Hope Carrasquilla, the principal of the school who has been forced to resign by the school board. There are reports that the resignation was a result of a notification process not being followed rather than the issue of exposure to pornography. A further 2 parents complained that they were not told in advance of the class that their children would be exposed to the male nude sculpture. Despite that, I am struggling to believe that one single event has caused this much outrage and disruption.
The media reporting around the incident has overwhelmingly taken the view that the school has sacked a principal because a parent can’t tell the difference between art and pornography.
Perhaps there are other issues that we are not aware of that have influenced the board, but however you dress it up, the optics are not good. Whatever the misdemeanours of the principal, the school does not come away from this looking good.
Being of a curious mind, I googled the school in question and came across the following statement on their website:
Classical education is the study of the traditional liberal arts and sciences, which cultivates wisdom and virtue through the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. The word “liberal” comes from the Latin word “libertas” meaning “freedom.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science describes a liberal education this way: “…liberal education produces persons who are open-minded; conscious of their opinions and judgments; reflective of their actions; and aware of their place in the social and natural worlds.
Now when I think of classical education, I expect that it will include exposure to language and arts. The school itself has added the words liberal and open-minded, which further suggests that they are teaching a broad range of views. I expect the children to be exposed to ideas and concepts that might challenge them but will add to their growth as individuals. I expect them to read widely, to be introduced to new concepts and to be taught to think for themselves.
I don’t know about you, but when we sent our kids to school, there was an implicit level of trust that the school would deliver our children an education and that they would have the best interests of the students at heart. I did not require or expect a notification that the children might be exposed to art, including nudity. I did expect, and received, multiple notices about class trips with invoices for expenses associated with the excursions.
This whole episode has left me with a number of questions. Why did the parents who complained send their children to a liberal arts school? Why, if a classical nude sculpture is seen as pornography, did they not send their child to a school more suited to their beliefs?
If I have it all wrong regarding art and pornography, then what else have I got wrong? What other areas of my belief system are out of step with reality?
Maybe we don’t have free will. Perhaps we are all part of some giant simulation designed by hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional creatures trying to answer the ultimate question. We could even exist in our galaxy which is simply one of many in a bag of galaxies being played with like marbles by some alien infant. Or we could all be replicants, unaware of our true origin with implanted memories to fool us into thinking we belong.
Are we the baddies? Maybe the Tallahassee parent is right? Maybe my worldview is flawed and I am living a life deluded by my preconceptions.
Even if I am wrong, then I am happy in my delusional world. I’ll keep taking the blue pill and live in blissful ignorance, rather than the red pill and exist in a reality where the naked human form is considered wrong and damaging to anyone who sees it.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.
For those of you unfamiliar with the particular phrase, “Yeah, Nah” it is a non-committal way of saying no, common in New Zealand and Australia.