Taunton, Massachusetts, public school officials suspended a second grader for drawing a stick figure of Jesus on the cross after his teacher instructed the class to draw an image that reminded them of Christmas. The eight-year-old special needs boy was then required to undergo violence counseling before officials allowed him to return to school.
As Americans come to dread the increasingly bromidic nature of the festive season (where, that is, they are still allowed to celebrate Christmas at all), they might find it profitable to reflect upon the First World War. For it was that conflagration that did so much to make the West what it is today.
When I was a wee lad in elementary school — this was back when global cooling was dogma — we kids had all heard about killer bees. You may remember the story: Scientists in Brazil had bred the African honey bee with a European honey bee and succeeded in creating, well, a really mean bee. These hybrids then escaped from their captors and started spreading throughout the Americas, bullying the nice bees and occasionally killing people. This prompted some sensationalistic stories in the media about the perils of these impudent insects, and we kids were scared. Would K-i-l-l-e-r B-e-e-s (gasp!) be the end of us? I suppose it could have made a good movie. The “Bees from Brazil,” anyone?
A generation after George Washington’s Christmastime farewell to his troops and to the Congress who commissioned him in 1775, Clement Clarke Moore penned the iconic poem he called “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” but known to most as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
A lot has changed since 1960. If Connie Francis were to sing “Where the Boys Are” today, she would not likely be talking about Ft. Lauderdale. And she probably wouldn’t be talking about college, either. This is because, in a decades-old phenomenon, boys have increasingly been stumbling academically.