Saturday, October 31, 2009


"Hey Grandpa, what is your opinion of socialism?"
"I've never heard of a socialist system not turning into communism."
"But don't you believe that we, as humans could do better: share the worlds riches; distribute wealth equally? Isn't giving up a few comforts worth knowing that no one is living out on the streets?"
"I believe that the world works the way it is: it couldn't succeed any other way. I worked hard to get to where I am in life, and I'm not about to give it all up. I think I deserve what I have."
This was a small portion of a conversation I had with my grandfather several months ago.
I love my grandpa, but at times, he can be more stubbornly pigheaded then I can, and-in my opinion-about all the wrong things. He sniffs disapprovingly when I come to family get-together's dressed in baggy t-shirts and camouflage pants. He becomes annoyed when I explain earnestly why he doesn't need two cars in his driveway. On the topic of socialism, his response to my ideals was no different.

Personally, I think that socialism, while flawed, is a better option then the money grubbing, capitalistic world in which I currently dwell. I will pause to take a deep breath as I prepare to say something incredibly cheesy: I don't want money. I will give you a moment to wipe the tears of admiration from your eyes. Yes, that sounds stupid, but no, I'm not lying. I know I need to have some money to survive, but I don't want to live in a big house in the suburbs, or drive an SUV. It is my dream to live in an apartment in some large city. I don't want to be rich; I don't know how to be. I'm not rich now, and not always having enough money to buy an Ipod Touch may seem like the worst thing on earth, but it's a lot better to come home to your small, lively pigsty of a home then to live in a huge house that echoes when you call out at night.
Oh dear, I seem to have drifted off topic; back then, to socialism.
Ms G., whom, as many of you may know, was my teacher last year, was the one who first explained the constructs of socialism to me.
As she told me and my classmates of what a world with a socialistic economy might be, I was far from convinced; I wanted to succeed, I wanted to be rich, and I knew that with my grades, succeeding would be a simple matter. That was when Ms G used an example that changed my mind.
"If Matt and Eva both have the same jobs," She said, grabbing my classmate and myself at random, "And both work the same hours, but Matt works extremely hard, yet struggles to do his work, whereas Eva is lazy, but does an exceptional job at everything and constantly gets promoted, is that fair?"
Matt didn't think so, and on contemplation, neither did I. Ms G. had grabbed to students at random, but for me, it struck deeply. In truth, I am lazy. I don't do my homework, yet I excel in every subject (except French). I've never had a grade lower then an "A" (except in French). I have friends who study for hours every night, stay late after school to get help from the teacher, pay a tutor, and still barely pass with a C-. I sit around drawing and reading, while they work their asses off: is that fair? According to Capitalism, I suppose it is. According to Capitalistic ideals, of course, those who fail in life were lazy; I must work harder then they, to achieve my grades, to find my place in society.
Grandpa clearly believes himself to be more deserving of his station in life, because he worked hard to accumulate wealth. In his mind, those who are poor are slime, because they brought their poverty upon themselves; I disagree. Yes, some people are lazy, but poverty isn't a choice; our society is set so that there are only enough jobs for 90% of the population. This insures that there will always be people willing to take even the worst of jobs, endangering their lives in dangerous working conditions for terrible pay. Is that fair? What you answer to that question makes the difference between socialism and capitalism.

Everyone is entitled to there opinion, and this is mine:
No; it isn't fair. No one should ever have to starve to death on the streets, while others eat caviar and drive multiple cars. No; I don't think that your quality can or should be measured by the money in your pocket. No; it isn't okay to believe you deserve the things you have in life, and take them for granted
. I believe that socialism can work, if we all understand that giving up on having more is worth it if everyone has enough.

Idealistic socialistic high school kid signing out,


PS. Hey grandpa, I hope you're not reading this, because I have a feeling you won't give me any birthday presents if you do! Sorry to use you, but you make for such interesting topics! (Grandma! MAKE HIM GIVE ME BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I'm sure you, my readers, looked at the topic and groaned. "What's wrong with this kid?" You asked yourselves. "Has she finally cracked?" Maybe.
When I started my first year of high school this fall, I entered my homeroom classroom with some trepidation. The reason: my homeroom class was French! I have a fairly high academic level, but French is my greatest weakness. For this reason, I opted to take French at an applied level this year. Unfortunately, my teacher doesn't appreciate the lax attitude with which my class behaves.
When I walked in, the first person I saw was an acquaintance of mine Alice*, with whom I had attended a science camp several years previously. The two of us, coupled with another, had been the only girls there, and as a result, we were happy to be reunited. Alice, being a girl with attitude, had opted to wear baggy sweat pants, a brightly coloured tank-top, and a black and white baseball cap, adorned with loud buttons.
As the seat beside her was taken, I chose to sit behind her so as to converse throughout the class.
The bell rang, and in marched our teacher Mme P.*
The moment Mme P. walked in, I predicted a fight: she had a grouchy, bossy expression, and obviously didn't wish to be in the room at all.
"Everyone take out your notebooks," said Mme P., with an air of contempt. Her eyes fell upon Alice. "Hat's off," she added impatiently.
"No," Retorted Alice, causing our teacher to look around sharply. She was clearly not accustomed to having her will contested.
"I said take your hat off," Mme P. repeated.
"Because it's school policy."
Now, I knew that this wasn't exactly correct, and I immediately raised my hand to say so.
"Yes?" Said my teacher angrily, noticing my raised hand.
"That's incorrect," I replied, being a know-it-all, "It says in the school dress code and decorum policy that the hats rule is at the discretion of the teacher."
"Well, I'm the teacher, and I say no hats," She retorted. "And as I said," She continued, repeating herself, "I'm upholding school policy."
"Okay..." Was my doubtful reply.
Alice refused to take of her hat, and was sent to the office. Since that day, she's been suspended from class two times, and has had to spend her school days in the office. The severity of the punishment begs a question; what the hell is wrong with wearing a hat?
According to my middle school teacher, Ms. G., taking off ones hat upon entering a building is an old tradition, and follows the rules of the middle class. "The middle class?" You ask? By middle class, I mean the halfway point in society; a level of wealth that is not rich, but most resoundingly not poor.
As a member of the "creative class" (A fancy word for in-between dirt poor, and middle class.), I see no reason as to why I should conform to an archaic social norm. Taking off your hat was once a sign of respect, but in this day and age, why do we continue to slave at the feet of the cruel slave-driver that is tradition?
I don't know why Alice didn't want to take off her hat; perhaps it was special to her, maybe she considered it an act of defiance; she might have simply seen no reason to comply to our bossy teacher's rules. Who knows? Not me. Whatever the reason, I don't see a problem with wearing a baseball cap. (If you think otherwise, I'd be happy to hear your opinions!)

Hats off to you,


"Is violence ever justified?" Asked my former teacher Ms G.*
"Sometimes," I replied positively. "If someone attacked you, and you needed to defend yourself, it would be okay."
"Really? Do you really think that?" Asked Ms G.
"Yeah!" Was my vehement response.
"I don't believe that violence is ever acceptable. If someone hurt me, I would allow them to."
"But why?"
"If someone attacks you, they can damage your body, perhaps your mind, but on the inside, you'll still be okay. If you hurt someone, it destroys your soul. If somebody hurt me, I think it would damage them more then me."
"Uh...I guess so..."

That was the end of all conversation on the topic. On the inside however, my mind continued to churn, mulling over the idea. Is violence ever justified? Is it ever okay to hurt someone? I had heard what Ms G. had to say, but I still didn't agree.

I won't lie: I'm selfish. I don't care about being pure or whole. I don't want to be good; I want to live, and if I have to use violence, I will do so.
Maybe Ms G. was right, but I'm not one to passively allow someone to hurt me. Perhaps it will hurt them more then me, but I don't have to courage to find out.
I hope that one day, I will be as strong and brave as my teacher, but I'm just a thirteen year old girl, struggling to survive; gasping for air like a fish out of water.
I hope one day, I learn to breath.

Until that day, selfish teenager signing out,
*Yeah, it's nothing personal, but I don't use people's real names on my blog, and we-my class, all called her Ms G. anyway! :) Also, I'm not sure I succeeded in memorizing the conversation perfectly, but the rough idea can be found in this post.