Sunday, October 17, 2010

Instant Pundits

I watched John Legend stick it to teachers once again on the Bill Maher show the other night. Bill, to his credit, refused to bite, stating (correctly) that most teachers go in it for the love of teaching and the bad ones are only a small part of larger societal and political problems facing the schools. Legend would have none of it. He stuck to his tired Superman stat of how only 1 in 2500 teachers loses their license, compared to something like 1 in 97 lawyers or something. Did it ever occur to Legend that that stat may be skewed due to the fact that almost half of all teachers are either fired or leave voluntarily before the end of five years? That's almost 1250 in 2500 teachers who either lose or give up their licenses. How many doctors and lawyers leave their professions?

Of course, we can't expect John Legend to think of everything. Despite a great public education that allowed him to graduate from high school at the age of 16 as salutatorian and subsequently go on to Harvard, Legend has decided that public schools stink. He has become a pundit on education. How did that happen? He sang a song in "Superman". By that reasoning, Elton John should be a pundit on the crisis in the Congo because he sang "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" in The Lion King.

It seems to me the bar has been set pretty low for pundits these days. If you have a little celebrity or a lot of cash, you can be an instant pundit, especially on education. Unfortunately, you also end up sounding like an idiot, but that doesn't faze most of them.

To be a real pundit, you used to have to actually have experience in a subject. For example, John Legend would have been an excellent pundit on how to look ridiculous in a cowboy hat.

In that spirit, I'd like to offer a few helpful suggestions to today's ed deformers as to what field of punditry they might enter based on their actual life experience and expertise:

Bill Gates:
  • being a dweeb
  • "borrowing" ideas from Steve Jobs
  • forming monopolies and crushing competition
Michelle Rhee:
  • getting engaged to an alleged pedophile
  • alienating entire communities
  • marrying guys named Kevin
Oprah Winfrey:
  • surviving on thigh fat alone for months at a stretch
  • pimping mostly crappy books
  • making middle class women squeal at the thought of maybe winning a toaster
Joel Klein:
  • inflating things, such as test scores and his own ego
  • scalp waxing
  • being a toadie for a billionaire
Michael Bloomberg:
  • controlling the lives of others, especially those on food stamps
  • settling harassment cases out of court
  • overturning laws he doesn't like, such as term limits
I'm working on a few others, such as Randi Weingarten on Fence Straddling and Davis Guggenheim on Weeping for Public School Children as You Drive Your Own Kids to Their Exclusive Private School in your Mercedes. Any other suggestions are welcome.



Miss Eyre said...

Hey, I love picking on Oprah and Joel Klein's policies (or lack thereof) as much as the next blogger, but I also believe in fighting bodysnark wherever I find it. Joel Klein would be just as ridiculous with a full head of hair, and Oprah would be as ill-informed if she was a size 2.

Mr. Talk said...

You're right, Ms. Eyre. What matters is not the shine on Klein's head, nor the cottage cheese on Oprah's thighs, but the blackness of their hearts. But I do find it disturbing that they basically get to call us lazy good-for-nothings while we observe the decencies of debate. No matter. Even though Klein looks like Kukla, the fact that he acts like a puppet with Bloomberg's hand inserted is of greater import.

For the record, I am no Brad Pitt myself. And the turban doesn't help things.

Gary said...

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