Friday, January 2, 2009

Tomato, Tomahto

You know, you can give anything, anything at all, any name you want to give it, that doesn't necessarily change much. Just because I say the sky is green doesn't mean the sky is really green. (All that means is that I've been sniffing glue.) Or if I call a banana a 'crook neck fruit', that doesn't mean it's going to catch on, nor does it mean that other people are going to believe me and start calling it the Chiquita crook neck fruit. That would be silly. But there's a fine line (apparently) between just making stuff up/calling stuff what you want to call it and using the old standby of a "technicality" to justify your making stuff up/calling stuff whatever you want. The "technicality" does little to reinforce your point or solidify your basis. (It works a lot better if you don't have to admit or mention that you are making the point that you're making based upon a "technicality". Yeah, people punch other people for that.)

That being said, I go now to a story that was run by the AP regarding Sarah Palin's interpretation of what does or does not constitute a high school "dropout". Specifically, Caribou Barbie's interpretation of whether her daughter or her allegedly future son-in-law are high school "dropouts". I'm sure you'll be shocked, just shocked, when I tell you that Sarah Palin says that both of them are not, repeat not, not high school "dropouts".

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are who Governor Palin has jumped in to defend by issuing a strongly worded statement and by speaking with the Associated Press on Wednesday. Now you may recall that Bristol just gave birth to her and Levi's son, a one small child named Tripp, less than a week ago. Now, when you've just barely turned eighteen and haven't finished high school yet, trying to work in having a baby in the midst of all of that can be pretty tricky. Not to mention having your mom run for Vice President of the United States at the same time as well. Yep, that's one hectic schedule right there.

Now, if you're me, you're thinking that seventeen/eighteen and still in high school is probably not the best time in one's life to go around procreating. Of course, if seems like the perfect time to be having all of the sex! That's what high school is for. Learning things that you'll need to get you into college and meeting other people to have sex with. That's high school. But if you're going to try and have a child with all of that, it just isn't going to work out very well. That's why folks in this situation usually stop going to school. And another word for "to stop going to school" is "to dropout". Can you say "to dropout"? Good. How 'bout you, Governor Palin? Oooh! Not so good there.

In October, the AP reported "...that Johnston dropped out of high school to work on the North Slope oil fields" and so Sarah Palin wanted to correct that information. by speaking with the AP on Wednesday and telling them that "18-year-old Levi Johnston is enrolled in high school through a correspondence program." She's just now getting around to correcting that? They reported it in October! I know, I know, she was busy running around after Old Man Grandpa John McCain for a few months there, but doesn't she have a staff? Sure she does. OK, then. So what's the reason for saying something NOW? (Actually, what's the reason for the lad not coming forward or contacting the AP and saying something? It's one of three things. He either a) doesn't know that it's being said, b) he doesn't care that it's being said, or c) it's true. Your choice. I'm going with "c".)

I'm guessing the reason for "correcting" the "mis-information" now is because it's also being reported that her daughter, the one giving all the birth the other day, had also dropped out of high school. It's one thing to have your alleged future son-in-law drop out of high school, but when you're the hottest governor of the coldest state and they start saying the same thing about your own daughter? Well, that calls for some stern words of correction to be issued immediately. And if not immediately, then right after about a million bloggers have posted about it.

"The governor said her daughter is enrolled in regular high school and has taken correspondence courses." See, that sounds an awful lot like her statement about Levi. And both of those statements seem to go on the "technicality" argument. You might notice that her statement doesn't say that either one of them are currently or actively participating in said correspondence courses/programs. She said that her daughter "has taken correspondence courses." Well, I have taken a driving test before, that doesn't mean I'm currently taking Driver's Ed. And you can be enrolled in a gym, that sure as hell doesn't mean you're going. That just means you have a little laminated card with your picture on it that, contrary to the beliefs of some, will not let you check out library books, nor operate a motor vehicle. (Go figure.) All it will do is let you go work out at the gym that you're enrolled in...IF you go there to do so. If you don't, well, the gym ain't coming to you!

See, when you go to high school, the usual expectation or popular school of thought is that one will attend said high school until they graduate. If one stops going to high school before one graduate and one has no intention of returning, it is said that one has "dropped out". If one is still enrolled in high school and stops going and doesn't appear to have any intention of returning (but has taken correspondence courses because one's mother is the governor), it can be said that one has "dropped out" in that situation as well.

How is this any different than someone who stops going to high school, say, fifteen years ago and then one day decides to enroll in some correspondence program to get their diploma? Just because they are enrolled in that correspondence program, does that mean that they are no longer a "high school dropout"? Not necessarily. In fact, it seems to me that if you voluntarily stopped going to high school for no other reason than "just because", until you actually get that diploma, you're a dropout.

The AP said that a "phone message left at the home of Johnston's mother wasn't immediately returned Wednesday." That would be the mother that just got busted for dealing OxyContin a couple of weeks ago? Maybe they should have tried texting her. I hear she's a fan. (By the way, does she have her high school diploma? Or has she taken correspondence courses in the past also?)

Call it what you want, the bottom line is both Bristol and Levi are far from being in an optimal situation at this point. Whether they're actively working to finish whatever they need to in order to receive a high school diploma, I have no idea. All I know is that right now, neither one of them has one. And it's kind of important. I'm not saying that everyone is college material, nor am I saying that everyone should be expected to go to college. But I am saying that earning a high school diploma is not too high of a standard to set, nor an expectation to be met. It's necessary. (And I don't want to hear about the one in a million case where someone didn't have a high school diploma and made a gazillion dollars. I don't care. It doesn't happen often enough to justify using it as why it's OK to not graduate from high school. Lots of things "might" happen, but most of them make horrible rationale for why someone does something. Monkeys "might" fly out of my butt, but that doesn't mean I'm going to join the circus. Or go on Maury Povich. Is he still on? Never mind. You know what I mean.)

Nice try, Caribou Barbie. I think you're hot and all, but that was a pretty weak attempt at trying to save a little face there. If you had asked me, I would have suggested that you just suck it up and not say anything. Now that you've drawn attention to it, people will be looking their way when June rolls around and they should be graduating. If they aren't ready to graduate then, expect this to rise to the top of pointless fodder once again. The media is really good at re-hashing old fodder. They're fodder hashers. And they do it well.

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