Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Brunswick, Bowdoin College, and The Ostrich….made for each other

Bowdoin being Bowdoin, and more..

Do you remember Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins?  What a world of animal diversity he showed us to and led us to appreciate!

Here in Brunswick, wildlife diversity is nowhere as great, but we do have more than you might think.  We have several kinds of sheep, we have ostriches, we have strutting red-feathered peacocks (‘I know all the candidates for the supreme court’), we have two-faced chameleons, we have single-winged grackles (almost without exception, left-winged), we have moon-bats, we have gooney birds, we have loons.

Now that I think of it, we have more species than one can list.  We can’t forget jackals or crazy foxes.  Nor the slithering worms, snakes, and slimy snails. 

And let’s not ignore the hood-winking owl, or the ivory tower denizen, it’s close cousin.

So much for our editorial indulgence and amusement.  Tonight we will focus on the ostrich, the sheep, and the ivory tower denizen. They seem to perfectly ‘animate’ the recent budget climate.

So which  is superior in the animal pecking order – the ostrich, the sheep, or the ivory tower denizen?  Is one ‘more equal than the other?’  In a related question, we wonder whether anyone has ever seen an ostrich in sheep's clothing, or vice versa?

Ok, stop distracting me; I want to get to the point.  There is no question in my civilian mind that the voting on the school budget, held yesterday, will show overwhelming approval, and on the basis of less than a 10% voter turnout.

I knew this would be the outcome, no matter what anyone said at any hearing.  Emotions run high in this domain.  Fine; I’m prepared for that.  What I am not prepared for, however, is a complete absence of truth and objectivity, especially when it comes to local residents affiliated with our shining tower of truth, justice, and the American way.  (Ok, forget the American way bit.)

Last Friday, The Ostrich carried a letter by Matthew Klingle, an Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies (whatever the hell that means!) at Bowdoin College, begging for support of the proposed school budget.

In it, he used phraseology that included this:

  • "precarious state of our public schools nationally and in Maine"
  • "an impoverished school system"
  • "the importance of well-funded and accountable schools"
  • "at the very moment that we're recruiting prospective employers and investors to come here"

The good professor also cited "budget cuts over the past five decades," and how they intensify "spirals of economic and social disruption."

As you should know if you follow us here on a regular basis, we compile data on budgets and spending to back up whatever positions we take and points we make.  And on this last assertion, ‘budget cuts over the past five decades,’ the data shows that the writer is so far off base as to be certifiably deceitful and wrong, or if you prefer, the more polite contemporary term, ‘disingenuous.’

If this be academic freedom, it must mean freedom to make up your own facts.  If this is a highly educated academic’s understanding of what is going on locally, we have to wonder what he teaches to the mushy young minds of teenagers spending $50,000 a  year to purchase a Bowdoin sheepskin.

Maybe getting a PhD (as I almost did), or a faculty appointment at an elite leftwing liberal arts college, requires surrendering your moral compass, so you can follow the yellow brick road wherever your superiors and mentors tell you it leads.

As for us, we sure as hell wish the faculty would keep their unsubstantiated and cockamamie thinking to themselves.  We’ve got more than enough crazy stocked up here all by ourselves; we don’t need any more handed down from on high.

Even if the very long neck of The Ostrich makes that easy to do.

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