Of "great opportunities" and other nonsense

This post is going to be fairly random as I am (again) just wasting time in photo class (this time because I’m waiting for my film to dry).

I, like many of my senior classmates, was summoned to a different room for AIM Time today so that we could participate in a “great opportunity.” When I got the slip yesterday, it sounded to me like newspeak for “something you won’t want to do, but we’re making you do it anyway.” In Psych yesterday we discussed the possibilities: perhaps it’s Dave Graf trying to sell us more crap. Maybe we’ll all assemble in our respective rooms and then, at a given signal, we’ll be mowed down by machine guns.

Turns out, it was worse.

It is a *NEW!* drug and alcohol awareness curriculum for college-bound seniors! And guess which lucky few students get to try it first!

ASIDE: I have now, however, reached the status of a local ‘F’-list celebrity–the person teaching this WONDERFUL NEW OPPORTUNITY was from ***** (name of organization withheld because I may want to be paid by them again at some point in the future), and recognized my name from the video I made for them last month. That threw me off-balance. My whole day has been bizarre.

Now, before I rant about this program, a quick DISCLAIMER:

I have been, as stated above, a free-lance paid employee of *****. I think that they are a good organization and I respect their goals very much. It should also be pointed out that this program is not their fault. It’s some sort of national initiative. I do not speak for this organization in these statements, nor am I a permanent employee of said organization. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist party (even though I was in the IB program from 7th through 9th grade). And they all lived happily ever after.

This is the same sort of prevention program that people my age and in my situation have been subjected to for nigh on ten years now. They had us take a survey to start with, which is fine, but the questions were seemingly misleading or poorly considered–questions like “On a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are you to agree with the statement, ‘People who drink alcohol are stupid?'” How old are these people? Are they intelligent? Do they have any sort of common sense? How MUCH alcohol do they drink? How often? Anyway, I put 1 (highly unlikely) because I try not to judge people on those terms. But will it be extrapolated from this response that I drink alcohol regularly? I’m reminded of a Mitch Hedberg joke about a medical survey with questions like, “Have you ever tried sugar or PCP?”

ASIDE: Mitch Hedberg is a funny guy. Almost as funny as Steven Wright. Check out his Comedy Central special on iTunes.

The program itself has nothing new to say. I DID find it rather amusing, however, that they assumed that us AP/IB students would be good little cooperative children. Far from it. To us, this is old hat, so we tended to be rather cavalier about our involvement.

Pardon my cynicism, but these are the sorts of programs instituted by higher-ups in order to make them feel better about people my age. It is astonishing to me that it is even POSSIBLE to craft the drug and alcohol prevention curriculum for an entire school district–let alone state or COUNTRY–around a total lack of trust for the students being taught. But that is what has happened, and I’m convinced that it is doing as much harm as help. I would bet you cash money that if there were a heavy-handed nationwide educational curriculum instituted to prevent students from, I don’t know, putting glue in their eyes, you would see about a 10,000% increase in the number of students nationwide who put glue in their eyes.

And as astonishing as it may sound, I found myself wishing that I was back in my normal AIM class.

But enough about that.

Parker’s coming over today to start learning Final Cut. I was up late last night trying to make my editing station somewhat presentable. I may now be close to having a competent assistant editor. The faster I can teach him the ropes, the better.

What remains to be seen is whether I know enough about Final Cut to teach someone how to edit.

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