Remember Charlie Brown’s teacher, and how everything he said was masked by that “wah wah wo waw” sound? Well, thanks to Arizona State Sen. Lori Klein, we now know that the only things being taught in Charlie’s classroom were the seven words you can’t say on television. That’s why Sen. Klein is introducing SB 1467, which if passed will finally put an end to the profanity-ridden lectures that our children are forced to listen to each and every day.
That’s right, Klein’s bill will hold teachers to the same decency standards set by the Federal Communications Commission—which means if it’s not fit for the public airwaves, it’s not fit for the classroom. Well, as far as teachers are concerned: the students, on the other hand, get to continue cussing like they’re on HBO.
It’s surprising that this State Legislature has taken so long to finally address what has clearly been a problem in our schools for decades. And let’s face it, Arizona teachers are some foul-mouthed m@#$*&-f$@#ers. (Though to be fair, you would be too if you were a teacher in Arizona.)
I am a living example of this fact. Having taught in Arizona for nearly a decade, I started each new year by walking in and saying, “hello class, I’m your f@#$%ing teacher Mike Stevens, and this is English 10-f#!@$ing-1. Get ready to learn some sh#@.” Admittedly, this made educating my students difficult, as they kept interrupting my reenactments of Chris Rock bits with stupid questions like, “Dude, why you always cussing so much?”
“It’s ‘why ARE you always cussing so much’,” I’d inform the student, then instruct them all to “learn the f#@$ing language you sh!#-eating f#@#-faces.”
Of course, I’m just one example, but I doubt highly that Sen. Klein would have introduced this legislation if cussing teachers wasn’t a sincere pandemic. That said, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to hold teachers to the same standards we hold Jerry Springer to.
Seriously, has Sen. Klein watched television lately? Between the jibber-jabber of defendants on Judge Judy and the sexucation that is a Jack-in-the-Box commercial, the public airwaves aren’t exactly a model for public decorum. To be honest, if not for public television, I would have never picked up a phrase like vaginoplasty—which apparently is only one of the 739 cosmetic surgeries doctors have used to turn Joan Rivers into a talking cheese dip.*
Plus, on TV, you can show full frontal nudity just as long as you black out the bullseyes. And while most school districts have strict dress codes for their teachers, gateway bills like SB 1467 will only open the door for teachers and their pro-nudity agenda. Place teachers under FCC guidelines, and they’ll bounce from dress slacks to pasties in the time it takes a 4th-grader to repeat the words, “God damn.”
And that’s my real concern about Sen. Klein’s bill, and likely something she has ironically overlooked. After all, is there a more god-less arena in all of America than public television? On TV, we learn to celebrate lesbians like Ellen, tragically unfit gay fitness gurus like Richard Simmons, and closeted homosexuals like Ed Cantor. On the public airwaves, we find Desperate Housewives, learn to respect Cartman’s “authoritah” and discover how gross it is when contestants on the new Fear Factor eat walrus testicles.
During the commercials, we learn how to beat a DUI conviction, get a quick and easy divorce, and to give women what they really, truly want—apparently, it’s either a full head of hair or a four-hour erection.
And that’s just during the daytime: students in night school will be up against the Girls Gone Wild measure of obscenity. And come on, there’s no way those poor bastards will learn a thing if their teachers are legally allowed to go wild–an act that generally includes a glass of wine, a novel and a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s.
Considering all this, does Sen. Klein really want teachers to be governed by the extremely loose and largely nonexistent guidelines we’ve established for broadcast television?
That’s a rhetorical question, because of course she doesn’t. Klein doesn’t want the bill—somewhat reminiscent of one introduced by former Sen. Thayer Verschoor in 2006 which proposed banning teachers from engaging in political discussions in the classroom—to win the day. She merely wants the valuable press it will get her in an election year. And though she’s only in her first term, she’s a pretty quick study at getting press.
Remember when she pointed a loaded gun at an Arizona Republic reporter last year? Remember, she was in the middle of an interview with Richard Reulas when she picked the gun up and pointed it at his chest to make a point. That point?
“I’m a crazy bitch.”
And who could forget the time when she stood up on the Senate floor and read a letter supposedly written by a substitute teacher complaining about all the illegal immigrants in public schools, almost all of whom were more interested in being gang bangers than in education? If you remember that—and can get over the fact that Klein is the only person in history to take what a substitute teacher says seriously—then you understand that Klein’s got a knack for garnering headlines through her willingness to do amazingly stupid crap.
But SB 1467 is more than mindless, stupid crap. Let’s forget, for the moment, that state legislatures have no way to compel the FCC to monitor classrooms in Arizona. Let’s also forget the fact that her bill provides no answer to how teacher profanity will be policed—even if it does provide a three-strikes-and-you’re-fired approach to punishment. And let’s forget the fact that the bill has no chance of passing, even in a state as red-necked as Arizona.
All we really need to look at is the fact that while Sen. Klein may be offended by the “f word,” she’s far more offended by science. And though she probably wouldn’t care for the words any of her three children use to describe “mommy dearest” when she’s not around, she’s far more disturbed by the thought of her kids learning about Mexican-American history. And Sen. Klein might believe profanity, in general, is a bad thing to teach our children, but I’ll bet a year’s salary she’d rather our children learn the seven words you can’t say on television than to learn about natural selection.
And because teachers at public schools teach all those things, the good senator has answered back with SB 1467, which is not so much a bill as it is a middle finger to teachers. You know, the same solid “fuck you” Republican politicians have been greeting teachers with for the last four decades.
Because honestly, if you truly wanted to stop teachers from cussing, you could do so simply by implementing a swear jar. You know, a teacher calls a student what he is instead of what he’s named, and he has to drop a buck in the jar. It’s a time-tested formula that would actually probably work quite well in today’s economy.
And though that may sound like an overly simple approach to the non-problem of cussing teachers, it undoubtedly would raise more revenue than anything Sen. Klein has proposed in her tenure as a state senator.
That said, if Sen. Klein really wants teachers to quit cussing, perhaps she should quit legislating them into poverty while treating them as if they were devil worshipers who want to turn our children into promiscuous drug fiends who hate America.
After all, that’s why I cussed so much when I was a teacher.**
* You have to admit, after 739 plastic surgeries, the 78-year-old Joan Rivers doesn’t look a day over dead for decades. Seriously, that woman’s going to decompose slower than dinosaur bones. I.e., that bitch has the carbon shelf life of granite and is in no way biodegradable.
Get on it tree huggers.
**While reading this column, you imagined more swear words than I actually used. In other words, “bleeping” doesn’t protect people from profanity, it only stimulates their imaginations. Redaction gives birth to imagination. Take note Sen. Klein. As Derrida argued, absence creates difference.