Friday, 4 January 2013

The Principal Speaks

What is the magic of this thing we call freedom of speech?

'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; it emproudens and nobilizes  my heart that one such as I who is but a humble man with the very great privilege to call himself a tool in the workshop of Our Lord should be so enblessed with the joyous task of welcomizing all of you good folks here today to this, our 126th annual holiday pageant as we raise our voices in song and ask what is the wonder of this thing we call the San Antonio Academy for Prestigious Children.'

The Principal clasps his hands and beams Osmond teeth at the assembly as a mote of Disney™ magic sparkles off the wonder of these things that are his spectacles. He's Carl Sagan but with the precocious offspring of millionaires as his subject rather than the cosmos of which Texas is quite obviously the heart; and he works his audience with the confidence of one who knows that not one bottle of snake oil will be found unsold within the wonder of this thing that is his metaphorical covered wagon by the end of the hour.

'Now it seems like it was only yesterday that I was myself just an eager first grader carrying my Lone Ranger brunchbox from class to board meeting, and today as we participize in this gathermentation of the mightiest, most powerful children that San Antonio hath ever known in the singing of praise for this holiday season, hoping maybe Santa will bring us that game we wanted, maybe those junior stocks and shares, those Forbes magazine movers and shakers action figures, we must pause to give thanks and to substantially donate to this, the wonder of this thing that we call our esteemed institution where the young men of tomorrow's America, statesmen and senators, deck the halls with charming and enchantmented hopes that they too might one day become men of great weight and moment much like ourselves by the bounteous gift of the wonder of this thing we call learning and understandment to be lawyers and award-winning surgeons.'

He smiles, an informal nod to those fathers who, being of such immense importance, persons so critical as to be directly responsible for the fact of the Earth continuing to revolve in the heavens so generously granted by the wonder of this thing we call God - although this being Texas, we pronounce it Gahrd, sort of like John Wayne in The Greatest Story Ever Told - those fathers who have come all this way to hear little Winchester Smorgasbord-Levington IX run through an enthusiastic if not entirely tuneful rendition of 'Pop Goes the Weasel', coming forth direct from the surgery and the business of saving the lives of men of great import, statesmen and senators, brain transplants, rocket surgery and unto all that sort of business - so damn important that they haven't had time to change out of their hospital scrubs and are thus sat upon the bleachers in mighty and ostentatious green, because each and every one of those men may be called away at any minute to prevent the universe from exploding. That's how important they are, let me tell you, these fathers to the future of greatness.

'Well, the boys have been practising hard, learning their instruments,' - he nods to the teacher responsible. She's nineteen years old and came here in the belief that it would be cute to teach grade schoolers about stuff, plus it was kind of boring and stuff sitting around on that ranch with her husband, octogenarian Jedediah Sterling III away in either Vegas or hanging around the oil wells all the time; plus it wasn't like she actually needed any sort of teaching qualification or stuff; so she smiles back, acknowledging the approval of her commander in chief, definitely looking pretty damn hot for his age, not that that's a problem, obviously - 'so I know they have a wonderful selection of songs to perform for you as we celebrate the wonder of this thing we call the holiday season, the most magical time of the year, looking forward to the future as we join together emproudened as one and grateful for those we love as we recall with humilification that true riches are not to be found in our mansions, or the many, many motor vehicles we may each of us have at our disposal, or even our stocks and shares, statesman and the wonder of this thing we call senators...'

Now he's just emitting random adjectives like some sort of human pulsar, enchanted Disney™ castles of wonderment reflected in each pupil, eyes welling up as unto those of a Dickensian orphan afforded the wonderment of his first thanksgiving turkey by a generous and important surgeon who, having just saved the life of a beloved millionaire, now understands the true meaning of Christmas. The audience don't seem to mind. The wives smile as one, parallel evolution - well okay then, parallel intelligent design - drawing them all towards a single ideal, face-lifting them all towards the perfection of the wonder of this thing we call Pamela Ewing from the CBS night time soap opera Dallas running from 1978 to 1987. This is a process known as the Victoria Principle. Ein volk, ein reich, ein gesicht...

'Excellence... achievement... heritage... faith...' He's been speaking for less than a minute and hasn't actually said anything at all, from zero to perfect no content null calorie rhetoric in just under thirty seconds, a montage of words forming an impressionistic effect that roughly serves for meaning. It doesn't really matter what is said so long as it sounds about right, which also seems to be how the school operates, possibly part of some larger push by a culture which appears to be in the process of performing a contentectomy on itself.

This is nothing new to me. It's just surprising to see it happening up close, and from this angle.

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