Teachers and Bumper Stickers

I've blogged about teachers before. It was a similar story that has popped up again on some of the cable shows, about a woman that was involved in pornography. There are complaints now of her working with kindergarten kids.

When I talked with my stepbrother, whose a teacher and always has a lot of opinions on this, I wondered something. I sometimes see X-rated bumper stickers on cars. And, they're never funny. I just wonder what kind of loser wouldn't care that children are going to be seeing these.

I wondered what the school would say if a teacher had a sticker like that on their bumper. Or any sticker that someone could be offended by.

He told me there was a news story about a teacher that had the gay/rainbow flag sticker on their bumper, and they were complaining in meetings about not having rights and some kind of harassment. He wondered, as did I, how anyone at the school even found out about her bisexuality. But we also wondered why the school wouldn't just ban most bumper stickers.

He worked in south-central LA with a woman that had a "support black businesses" bumper sticker. And of course, you wonder what could happen if other races had stickers of that nature.

As I said with people that keep their McCain, Bush, or Obama stickers on their vehicles...is it really worth someone keying your car that doesn't share your views?


Freedom of speech is not against the law. Keying cars is. As a country, we are devolving. The impulse to hurt someone or destroy something because you do not agree is no longer being repressed. This is a sign of the decline of civility, such as the example in your last blog. Who on earth would think to shoot someone in a movie theater? Why would you have a gun in the first place? And what's really disconcerting is that there seems to be no fear of repercussion. Didn't the guy with the gun know that he would be caught? This stuff freaks me out. It makes people afraid to leave the house. The shootings in shopping malls, etc. have become so commonplace that we no longer bat an eye when we hear of one. Remember how horrifying it was the first time we heard of one of these massacres? Not so much anymore. And when people put an offensive or inciteful bumper sticker on their car, or wear something that might cause someone to take offense, they are inviting negative attention on purpose. Again, the decline of civility.

Well, the freedom of speech thing to me....I think once you work for a company, you represent them. So your bumper sticker could be ANYTHING, and if they don't like it, or don't want their customers to see it, they have a right to ask you to remove it. I remember when I was 11 years old, a bunch of baseball players on the Reds, were mad they couldn't grow facial hair. My friends and I argued, while looking at our baseball cards, about whether or not that was fair. I came to the conclusion that they made millions, and if that's what the owner wanted...then Rollie Fingers can shave off his cool handlebar mustache! If they want you to wear red caps, with the letter "C" on them, that's what you'd do. Or you can go get a regular job (which would probably also require you to wear a "uniform" of some kind).

Grant, you're so right about the gun in the theatre. But as crazy as this sounds, I'm more bothered by the talkers. Believe me, the guy with the gun didn't just start shooting. I guarantee he first asked the dude to be quiet. The guy being asked to quiet down, probably than took "offense" to this request, and mouthed off back. And, the guy has his kid with him! He's going to talk, and not quiet down, with his kid with him. In my mind, having those two losers off the planet is probably a good thing.

I would rather people live on this planet that then say to their kid "Oh...we should quiet down. I'll explain that scene later."

You know something? Anti was on to something with those gross Carls Jr. ads. I always hated them and got the impression that they were trying to make being a pig cool. And you know what? It worked. When I see guys with their kids being belligerent and setting a horrible example I cringe. You know the ones? Little kid with a rat tail hair cut or a mini-mohawk and his jeans halfway down his butt and he is three. And he is a miniature edition of his father. Just a future loser in the making.

If I was making millions of dollars a year, I'd wear a clown suit if you asked me. It is a very difficult thing to do, to have to tell employees that they need to adjust their appearance, because their response is usually defensive. When I was a manager, the dress code was becoming extremely casual. Flip-flops, tank tops, that type of thing. I had to have a meeting and tell people that when you are dealing with the public's money you must present a professional appearance and this would serve you well later in life. One starting crying, and most of them got angry. Go figure. I was a meanie taking away their individuality. My husband had to tell someone at work they were wearing way too much cologne. The guy was hurt. But if someone had a bumper sticker on their car and I told them to remove it because it makes a bad impression, I could get sued. It is a fine line.

Is society really getting more violent? I don't have any numbers in front of me, but I'm pretty sure they would support that 100 years ago, random murder was much more prevalent than it is today. And 200 years ago, it was worse than 100 years ago. And so on. You're much safer in the modern era, Ms. Grant, than in any other era you can zip to in your time machine.

Same goes for rudeness, actually. Intuition tells me that the average person was much less concerned for the feelings of others than he or she is today. Sure, we got lots of jerks these days. But we got lots of nice folks, too. And I bet the jerks-to-nice-folks ratio has steadily declined over the centuries, just like the murder rate.

Actually there is a great book on all this, The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook. The author gets into the numbers to argue that life today is better than ever before - longer life spans, more leisure time, more education - pretty much any metric you can think of shows you're better off in today's world. But the paradox part is that people's self-reported level of happiness hasn't really budged, at least not since it started being recorded in the mid-1900s.

Back in the old days, much of our energy was focused on survival. There were many less of us as well. Maybe progress itself is responsible for rudeness and intolerance, because the quicker things come to us, the shorter our patience becomes. Leisure time was an unheard of concept until 100 years ago, if even then, so now we do not know how to use it productively. I will read that book. Thanks for the tip. I'm not usually so maudlin. I normally try to see the good in people, but have YOU been to a movie lately?

Freedom of speech is not against the law.

Speech can be vastly curtailed in a school setting, and the "freedom" is limited.

Not saying it is right or wrong-but that is the law. Courts give great deference to the administration of a school.

As for a teacher being a porn star or stripper-it reminds me of that kid flick Varisty Blues with james Van derbeek. Their HS teacher was some hottie that worked the stripper pole at night......lol.

Shizzy...that is a VERY good point. As much as I hate the rudeness of today, I don't automatically say that it's worse than it was in 1931, or the 1800s, or whatever. We just have "technology" now that we didn't have then (even if that means movie theatres...in the old days, they didn't have "talkies"...which meant it probably wasn't really distracting if people in the theatre talked!)

And, with MORE people, that just means there are MORE PEOPLE you come across that are rude. I'd be willing to bet, they were just as bad back in the day.

The problem is...with more people, ie more rude folks...I seem to run into them in every restaurant and movie theatre I go to!!!

Varsity Blues, on to the other post...is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I remember the football coach (Jon Voight, I believe), and cops, let the football players get away with everything. And, bottom line, the movie just wasn't that funny. A fat guy that ate a lot. I didn't see the humor.

Does anybody think that part of this rudeness problem is that there are no more acceptable "scapegoats" in society for everybody to gang up on?

(And even as I write that, I have the feeling that this has been explored in great detail by some sociologist or cultural theorist of whom I'm completely ignorant.)

Who am I quoting without knowing it? Anyone? Anyone?


I think the rudeness problem is a mix of a bunch of things.

But it's basically more people.

And, I know it sounds racist...but I think that African-Americans in movie theatres, they just seem to like talking at the screen. Or on their cell phones. My friends argued this point with me...but then I started pointing it out to them. They notice it, too. It's like they think it's their moment to act like Chris Rock, and they want the audience laughing at their jokes.

And don't get me wrong...I've experienced all races, at one time or another, being loud in a movie theatre. But by the numbers, one race clearly is loudest and most obnoxious when they should be quiet and watching the film.

Damn Josh.

But anyway, have you been to China? Or even 99 Ranch. They crowd around you, cut in front of you and you feel like you have no personal space. It also happens in Rome. They are very rude and say things to you that you would be appalled at. It's also perception. You're going to be annoyed by those who you expect to annoy you.

It's not race, it's environment. It's how people were raised, what enivoronment they grew up in and the social norms they were exposed to and learned from. But it's also influenced by pre-conceived notions.

But on that note I'll share an old joke....

Farmer is leaning against his fence when a guy in a car drives up. Guy asks the farmer for directions to the next town. He tells the farmer "I had to get out of the last town. I've been stuck there forever, I've never seen such a collection of dishonest, no good, uncaring people, in my life. What are the people in the next town like?" Farmer says "I think you'll find they're pretty much the same" and the guy drives off.

A little while later another car pulls up. Driver says to the farmer "I'm so sad I have to leave the last town. I spent many happy times there. The people were loving and open, and always greeted me with open arms. What are the people in the next town like?" Farmer says "I think you'll find they're pretty much the same"

Ponzi, I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer tell that story in a PBS special --the one where he's at that church where Emerson gave "The Divinity School Address."

But if I'm not mistaken, I 'think' he presented it as his own.

I could be wrong.

I used to think it was environment, but I've talked to too many people that said otherwise.

For example, my stepbrother teaching 10 years in South Central LA. And dealing with parents that were the same as kids.

Adam Carolla used to say it best. If you took the ghettos, and filmed them with Jews and Chinese people, would they still be like that? He said no, because they wouldn't want to live in that environment.

It's why Bill Cosby complains about African-Americans. They embrace that hip-hop, gangsta culture. Even the blacks in rich areas.

It also wouldn't explain why black people that go to good high schools, in good neighborhoods, aren't getting the test scores to get into UC schools.

At some point, we have to stop wondering about "environment", if the various races are all living in the same neighborhood!

Boy this board really veered off it's original subject. I think teachers should be allowed to do anything they want on their own time, as long as it doesn't affect their performance on the job. That gay teacher can be gay on her own time. On school time she is nothing. It's irrelevent. Now if that teacher wants to go around campus waving a rainbow flag, I'd tell her to knock it off. That's not why she's there. She's there to teach. And if the bumper sticker caused problems at school, I'd tell her to take it off, or drive a different car to work. As for the rudeness of people, and the seeming loss of standards of conduct, I chalk it up to one thing. Stupid people. Most smart people know how to behave. But stupid people have bad judgement. And there are more and more stupid people in this society, all with the attitude that they can do whatever they want, and "you're not their mother" so you can't tell them otherwise. It's only going to get worse.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad