Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy

It's that time of the year were we are studying the Transcendentalists. We don't spend too much time on them because it's a smaller moment in time and the concepts are a bit hard to grasp. What can you do? They're teenagers. Hard work, abilities of an individual, and not being a slave of money are qualities not quite celebrated by them. They'll rip on Thoreau as being a "freak" because he built a house on his own, only to stop to comment on how "awesome" last night's Extreme Home Makeover was and how they wish their lives sucked so they could get a "bitchin" house.

With that in mind, I should have expected the following:

One of the assignments I have for this unit is have the students write an essay describing their own personal Walden. By that I explain that I'm looking for a place where they go to get away from everything—a place where they have time to reflect and ponder on the Universe.

Every year I get the standards. A few describe their hunting trips as their Walden. I get the nature comparison, but I'm not sure how Henry David would feel about taken down a buck from 80 yards for sport.

Another classic is when others reveal their pot smoking ritual in the woods every Friday night. When confronted about it, they usually reveal that they just assumed that's what Thoreau was doing too because he kept talking about experimenting.

Today though, I read a doosey. This girl described the mall as being her own personal Walden. As I said, kids tend to miss the mark on this assignment, so I don’t make too much out of it, but she went on to say that shopping gave her a "natural high."

Oh yeah, think about it. The mall just screams natural:

The fluorescent lights
The piped-in Muzak
The artificial dye used at The Great American Cookie Company

However, who am I to argue with her? Thoreau never made a tasty cookie.

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