But if I were teaching a class in music history, I would have people listen to Frank Zappa's "The Torture Never Stops" and list Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" as required reading, because he borrowed that book from me to read. If you were a social studies teacher, what would you work in to talk about current events either nationally or internationally? You can't mention "torture" per se, you know, and teachers are fired for discussing anything to do with the current wars (that have been ongoing for thirteen years now). How would you work that in?
But any of this would likely have to be taught at an Eastern school as no mention of Upton Sinclair ever finds its way into any classroom anywhere in California any more. That was true when I was a kid, too, in 1961. No Upton in the classroom. Not allowed to mention Upton in the classroom, either. But I could carry his book in full view on top of my science textbooks, and almost no one would notice as the kids genuinely weren't interested, either. But if the teachers who measured my skirts or bugged me in other ways had seen it, I'll bet it would have been removed from my possession, temporarily at least.
When I told Frank about my English teacher whose class no one wanted to be in and I was assigned there anyway as some kind of administrative punishment .... how she was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and would physically assault students .... she would tell me to stop reading, she would tell other kids to sit up straight and focus on them and wait until they slouched a bit and then lay hands on them by pulling the boy up straight by the collar on his jacket ... or she'd pull girls' hair, roughly, too, I might add .... All the school did was let her wriggle free and go off to a mental ward or something for the summer and return the next year to teach, until she got so bad even the school board had to encourage her to retire or go elsewhere.
And the boy who had been bullied by that English teacher, oh, he was a trouble maker .... and a math teacher (who fell in love with one of his child students in algebra class in 9th grade, and then got himself transferred to teach math at the high school so he could follow her around, and visited local prostitutes in town because he couldn't screw his young friend yet, because "that" just wasn't right .... )
That math teacher broke that boy's arm one day. The "trouble mnaker's". The math teacher would focus on other kids, too, he was aggressive and would walk up to kids (like me) who had arrived to help decorate a teenage dance ... he would wait for us outside and walk up and advise like a cop "you'd better behave in there" ... no this, no that ... you'd have to obey that fascist monster (he had been in the military and went to college on the GI Bill, like a lot of teachers ... ) wow, he tough. We'd pull up in a car smoking a cigarette and we'd be 200 feet away from the building, and he'd walk over and stick his cop/soldier head in the window of the car and say, "This is a school event. There is no smoking allowed." Where's the written rule for that? I'd wonder. So I would have my tough artist boyfriends take me to any school function from then on out, which I assure you this decorating the teen dance was the last with pink crepe paper and white baloons, although I eventually soon stopped attending nearly any school function, they just weren't my bag. In fact, I started recommending black crepe paper for school decorations ... as there was plenty of that rolled up in storage for the Halloween Dances and we could use it other times of year ... I suggested.
And from what I heard, that math teacher was divorced by his wife eventually (because he was caught visiting local prostitutes) and he ..... eventually married that little girl he had been following since 8th grade algebra. Ain't love grand, I would sneer to Frank as I recounted ("almost pull him straight out of the seat of his chair!...") some of the current episodes of going to high school there.
But it was a very good school district back then. California was Number One in the nation for public schools, and Claremont school district was rated Number Three in California (After Beverly Hills and San Marino, and those were rich rich rich rich rich towns).
I nearly forgot! There was another happy ending with some of those Neo-Fascist instructors. The boy's coach and gym instructor, who would lead pep cheers at the school assembly ... the fellow who was secretly
an alcoholic as I'd see a bar door open on Foothill and there he was with five empty glasses in front of him on the bar and he was sitting on a bar stool ... have I told you about him yet? He's the onewho not only didn't mind that his football practice team would throw rocks at girls walking past on their summons to the Girl's Dean's Office (namely me), but he would "punish" a small slight gay boy by wrapping his arm around the kid's neck and walking him back into the coach's office for a little "discipline" and the football team would taunt and shout, "Oooo-oooh! Arty!"
Though I had the football team threatened with suspension prior to a big game through the auspices of the Girl's Dean (and she really did not like me, but she didn't like the idea of boys behaving badly) so they had the sweats on for a week or so to learn how to behave, well, nothing really happened to any of them. The Coach however (who wore the school colors, had muscular thighs, and wore maroon short shorts as he bounced on stage "Give me an "A"! (and all the students would shout in a fervor, "A!" "Give me a "C" (Shit, I' think to myself, this guy can SPELL!) and the students would shout out in unison "C!" ... and on all the way with movements and chest thrust out and a big smile on his face to the (I'll skip through these fast) "I" "O" "N" (and I'd sit there wishing I had an atomic bomb or something as he spelled out ION) ... He although he was brought in for some complaints and la la la and the police visited him once in his home la la la nothing ever happened to him in the way of official punishment until he committed suicide. So he was gone eventually.
You know, my family used to get Christmas cards from Allen Cranston .... regularly,many years in a row.