Of Mushrooms and Bullies; Of Politics and Culture

By Alden L. Benton

Late Sunday evening, a news item featured in the western region of CNN.com caught my eye.

The story is about Hunter Hall, a 13-year-old Oregon boy, who was bullied by officials of his middle school for wearing a Super Mario Brothers™ t-shirt stating “Will Play for Mushrooms.”  (Boy in Hot Water over Super Mario Brothers Shirt

School counselors told the boy that his shirt violated the school’s dress code prohibition against promoting illegal activity.

This incident clearly illustrates the tyranny of political correctness and the left’s overwhelming need to control everything they find objectionable, and therefore fear; even an innocuous reference to a harmless video game.

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly once said, “Political correctness is the language of cowardice.”

Connolly is right!  The PC adults at this kid’s middle school are so afraid of a video game character that has been around since 1981, that they threatened Hall with suspension.

The school denies their overt bullying by obfuscating the truth.  They claim they just told Hall that wearing the shirt was against school policy banning clothing that “promoted illegal acts.”

Since when did Mario, a character who debuted in the classic video game Donkey Kong 30 years ago, promote illegal drug use, or any other illegal activity?

My God, you think Hunter had brought a copy of the Constitution, or a Bible, to school.  Now that would promote illegal activity — otherwise known as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  You know, that First Amendment stuff.

In addition, I don’t know about you, but when I was 13, a school counselor taking me aside to tell me I broke some rule, let alone two counselors, would have intimidated me, and intimidation, also known as bullying, is coercion by force.  Force is not always physical.

With all the real issues facing tax-supported education today, issues ranging from teacher incompetence and teachers’ unions bankrupting the public, to curricula that bankrupt students’ futures, one would think that Hunter Hall’s middle school would have more pressing things to cope with than his choice of t-shirt.

Hunter, however, had the last laugh.  Watch the video from KPTV in Milwaukie, Oregon, and check out the ending: Oregon School Bullies Student over Super Mario T-shirt

The saga of Hunter Hall should be a clarion call to everyone who loves liberty.  How far will we let the state go in controlling the minds of our children?  How far will we let the state intrude into our private lives and into the way in which we raise our children?

These questions go beyond the politics of the day.  These questions speak to what our culture is becoming and to how conservatives envision our future.  Though these are not political questions, many of the answers will be found in the political realm.

As you ponder your decisions for the 2012 elections, among the questions that must be asked of all candidates, from all political parties, and at all levels of government, are the questions of how the candidates see our culture in the next decade, or the next generation.

“Political Language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”
— George Orwell

©2011 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises


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