Category Archives: Kent State

Student Demonstration Time

When I first started this blog four yeas ago, someone asked me, some point after May 4, 2005, to write about Kent State. I’d written a paragraph about it, but I didn’t have more to say. But now I do, and it’s all about that maligned (by me, and others) Beach Boys song, Student Demonstration Time.

For it reminds me that ten days after that headline-grabbing Kent State, there was Jackson State, though it appears earlier in the Mike Love narrative.

The violence spread down South to where Jackson State brothers
Learned not to say nasty things about Southern policemen’s mothers
Nothing much was said about it and really next to nothing done
The pen is mightier than the sword, but no match for a gun.

I always hated the glib tone of the second line, but now that I think on it, the third line was profound in its accuracy. How many of you who remember Kent State also remember Jackson State? I’m guessing not many, but it’s not your fault.

America was stunned on May 4, 1970
When rally turned to riot up at Kent State University
They said the students scared the Guard
Though the troops were battle dressed
Four martyrs earned a new degree
The Bachelor of Bullets
I know we’re all fed up with useless wars and racial strife
But next time there’s a riot, well, you best stay out of sight

Well there’s a riot going on
There’s a riot going on
Well there’s a riot going on
Student demonstration time

I was in high school at the time, but both Kent State and Jackson State had a profound effect on me. Fear, yes, but also a sense of resolve to keep up the struggle against “useless wars and racial strife”. Yet this song, coming out a year after the events chronicled, totally undercuts it. Meh.

BTW, I found on the Internets lyrics to the song, but one source had replaced “The Bachelor of Bullets” with “badge of eternal rest”. Was that just misheard lyrics or something else?

ROG

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Teacher, Teacher

I just noticed in my daily e-mail from About.com that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. (You’d think I would have figured that out from the chalkboard and apple at Google.) If you’re looking for ways to celebrate, go here.

I’d like to thank Miss Cady (K), Miss Marie Oberlik (5th grade, for the Russian lessons), Mr. Paul Peca (6th grade), Mr. Stone (history), Mr. Carl Young, Miss Helen Foley, and my 9th and 12th grade gym teachers, who were not the p***ks that the other ones were.

Also, in college and graduate school: Professors Deborah Andersen, Thomas Galvin, Glenn McNitt, and Alan Chartock. Yeah, ol’ lightning rod Alan. I had him PLS 216, American Government and Politics in the Fall of 1971, when he was a young whippersnapper.

Additionally, anyone who taught me anything useful about music, including my school and church choir directors and fellow choir members, but also Hemby, the SBDCers (especially my former office mates, DC and the Hoffinator), Tom Skulan and the FantaCo folks, Q104 Albany (c. 1978-1983), Mark Klonfas, Karen Durkot, my sister Leslie, and especially my dad, Les Green.

And there are, undoubtedly, others, who left me some wisdom that I’ve absorbed without necessarily realizing it.

Finally, thanks to a teacher, who taught for a couple years, left to work in the insurance industry for a dozen years, then returned to school to train to teach English as a Second Language, and is now a traveling ESL teacher in two or three districts. That would be my wife, Carol, from whom I learn something new every day.
*****
And speaking of education, what have we learned 35 years after Kent State? The country is still polarized over Vietnam, 30 years after the fall of Saigon, it appears, based on the last general election Bush bails! (Probably true, but still…)Kerry wasn’t THAT wounded! (Oh, brother!) Jane Fonda’s new autobiography, and the attendant promotion of same, becomes the new flash points in the debate. Kinda sad.