Tea With Chris: Don’t Go To (Private) School

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: While I’m impressed with Quebec’s CLASSE for continuing on from their limited victory to a wider goal, ultimately the education problem in North America isn’t mainly at colleges and universities. When I was in New Orleans earlier this year I was shocked to discover that ever since Louisiana schools were desegregated in the early 1960s, most white people there abandoned the public school system altogether, and with them went the state legislature’s financial support for the most part. Now we have the Chicago teacher’s strikes and the recent Ontario law preventing teachers here from striking. Elite disinvestment in public schooling is part of each of these stories. It’s not as bad in Canada remotely as south of the border, but it’s not headed in the right direction. I was surprised to find on Gawker, of all places, a straight-argument for something that used to be a fundamental progressive stance but has come to seem weird and radical: Abolishing private schools.

Early this month I mentioned here that I’d had my first election-season argument with a leftist friend over whether there is a significant difference between Republicans and Democrats, whether voting matters, etc. (This led some people to call me as a Democrat, which a bit odd since, a., I’m not even an American, and b., as a Canadian think the NDP is too conservative.) The author Rebecca Solnit has apparently had that conversation a few too many times. If you’ve ever read her brilliant “Men Explain Things to Me” (the ur-source on mansplaining), meet its sequel, subtitled “Leftists Explain Things to Me.” A highlight:

“I don’t love electoral politics, particularly the national variety. I generally find such elections depressing and look for real hope to the people-powered movements around the globe and subtler social and imaginative shifts toward more compassion and more creativity. Still, every four years we are asked if we want to have our foot trod upon or sawed off at the ankle without anesthetic. The usual reply on the left is that there’s no difference between the two experiences and they prefer that Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure. Now, the Che pedicure is not actually one of the available options, though surely in heaven we will all have our toenails painted camo green by El Jefe.”

All that said, I do wish Barack Obama would say a few of these things (again). Tell Mitt Romney, “Sorry ass motherfucker ain’t got nothin on me!”

N+1 has done a fine service in rounding up these memories of the late radical feminist pioneer Shulamith Firestone.

Ok, enough politics. Jody Rosen introduced me to the most compelling new voice in country music, Kacey Musgraves. And with Taylor Swift seeming to regress rather than progress into adulthood, Musgraves has arrived just in time.

Five videos by Yoko Ono. Thanks, P4K.

Gram Parsons’ notebook.

This is for fans only, really, but the great songwriter (ex-American Music Club) and mesmerizing Oscar-Wilde-as-a-gloomy-slacker performer Mark Eitzel, having recovered from a heart attack last year, has a funny series of trailers for his upcoming album, Don’t Be a Stranger, in which for example he meets with Lady Gaga’s style consultant.

And I couldn’t finish without mentioning this. I had nothing to do with it, I swear.

Chris: Maddie (from indispensable K-pop blog My First Love Story) is visiting South Korea for the first time, imagining herself as the white protagonist in the Wes Anderson film and reflecting on what she’s heard in public, from snippets of “Gangnam Style” to mass Wonder Girls karaoke.

Margaux: I love this chart of specific words and phrases used at the U.S. national convention by the Republicans and Democrats. The only phrase present that Democrats don’t use: Red tape, the one Republicans don’t use: Millionaires.

Speaking of charts, this periodic table is much better than usual. Also from Brain Pickings, John Steinbeck gives some falling in love advice. Would be good section in Rookie next to “Ask a grown man”. Could be “Ask a dead man”.  And hell, why we’re there, why don’t we let Richard Feynman Explain Where Trees Come From.

Just what I’ve always suspected – hash is not so helpful for the artistic process

I’ve got this Bob Dylan song in my head today.

And also this Rihanna song, but my head only knew that chorus.

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