Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wilson High's "Peace" problem solved!

Wilson High School administrators have gone all wobbly about students’ writing “Peace” on the Hillsdale school’s windows. Seems that "Peace" is a political statement.

My sources tell me that if the word isn’t expunged early next week, the student painters face suspension.

“Peace” as a problem?

Let’s see, we have “Peace be with you,” “Peace of Mind,” “Let peace begin with me,” “The US Peace Institute,” “Go in peace,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and “Peace studies.”


OK, agreed, context shapes meaning. Let’s assume that in this time of war the word “peace” might be taken as opposition to war in general, and the bungling, bellicose Bush Administration/Halliburton oil-grab in Iraq in particular.

Now that we are hyper-aware of context, what do we make of Wilson's martial mascot—the helmeted Trojan, who is either a battle-ready warrior or the logo for a contraceptive (subtle message there, kids)?

Either way, isn’t the mascot a political statement? As an opponent of war, I’m personally offended by the thoughtless choosing of Trojan warrior as a mascot, just as I am that the biggest sports rivalry in the state is called “The Civil War.”

Many “family values/anti-sex education” activists might have problems with a beneath-the-radar condom logo association—especially now that I’ve pointed it out to them.

And if politics is a problem, the school itself is named after Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Here we have double trouble. Wilson was both a politician and the winner of the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, you read it right: "Peace Prize."


So here’s my suggestion: if the school can be named after a politician and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the mascot can be a warrior or a contraceptive logo, then the name and the mascot are fair game for “Peace” and non-violent heroes.

In the name of “Peace,” let’s rename the school “Peace High School” and make its mascot Gandhi. The sports teams can be called “The Passive Resisters” (known for unusual defensive play) and the cheer from the throngs can be Gandhi’s call for peaceful change: “Satyagraha! Satyagraha!” which roughly means “Seek Truth!”

"Seek Truth!" indeed.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm suspended for putting up a peace message, I'd see it as a better way to expose just the unrest that this war has created and the need to get our troops out of Iraq NOW!

Come to the march downtown tomorrow at 1:30. We'll march 25 blocks to say "Stop this war!" We meet in the South Park Blocks at Madison and Park.

Daniel Ronan

4:22 PM  
Blogger QuakerDave said...

Considering all the violence in the high schools in the closest big city to where I live, this response is very, very sad.

Great post.

4:29 PM  

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