Snatching Defeat From The Lips Of Victory

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Memo to Authority: YOU ARE DUMB.

Authority would have a much easier time with things if it weren't so fucking authoritarian all the time. When Authority gets poked in the ribs with a Popsicle stick, Authority never says "Oh, very funny, ha ha, you poked me in the side with a Popsicle stick." and moves on. Never happens.

Instead, Authority declares Popsicle sticks as part of the Axis of Evil, gets the FDA to ban Popsicles, sends Bill Frist to a conference where he declares all frozen confectionary to be the work of secular Satanists, then bombs Unilever and pulls the Good Humor man out of a spider hole. And it's six months, at least, before you find out that Tom DeLay took advantage of expensive overseas junkets offered by the Push-Up people. And that's only if you get the Utne Reader.

And nowhere is Authority's self-destructive over-reaction tendency more prevalent than in the schools. We've discussed the glories of zero tolerance before, but now, in addition to poetry with the word "death" in it, in Winona, MN, they've decided that they simply cannot educate our children while women walk around exposing their vagina buttons.

I will forgive you for your perverted assumption there. After all, as Rush Limbaugh has taught us, we live in an age where high-school ingenuity is leading to the rampant downfall of society. After Einstein's invention of the atom bomb, the post-millenial high-schooler invention of what the kids apparently call the "oral sex" will go down as history's strongest condemnation of both necessity and mothers. Much like an "Usher song", I'm not entirely sure what this "oral sex" thing is, but if teenagers are doing it, it can't be terribly interesting.

But by all accounts, neither Emily Nixon nor Carrie Rethlefsen were inventing oral sex when they got in trouble at school, although pronouncing the latter's name certainly makes one sound like they have their mouth full. No, these straight-A students whose records are so clean they'd make Urkel seem like Timothy McVeigh*, are in trouble for wearing buttons that say "I [HEART] MY VAGINA".

They got the buttons at a performance of "The Vagina Monologues", and the school freaked out, with principal Nancy Wondrasch ordering them to stop wearing the buttons, saying they were giving people wrong ideas and encouraging young boys to penetrate them (according to the accused). Obviously, the administration is unfamiliar with the Monologues, or they would have realized, like the rest of us, that the appropriate response is merely to wait three days, after which everyone who's ever seen the show comes to the embarassing realization that it was actually a bit pretentious and wanky. And so very 90's.

But they didn't, and the girls didn't, and the lawyers didn't, and now we're facing a free speech standoff in Winona. Supporters have made up a coupla hundred T-Shirts: "I [HEART] MY VAGINA" for the girls, "I SUPPORT YOUR VAGINA" for the boys. All because some people found the buttons offensive, and therefore the buttons according to the principal, "infringe on other people's rights and our school policies".

And since Authority cannot, under any circumstances, ever admit that maybe it was out of line, lest anarchy take root, the school had at one point reportedly threatened to expel the girls if anyone shows up at the school in a T-shirt. Yeah, that'll fucking show them. And more importantly, it will show the school officials to be reasoned, concerned adults and not even more of an utter laughingstock than they are already. If regimes worldwide have taught us anything, it's that disproportionate crackdowns in the public eye are a valid long-term solution to restoring order, and not at all the last refuge of a bunch of terrified pussies.

And who are these offended people? Let them step forward and denounce vagina buttons, if they are so mortified. I know the Christian Taliban is on the march, but I also know, more importantly, that this is a PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL. In the year 2005. All the kids who might find the word "vagina" offensive are at home, taking Matthew Shepard Deserved It 101 and reading "Left Behind" comics. Thank you, Principal Wondrasch, for protecting the innocent minds of Winona High from an opportunity to titter for five seconds.

Oh, fuck. I said "titter". I guess my chances of being published in the Winona High yearbook as "special guest commentator" are buggered now.

*For the record, there is nothing worse, as a columnist, than realizing you've already used up your quota of "Tom DeLay is a Bastard" namedrops.