Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Geraldo at Large shocker! Some college textbooks are poorly written!

I was proofreading this sociology textbook about juvenile delinquency today, and it was not good. How could it be? Unfortunately, it wasn't even up to the standards of retarded competency that most freshmen-year textbooks meet. Let's consider two captions. The first was under the famous Kent State photo of the girl crying over the body of one of the assassinated student protesters. The caption repeated the common misconception that the girl was a Kent State student. Actually, she was a teenage runaway who happened to be on campus that eventful day. This factual error has been repeated in countless sources reprinting the photo, but this book is for college students. Shouldn't research and accuracy be emphasized, especially in a textbook for freshmen students? It's a minor error, but it sends the message that something is true if it is repeated often enough, regardless of its validity. On second thought, our current president's every action relies on this message, and I work in a basement for little pay. Another fine caption depicts a white supremacy rally in rural Texas. The caption reads, "A white supremacist with a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on his back sells books at a neo-Nazi rally..." Unfortunately for everyone, the racist idiot has a tattoo of two men on his back, neither of whom are Hitler, and he is selling t-shirts, not books. I could make a crack about white supremacists being unable to read, but I think I will stick to the facts and point out that the moron is selling his wares without a shirt. The worst caption of all may actually be the best in that it made me laugh out loud. The caption showed a Converse magazine ad featuring a muscled, shirtless black man dunking a basketball in the center of the advertisement and a muscled, shirtless white man dunking another basketball in the upper left corner. Centered across the top are the words "This ain't no playground." The caption reads: "Multicultural macho advertisements appeal to young males concerned with showing toughness through masculinity. This billboard suggests that Converse sneakers are not for kids' playgrounds."

Sociology textbooks, ladies and gentlemen.


kristykay said...

I had a sociology class in both high school and college and each one of them was a total throwaway waste of time. Which is lame, because they both seemed like they could be more interesting than that. I mean society? Culture? People? Pretty interesting stuff. Instead I got flashcards, generalizations, and stereotypes transmitted by the wrestling coach of my high school and a one-second from retirement college professor just going through the motions.

Air Wolf said...

As a young man concerned with showing my toughness, it is common for me to peruse a selection of macho advertisements looking for a product to facilitate the expression of said "toughness". I remember being confused by the Converse add you mention. It says "This ain't no playground". I scoffed and thought, "oh, but certainly is a playground! These two shirtless toughs are very much on a playground."
I pondered this strange contradiction. Why would Converse show me a picture of a playground and then deny that it is a playground? Is this the behavior of a company I would by products from? Most certainly not.

And yet I was so concerned with showing toughness that I simply could not put the ad down! After looking at the muscled males for what must have been hours, I realized that despite my initial misgivings there was no contradiction! I neglected to analyze the first part of the statement "This ain't no...playground"! Converse slipped in a double negation--"This is a playground!" The ad was in fact telling us that being tough, and having mastery of syntax went hand in hand.
It was this homo-erotic ad campaign that made me the warrior logician I am today! Thanks Converse.