For anyone who hasn’t seen the film The Breakfast Club, it is basically the story of five teens coming of age during a Saturday detention. What comes out of their day is that they all are a little closer to each other than they would readily admit, at least emotionally and in some ways mentally, and as the film ends they go their separate ways with a new lease on life and two blossoming romantic relationships. Of course, the nerd gets little more than getting to stick it to the principal in a bit of a written rant that doubles as the group’s “homework assignment” for that day.
Most people look at the ending of the film and see that, for at least these five kids, things come Monday are probably going to be a little different. Again, maybe not so much for Brian (the nerd), but possibly for the other four who have seemingly found love in the oddest of places. In reality, this would be an insane break of status quo for just about every person involved. None of other four, save for Claire, would even give Brian the time of day in a normal scenario – and it is spelled out as such during the film – while none of them would want to ever (and I mean ever) lock eyes with Bender for more than a split second or risk lord knows what. Granted, at eight or so in the morning these stereotypes – the nerd, jock, basketcase, criminal, and princess – are all incredibly potent and cause all the kinds of friction you need in this kind of story. It is only after they begin to really pay attention to each other that the facades drop and they are all just normal kids with normal problems, almost forced to put up a curtain of character to hide themselves from who they really are.
Claire may very well be a princess, but she desperately wants the bad boy just as much as the bad boy wants her. They are broken individuals with different ways of dealing with the hand they were dealt in life. Allison may not be an absolute basketcase (or even a truly compulsive liar) but is screaming for attention in a similar way to Andrew, although Andrew’s cries for help are to be taken seriously as more than just dumb muscle, especially by his father. A stable relationship with someone who, by the end of the film, no longer looks like such a nutjob, might warm daddy’s heart enough to get him to shut his militant face about ground and pound. Brian, the lowly nerd, watches all of this from his own little corner of the world – a place he is no doubt very used to. From his corner, he sees the changes coming and notes the machinations at play. While the others learn to shy away from who they were told to be, he is tasked to stay true to his role as the brain and figure out if anything that happened in that library was important, and he knows that is was.
Principal Richard Vernon is left with little more than a one page letter, detailing to him (the authority) that it doesn’t matter one bit who they actually are, only what he sees them as. Whether or not they continue in their roles past the movie is left ambiguous, but it does seem that some sort of change is on the horizon and that the status quo, at least for these five, is out the damn window.
Oddly enough, it is Vernon’s confidante throughout the film that teases that status quo is not all it is cracked up to be. Carl, the janitor, can be seen early on in the film in photo along the wall, citing him as “Man of the Year” for the Class of 1969, or 15 years prior to the film. That puts him in his early thirties as the cleaning crew for his high school alma mater. Not exactly the man of the year. Normally, one in such a position in a senior class would have the world at their fingertips, yet somehow status quo did not keep up with Carl and let him fall by the wayside, leaving him wallowing in the school’s basement with the principal on a lowly Saturday, surrounded by a detention he most likely never attended during his school years but is oh-so-much a veteran to it now.
While some say, correctly, that the film is a tearing down on teenage stereotypes and throwing them into “the real world”, it is not exactly uncommon for a high school student to find themselves either by force or necessity in these roles that John Hughes proved thirty years ago are not exactly where you want to be. If your parents are burning with you with cigarette lighters and are more angry at your getting caught doing something wrong than they are of what you actually did, that is a horrible society to find yourself a member of.
Status quo is pointless and does almost no one any favors. Only those that break away from it can truly see just how damaging it all is when forced to be lock-step and marching in time to a drum that will beat whether your feet are moving or not. I’m not proud of being seen as “the brain” or “the basketcase” during my younger years, but I’m pretty sure I would not mind one bit to be a member of the Breakfast Club, even today.
I really shouldn’t have to be talking about this, but here I am. This is not a specific attack on a specific program, although it should be obvious what sparked this post.
College sports makes a ton of money. Even a mediocre football or basketball program can be financially successful for their school. Coaches can make multiple times more in salary than even the best professor, a problem that seems to be growing every year.
When the NCAA placed sanctions on Penn State for their scandal, it involved the loss of football scholarships. Fine. Think what you want about the scandal and the punishments but while I am not happy with the loss of any scholarships for potentially deserving individuals, these scholarships should have been kept and pushed to academic programs. That is where they could have been truly useful.
I do not want to say that every person on an athletic scholarship is there for some easy-A free ride, but it is a system that benefits from such actions. Someone in a law or economics program would never have the same chances afforded to them because, well, no law or Econ program is going to make the school millions of dollars a year. Off topic, but is there a good reason tuitions keep raising at these schools? I hope it’s not to pay a coach a few extra hundred thousand. I don’t care how good your team is.
I’ve said it before, but putting athletics over everything else does no one any favors. It is this mindset that creates the cult-like atmospheres of programs like Penn State, Miami, and others. This is not to say that every college sports program is inherently evil, but the chance always is there because of how much these schools seem to desperately need success out of their athletics in order to feel important. Sure, non-athletes love attending a good sports school, but it is not the most prevalent factor to deciding a university to spend four or more years and thousands upon thousands of dollars to be a student of. Athletes are not even a major percentage of the student body, but it is damn sure the percentage that matters to pop culture.
If you wanna support a team, fine, but maybe do a little better to support the whole school instead of just the few dozen people you might see on television. Those other people, the ones in the classrooms, are who really matters. Never forget that.
Okay, so it’s a misleading title. I don’t care. What I’m trying to say is that it is impossible to be everyone’s president. Sadly, that is also pretty misleading. Of course, if you win the presidential election you are the president of every United States citizen whether they like it or not. Still, there are tons of impossibilities that almost no one seems to consider when looking at what it means to be arguably the most powerful person on Earth that doesn’t involve upper-body strength.
I’m going to start with the “easiest” part of this. When I decide who I am voting for I do, of course, look at what sort of things they are promising to get done during their tenure. However, what I also look at is the percent possibility they have of actually getting those things done. The biggest problem in doing this sort of math is that there is absolutely a zero percent chance I get my calculations right because I have real fundamental knowledge of anything. No matter how much of a political scholar you claim yourself to be, you have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or any damn time that could radically change every single thing you originally set out to do as the leader of the free world. You can make guesses, you can tow party line, and you can legitimately promise whatever you want, because even if you have been President before and are trying for a second term, you have no damn clue what is going to happen when you get out of bed tomorrow.
There is no Kobayashi Maru to be President. Watching someone work in an absolute no-win situation would make for some exciting television, except the difference between Star Trek and the US political system is that the test would be used more to push the candidates as some sort of Fox News/Reality TV hybrid spouting off all sorts of garbage about how the test doesn’t even matter because it’s completely fake and there is no way they are able to win it, unlike THE ELECTION which they GAURAN-DAMN-TEE victory for themselves and their party. Oops, too bad they will have to make decisions every single day that might only have one tiny positive outcome at the expense of tons of negative outcomes, if only for the people that see any sort of potential attack (especially financially) to be the absolute worst choice for doing anything ever. Who cares if we don’t have enough money to pay for anything? I’m not chipping in. I chip in enough. Gas Prices! Bah! Iraq! Seriously! Worst. President. Ever. (saw this bumper sticker today, though without the Comic Book Guy punctuation)~!
No one would be happy if the President made everyone happy. Compromises and bi-partisan advantages are seen as weaker than toilet paper against napalm. Someone has to suffer in order for the people who aren’t suffering to be happy. Let the world burn into ash and dust so long as it keeps my damn tank full and my bank account where I want it. Why should I care what foreign countries want? All their people live here as it is! They get enough! Obviously I’m being very generalizing and going over-board, but this is the kind of vocal opposition that someone with basically the world at his fingertips has to deal with. You are the boss of EVERYONE. You have the biggest ring of keys, the best parking space, and even after you are long out of the position people will stop you on the street and say “hello, boss!” even if they didn’t work a single hour of a single day for you ever, ever, ever. In fact, they could have worked for the other company, the #2 political retailer in the country, knowing all full well eventually they’ll be number one again and then they get to be Employee of the Month or get their own voicemail box or key to the executive washroom. Even still, so long as you are the boss, their boss still reports to you – some way, some how.
And you wonder why I think it’s impossible to be President.
Even if people hate you with every fiber of their being, they have to stomach you. Okay, they could leave the country, and they might even do that until they find out that they know even less about living outside this country than they do about what it means to be in political power. It hurts that so much of our community is trapped under red, white, and blue (and I don’t mean the French flag) that they are nearly blind to the rest of the world. It hurts even more to realize that they want one person to be their spyglass and are absolutely pissed off beyond belief when what you show them isn’t what they wanted to see or thought they’d ever see.
Anyone right now, and I mean in the entire world, could be the greatest president of the United States ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, but that person could also be the worst president ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER because of things that we can never, will never, and maybe should never predict. After all, if we could just predict everything that could happen to us, there would be no need to have a two party system, and that would put a LOT of the news media out of a job. Without them decrying what people in power do how am I supposed to feel any emotion?
I mean, seriously…