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Today I’d like to tell you a little story. It’s only really fair enough that I finally tell you this story; I’ve been referencing it like mad for the past few months and it had to be told eventually. So, today I present to you the story of how my History teacher has tried to make everyone at my school “be a good citizen”. Well, today I present to you the first half. It’s a little more than a “little story”, so part two will be posted tomorrow.

One History class in August, ten minutes before class ended, my teacher declared that he had something “very important” to show us. He set up his laptop and projector, and showed us his “very important” item: a slideshow. This slideshow would become so pervasive that it was later known as the slideshow. We didn’t realise that at the time. It looked very simple and non-threatening, perhaps even boring. Rather like this:

[This used to be an image, but since I moved the blog it’s impossible to do a hover-over-to-see effect now. Seeing the slideshow should always be under an opt-in system, so click the link if you want to opt in.]

We had to sit still, in silence, for ten minutes. Just watching this. On repeat. Endlessly. Well, we didn’t have silence for all of the ten minutes (just most of them). At some point, my teacher asked us, “Are you being indoctrinated?”

We told him that we were, so he asked, “And who is indoctrinating you?”

“You are,” I answered. This was apparently not correct, since he ignored me and asked, “Is the Australian government indoctrinating you?”

We told him that they were probably not, unless they’d told him to play that slideshow, which they probably hadn’t. This was also not correct, so he asked again and again until we agreed that the Australian government did indeed indoctrinate us.

Then we had silence again.

After that, the slideshow became a regular component of our History classes. One of the classrooms is fitted with a smart board, which made it virtually effortless for my teacher to play his slideshow. An added bonus (from his perspective) was that the projector in that room makes a loud buzzing sound. We were no longer watching in silence, but watching to a LOUD BUZZING SOUND.

Whenever my classmates saw him get out his laptop, they begged him to stop. “Please, not the slideshow! Anything but the slideshow! I’ll listen, I’ll be quiet, I’ll follow orders, I’ll do anything, just please don’t play the slideshow!”

“But the slideshow is good for you!”

“Nooooooooo!”

Our teacher called what he was doing “indoctrination”. He didn’t seem to think this was a bad thing; quite the contrary. He explained that “being a good citizen is important”, and that if we disagreed, we just hadn’t thought it through enough. If it took being indoctrinated to make us see the light… well, what was wrong with that?

Furthermore, my teacher did not limit himself to indoctrinating classes he actually taught. No, he had to indoctrinate everyone. One day I had him for Maths, and of course, he took out his laptop and announced to my class that he had something “very important” to show us. (Does this sound familiar?) He meant that he had to show us the slideshow.

Some of my more gullible classmates actually believed him when he said it was very important, so I felt obliged to save them. “No, don’t watch it!” I cried. “I mean it — don’t! It’s very bad for you! It’ll take over your mind if you watch it too long!”

My History teacher grinned, and my gullible classmates laughed. However, when they looked back at my History teacher, his expression had turned very serious indeed. “Don’t listen to her,” he commanded. “You must watch this. It is very good for you.”

Foolishly, they tried. However, after a few seconds one of them protested, “Sir, my English is not good to read this.” My History teacher spluttered, but there was very little he could do about it. What was he going to do, translate it? I cheered about my classmates’ escape from indoctrination. It has to be just about the only time being unfamiliar with a language has benefited anyone.

Sadly, another of my classmates was not so lucky. I’d been so caught up with saving the gullible ones that I’d forgotten about the one sitting next to me. He read me the entire slideshow, my pleas of “Stop it!”, “No!” and “Snap out of it!” having no effect. After I’d given up begging him to stop, he called over my History teacher and explained to him the problem: I wasn’t listening to him read the slideshow!

My teacher then read me the slideshow, also ignoring my pleas for him to stop it. After all, being a good citizen was important. If I didn’t understand that, of course I had to be indoctrinated more.

Perhaps needless to say, it didn’t work and I remained thoroughly opposed to the slideshow. More on that tomorrow, when I get around to posting part two.

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2 Comments

  1. oh, the great tale of good citizenship…

    I would like to point out on your livejournal entry of this, you don’t actually have to hover over to see – but it still says you do. 😐

  2. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It just doesn’t seem right. I’m eagerly awaiting part 2.


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