NO MORE BS: Literacy – Putting the “Art” in Literature Arts

Beauty of LiteratureMy high school experience included eight different high schools in four years.  Seven high schools on the Wasatch Front in Utah, finally graduating from Camden-Rockport High School, Camden, Maine.  During my high school career, I was unfortunate enough to be placed into several classes called “Language Arts,” “Literature Arts,” or something similar, plastic words covering the fact that I needed more English credits to graduate.  In my first “Literature Arts” experience, I was hoping to explore books, literature, and as a young bibliophile (book nerd) I was excited to study literature.

Freedom's LightShortly reality would snuff out the excitement.  Shakespeare is not the only author of note in the Renaissance period, and those other authors are easier and more fun to read.  Poems and poetry are not the same things.  Forcing high school kids to spend an entire semester on Emily Dickins and Edgar Allen Poe’s writings is sufficient to make suicidal depression seem like a jolly good time!  Not a single literature arts class covered Kipling!  Not a single class ever covered Aesop.  None of the lessons put the art in literature arts, which made the classes boring.

It has only been recently that I understood why these classes were designed this way.  I am still struggling with having my time and mental energies wasted in such a grotesque fashion.  Worse, being a young bibliophile, I had already been exposed to Emily Brontë, Hemmingway, Kipling (poems and stories), the Greek and Roman Myths, and so much more.

Love ReadingIn Junior High School, Crosby Junior High School, Belfast, Maine.  The school was ancient, used to be the high school until the district built a new high school.  Crosby Junior High was a gothic building, very imposing, but it had the coolest library.  On my first day in Junior High, I bet the librarians that before leaving, I would have checked out all the books, read them, and returned them.  I might not have gotten them all, but I explored every inch of that library, supplemented my reading from the Belfast Maine Library, and read books!  Lots and Lots of Books!

By this point, I bet most of those who will read, or glance through this post, are thinking, BORING!

Bear with me, please.

Where is the art in Literature Arts?

Reading - A JourneyBelieve it or not, you bring the art to literary arts.  Sure, authors will cast the story, set the stage, and prepare well to inspire you, but you bring the art.  For example, I can give you a paint set, a charcoal set, pencils, paper, canvas, and every other art supply available, but you have to wield the brushes, pencils, tools to create the masterpiece.  The fact that you, the student, are the art bringer to literature arts, should be the first lesson taught, but it is never mentioned.  It is sad that many people have been turned off by something that should have turned them on.  Worse, the second lesson in literature arts is the requirement for time with the materials to understand the meaning, grasp intent, and apply to a life of living.

Good TimberFor example, take the poem of Joseph Malins, “The Ambulance Down in the Valley.”  A political poem about how well-intentioned, people come together about a problem and perform an illogical action.  This poem has always left me laughing at the silliness of people in government.  Only lately have the townspeople’s hysterical treatment of the fence supporter been represented in real life, and the poem has lost some of the humor.

Three favorite childhood poems, the authors are listed with links to the poems, Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Grantland Rice, and Clarence P. McDonald, all deal with Casey’s singular topic at the bat.  A baseball series of poems that comforted me during my first horrendous year at little league baseball.  I couldn’t hit, I failed at catching, and only because my mother paid in full was I stuck playing an entire season of little league baseball.  That first awful year of baseball was nothing short of embarrassing!  The second year, I had improved, challenged, and won the position of catcher, and learned how to hit, after a ton of frozen fingers playing ball in the snows of a Maine winter.  I can honestly say, an aluminum bat in a Maine winter is no fun to grab!  But during those long hours remembering my first year of Little League, the poems about Casey at the Bat were always there, and that made all the difference.

Literary AttitudesWhen I was eleven, January, turning twelve in February, a person I admired introduced me to a poem that has defined, taught, and corrected me since that January day.  The poem “Good Timber” by Douglas Malloch.  Before this period and this poem, I never could tell the difference between a poem and poetry.  A poem changes your life; poetry paints pretty pictures.  The first poem, that first mental chord struck in life, what an experience.  How grateful I am to the man who introduced me to this poem, a potential meaning, and taught a young man how to feel.

I would bet dollars to doughnuts, for I love good apple fritters, that everyone has heard of the author Rudyard Kipling and probably have heard his poem, “If.”  When you bring the art to literary arts, this poem moves from poetry to poetic power.  As a kid, I never could understand some parts of this poem, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster – And treat those two impostors just the same.” I could not imagine triumph as an impostor, then I witnessed lottery winners, athletes, and Hollywood people, and the waste that occurs, and understood.

Why are literature arts hard?

Literay ArtsThere are three reasons.  One, literature arts is not just reading, but also writing, imagining, exploring the art inside you; but it is rarely taught in this manner.  Two, the age of the mind during literature arts is unprepared for drawing lessons from materials for application to life through reflection on experiences.  Reflection must be taught, and too often, reflection is refused as a topic in a classroom.It has taken a lot for me to find the poetic power in Kipling’s poem “Pharaoh and the Sergeant.”  In fact, I had to serve in the US Army and then enlist in the US Navy, to have sufficient life experience to understand.  As a side note, I wish England had said to France, “I must make a man of you; That will stand upon his feet and play the game; That will Maxim his oppressor as a Christian ought to do.” The world would have lost fewer people in WWI and WWII.

PenmanshipMy penmanship is deplorable, but penmanship is rarely taught anymore, considered a wasted subject, but in killing penmanship, the art in literature arts dies just a little more.  But what is penmanship, really?  Some will erroneously claim, penmanship is writing cursive.  Detestable ignorant blaggards!  Penmanship is the science of writing the symbols of language neatly, precisely, cleanly, and writing in a manner that is interesting to read.  As a K-12 student, penmanship meant cursive, and cursive meant I was going to suck!  Why isn’t penmanship a daily practical lesson for K-12 students?  Mainly because of the third and final reason literature arts is being murdered.  Three, reducing literacy through abusing literature arts was a design characteristic in K-12 Education since the 1860s and John Dewey; for he looked upon literate people and loathed them, and children have struggled ever since.

Literary FiendWe, the inheritors of intentionally designed poor education, must wake up, put on the work boots, and go to work learning literacy and literary arts. We are then responsible for teaching these lessons to our children so freedom and liberty can flourish and prosper again in America.  Literacy and literature arts is a fight we cannot afford to lose!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the photos displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Virtuous Woman, the Modest Man

Another result of School 2 educational methodology was pointed out to me, the loss of the virtuous woman and the modest man.  I owe my life and sanity to a Catholic Nun, who left the nunnery to work in the real world with children.  Miss Murphy was a virtuous woman, not just because of her commitments to the church as a nun, but her poise, her speech, her mental aptitude and attitude, all bespoke virtue.  Miss Murphy was my principal at Governor Anderson Elementary School, Belfast, Maine, for three years.  She remained my friend for another two years, and her example has had a significant influence on me.

My wife, born in 1941, is a virtuous woman.  Her strength comes from her mother, who was virtuous, kind, and a bare-knuckle fighter.  I love my Mother-in-Law for her scrappiness and her virtues, her kindness, and her focused strength.  Her daughter is a softer version of the mother, and both of these women have had a tremendous influence on my life.

Virtuous WomanI never met my paternal grandfather; my paternal grandmother was a virtuous woman, a nurse, and an influence for good.  My maternal grandmother and grandfather were two of the most virtuous and modest people I ever met.  Some fond memories exist with both of these incredible people, and I hope I am representing their virtues and modesty appropriately.  My maternal great-grandmother was an incredible woman.  She was blind, but her clothes were always neat and comely, her house was immaculate, and sure she had some help, but the core was all her.

Where did the virtuous woman and modest man go in society?

Virtuous Woman 2They got lost as School 2 progressivism won the contest for educating young minds.  As children’s education became the reduction of minds to animal appetites increasingly, virtue and modesty were the first victims.  When I went to school, if your underwear was showing, it was considered a crime.  I was bullied and got a wedgie, the principal saw my underwear, and I got a two-day suspension and had to write a report on modesty in public and why modesty was important, as a condition to returning to school.  Now, underwear is everywhere, virtue and modesty are punchlines in-jokes, and the grandeur and mystery of the human body are belittled and mocked.

School 2 Methodologies:

Education is “… the result of modifiability in the paths of neural conduction. Explanations of even such forms of learning as abstraction and generalization demand of the neurones only growth, excitability, conductivity, and modifiability. The mind is the connection system of man; and learning is the process of connecting. The situation-response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurones, sequence in time.”

Observations:

Virtuous Woman 3I love watching and observing people, children are the best, and little girls are amazing.  Why, because little girls live in their own world, interpret their worlds so dynamically different from boys, and ages of girls have distinct differences in understanding the world.  Get a group of 4-year old girls together, and they play differently than 5-year old girls, while their worlds can merge the girl’s world always remain separate.  But, too often, I see children forced into roles that they are uncomfortable with.  For example, little girls need a space of their own to think, consider, play, interpret, and be safe.  The girl is often bombarded with stuff that does not allow a safe space, and the little girl grows up insecure.

Little boys need room to roam, expand, explore, and run around.  Little boys need this exercise as much as they need air to breathe.  Yet, too often, the little boys are losing this room, and in losing the room, lose themselves, and never fully appreciate what it means to be a guy.

ModestyWandering through a clothing store one day, I was shocked, bewildered, and dismayed to see two-piece bikinis for newborns and toddlers.  How is a girl to learn her body’s majesty if her every waking moment is spent showing off her body?  How is a boy to learn control and respect for his body and a girl’s body when the clothes available are immodest at best?

The lessons of the schoolroom have invaded every aspect of our lives.  The reduction of the human spirit to neurologic impulse and animal appetites has robbed little children of the most precious time of their lives, their childhoods!

Wasting TimeThe time for silence is over.  The time for immodesty in public, displayed in verbal explosions of profanity, clothes that do not reflect respect in self, and the mocking of virtue, needs to end.  We are not animals, and we are not unrestrained appetites.  We are more than the connections of neurons that are turned on and off by a need for sensory gratification.  Those who are currently in power can be defeated and deserve to be defeated by realizing that we no longer accept that which has been “educated” into our brains.

I am not asking for high-necked collars and ties to go to the grocery store.  I am not claiming women should go back to hoop skirts and corsets.  I am encouraging a return to virtues, modesty, and respect first for oneself.

What are virtues?

VirtueVirtue, by definition, is the moral excellence of a person. A morally excellent person has a character made-up of virtues valued as useful.  Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality deemed morally acceptable and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness.  Aristotle provided 12 unique virtues, which we should begin with understanding and acquiring.  Aristotle’s 12 virtues:

1) Courage – bravery
2) Temperance – moderation
3) Liberality – the quality of being open to novel ideas and free from prejudice.
4) Magnificence – charisma, style
5) Magnanimity – generosity
6) Ambition – Drive to excel
7) Patience – temperate, calm
8) Friendliness – the quality of being friendly; affability
9) Truthfulness – honesty, candidness
10) Wit – humor, joy
11) Modesty –behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency
12) Justice – a sense of right/wrong, indignation

Andragogy - LEARNLiteracy is the power to inspire the mind, grow the soul, and improve the world we live in.  Freedom arrives thru and as a result of learning, reading, and questioning.  Freedom and liberty grow as our love of literacy increases.  The answer to improving democracy everywhere is freeing the minds through reading, writing, and learning.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the photos displayed.

NO MORE BS: A Third Powerful Tool – Reading

Image result for Image, deliberate dumbing down of americaFrom Chapter One of Charlotte Iserbyt’s, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America,” we find the following:

“… In 1898, Dewey wrote an essay, “The Primary-Education Fetish,” in which he explained exactly what he meant:”

“There is… a false education god whose idolators are legion, and whose cult influences the entire educational system. This is language study—the study not of foreign language, but of English; not in higher, but in primary education. It is almost an unquestioned assumption, of educational theory and practice both, that the first three years of a child’s school life shall be mainly taken up with learning to read and write his own language. If we add to this the learning of a certain amount of numerical combinations, we have the pivot about which primary education swings… It does not follow, however, that conditions—social, industrial, and intellectual—have undergone such a radical change, that the time has come for a thoroughgoing examination of the emphasis put upon linguistic work in elementary instruction… The plea for the predominance of learning to read in early school life because of the great importance attaching to literature seems to me a perversion.”

Scared Eyes!From this quote, in 1898 to the mid-1960s, phonics in K-6th grade education began to be battled by “Whole Word Memorization.”  By the end of the 1960s, teaching phonics in the classroom will be lost entirely.  Reading will continue to be irrationally marginalized, and learning the English language will take a hit so hard that many people will never know the grandeur of the language.

I spent some time reading statistical reports on reading, reading proficiency, and loving literature.  What I found shocked me!

      1. Very few people will ever read an entire book after leaving high school.
      2. Poverty does not dictate potential, how often and how much a parent reads to their child will.
      3. While important on tests, reading has been marginalized until the vast majority of students graduating from K-12 education are functionally illiterate.
      4. Functional illiteracy has become the standard accepted level for the workforce to capture and keep the minds to steal freedom and liberty from the populace.
      5. Reducing literacy was planned, implemented, and slowly been used as a weapon for destroying the American Republic.

All this because Dewey considered reading and literacy a “perversion.”  Dewey also claimed that literacy was a false god, a cult, and idolatry.  Yet, study after study continues to proclaim a single and undeniable variable.  When parents read to their children regularly, that child expects more freedoms, demands their liberties, and is better prepared to face the world.

LookJohn Dewey found high levels of literacy abominable.  He worked tirelessly to transform the school curriculum centered around the development of academic skills, intellectual faculties, and high literacy to a curriculum built around occupational activities, provided with maximum opportunities for peer interaction and socialization. He spent 30-years teaching teachers how to subvert society by little introductions into the curriculum until the pattern was perfected, and lesser topics were more important than reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The pattern: today’s school philosophies are tomorrow’s government actions.  Remember, all actions taken by a legitimate government will cause injury!

Oh, the injuries inflicted upon America’s children by not teaching literacy.  My wife made a point when I was discussing Dewey’s comments with her, “If I can read, aren’t I literate?”  My wife plays a good “Devil’s Advocate.”  Basically, yes, if a person can write their name and read their name, they are considered “literate” according to literacy’s most basic definition.  However, there is much more to literacy than reading and writing one’s name.  Dewey despises not the functional literacy of reading and writing one’s own name in commonly understood symbols of a society; but possessing the ability to love reading, enjoy books, speak, and write coherently and logically about what one has just read.

Andragogy - LEARNLiteracy is the ability to use printed and written information to function and achieve in society, to master one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential, attain growth, and improve one’s mind and body through the written word.  A 1992 survey reported 40 million adults’ literary competency at Level 1 (the lowest literacy level: understanding basic written instructions).  The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 32 million American adults cannot read, which can contribute to chronic unemployment, low self-esteem, and a lower quality of available work.  Dewey has succeeded in reducing literacy to its lowest common denominator, functional illiteracy.  This lowering of literacy standards was intentionally conducted to destroy people’s minds to accept lives in socialism and communism.

The following are considerations for reversing the actions and influence of Dewey and appear in no particular order:

      1. Read out loud!  Spend 30-minutes a day reading for fun, and spend at least 10-minutes reading aloud.
      2. If you have children, regardless of their age, read with them. Many religions encourage daily reading of scriptures.  An excellent way to read aloud, read with children, and improve your knowledge base.
      3. Read poetry! Want a hint to make poetry reading more fun; read the words to songs, for a song is merely poetry put to music.
      4. If you have been told you are a slow learner, slow reader, dyslexic, etc., stop believing these voices! Grab a book on phonics and begin teaching yourself to read.  You have a mind; you have a soul, you have unlimited potential.  You can learn!
      5. Be the example of reading being a fun activity.

Detective 4The power of reading is remarkable, critical, and is the hinge upon which the Great American Republic swings.  Believe it or not, the American population’s literacy will be the point upon which we survive or fail as a nation.  Dewey understood the truth of this in 1896 and fought tooth and nail to eradicate literacy in America.  Castro in Cuba understood this, and that is why Cuban schools have such low literacy rates.  Every despot in history knows that the more literate a population is, the less likely that population is to accept captivity in the form of government largess.  Every single tin-pot dictator knows the pattern.  Today’s school philosophies are tomorrow’s government actions, and controlling literacy is the tool to dumb down society into brainwashed robots who do what they are told.

Since the 1960s, the war on literacy has been doubled and doubled again; some of us educated in the early 1980s, and 1990s received an education worth 1000 times more than the newest high school graduate experienced.  Those educated before the 1960s had an education 1000 times greater than the education we got in the 1980s and 1990s.  All because the war on the classroom and the war on literacy is being fought without opposition.  Fought behind closed doors and by enemies who learned early on how to subvert curriculum and teachers.

Wasting TimeHence, the best way to combat this war is through reading.  Pick up a book!  Read!  Practice writing and grammar.  I am not the best writer or grammarian; I use Grammarly, but I still try to write better because to my wife, I am functionally illiterate due to how and what I was taught.  My wife, born in 1941, received such a robust education she amazes me.  But, even in the K-12 Schools of the 1940s and 1950s, reading and literacy were being marginalized, freedoms and liberties were being stolen, and the plans to dumb down America were in full swing.

We, the citizens of America, have been duped, lied to, and abused for multiple generations at the hands of people we should have been able to trust, schoolteachers.  The schoolteachers were forced to do what they did to maintain their jobs because the school boards exerted pressure to teach in a specific methodology.  Sometimes, the school boards were coerced into those paths by money from the Federal Government.  Is the connection clear; government size has led to the marginalization of literacy rates to produce a specific product for corporations.  The only way to break this cycle of abuse is to change our literacy levels.  The only way to increase our literacy levels is to read!

Duty 3Please turn off the TV, turn off the computer, pick up a book.  Read!  Read because your life depends upon your ability and love of reading.  Your children’s future depends upon your literacy rate and willingness to read aloud to them and with them.  Your freedom, your liberty, your country all depend upon your literacy level.  If you want help, ask.  If you want suggestions, talk to a librarian.  But, please read!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the photos displayed.