Rant: The Chocolate War

I probably won’t be invited back to sub at our local middle school – not after I complained about the video being shown to the 8th graders I subbed with yesterday.

The video was The Chocolate War, based on the bestselling novel by Robert Cormier. It is the story of a sociopathic bully – who makes The Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield look like a well-adjusted and productive member of society. He connives to take over the secret society, The Vigils, of a private boys’ school (run by Catholic teaching brothers) and he pours his contempt on faculty, administration, and peers.

The book, and the movie, is full of profanity, masturbatory references, flagrant contempt for authority figures in general and religious in particular.

If it contains any literary merit whatsoever, I have yet to discover what it is.

Yet this book is the current hottest thing since boiling water to hit the schools.

I don’t get it, and I want to know two things: First, why in the world are “educators” stupid enough to think this piece of crap is literature and has educational value? and Second, why in the name of all that is holy have parents put up with this?

I’m angry at myself today, because although I complained to the principal and the school’s media specialist (who assured me that very detailed letters of explanation were sent to parents and signed permission slips on file for each of the students in the classes), I wish I had had the steel in my spine to simply refuse to show the thing. I didn’t. I cooperated with feeding those tender young kids’ minds mental and spiritual dung.

I just don’t know what to do. I only know I feel more confirmed than before: I do not belong in education.

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