If you haven't yet watched last night's The Daily Show
, you're missing out--because Jon Stewart and co. have found a new public issue to feel genuinely outraged about, and this time it's the Republican-governor-led assault on public sector unions a.k.a. schoolteachers:
Then the show delivers a brilliant analysis comparing the rhetoric during the financial crisis about why bailed-out Wall Street deserves its millions. The virtual one-on-one comparison between the ways in which teachers are being told they must sacrifice alas goes mostly unstated, but for those following the news these days it ought to be obvious:
But you know what really ticks me
off? It's that underlying these elitist, self-serving arguments is that assumption that the (private-sector) rich deserve their wealth because they work hard, and the only reason you
) aren't like them is because you're a lazy slob. In other words, this is a meritocracy, and I'm the winner and you're a loser, so why should the government be redistributing my taxpayer dollars to you?
All in all, it's a spectacular failure of the sociological imagination on the conservatives' parts, and one wonders how many genuinely believe it and how many are just cynically taking advantage of those who genuinely believe it. I wish The Daily Show
had explored this failure, but that's probably asking too much. There is a pretty good consolation prize, though; the night's guest was Diane Ravitch:
It was really nice to see somebody get on a non-specialist outlet and say what scholars of education already know: Our problem is unequal resources and under-resourcing, both inside and outside the school. It's likewise nice to hear that Waiting for Superman
got it wrong, and so do the Gates Foundation and the Obama administration, whose emphasis upon testing and choice just distract us from the real issues.