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March 20, 2018

Game Over? Teacher Says That For First Time In Her Long Career, a Class Has Refused to Pass Judgment Against the Human Sacrifice Depicted in Shirley Jackson's Cautionary Tale "The Lottery"

Via Instapundit, an absolutely chilling sign of the end times.

Shirley Jackon's "The Lottery" is a staple of middle school literature textbooks. It's about a rural town which conducts a lottery before harvest season. The surprise twist at the end is that the "winner" of the lottery is ritually murdered by stoning in order to guarantee a good harvest.

Per Wikipedia, when the story was originally published in the New Yorker, readers were so angry about it that they cancelled subscriptions and wrote hate mail to the magazine and the author.

An overreaction? Of course. But in 1948 (when the story was published), the public was at least educated enough to know that "The Lottery" was a story about a sick and repulsive practice.

Fast forward to the ugly now, when our Little Monsters think they're super-educated by ninth grade but are so feral they don't understand this story is supposed to be about unambiguous evil.

Then in the 1990s, something started to change dramatically in how her students responded to the sobering tale. Rather than being horrified by it, some claimed they were bored by it, while others thought the ending was "neat."

When Ms. Haugaard pressed them for more of their thoughts, she was appalled to discover that not one student in the class was willing to say the practice of human sacrifice was morally wrong! She describes one interaction with a student, whom she calls Beth:

"'Are you asking me if I believe in human sacrifice?' Beth responded thoughtfully, as though seriously considering all aspects of the question. 'Well, yes,' I managed to say. 'Do you think that the author approved or disapproved of this ritual?'

"I was stunned: This was the [young] woman who wrote so passionately of saving the whales, of concern for the rain forests, of her rescue and tender care of a stray dog. 'I really donít know,' said Beth; 'If it was a religion of long standing, [who are we to judge]?'"

"For a moment, I couldnít even respond," reports Ms. Haugaard. "This woman actually couldn't seem to bring herself to say plainly that she was against human sacrifice. My classes of a few years before would have burst into nervous giggles at the suggestion. This class was calmly considering it."

At one point, a student explained she had been taught not to judge, and if this practice worked for them, who was she to argue differently.

Appalled by the studentís moral indifference, Ms. Haugaard concludes, "Today, for the first time in my thirty years of teaching, I looked my students in the eye and not one of them in my class could tell me that this society, this cultural behavior was a bad thing."

"The Lottery" is available online, though I caution you: No judgments.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 02:08 PM

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